Prediction: Whether before or after January 1, the political class will claim “fiscal cliff” avoidance, but the unleadership product will be more postponement than policy.
Prediction: The two dominant factors in the 2013 economy will both be government-created headwinds: tax increases and Obamacare.
Prediction: Small business uncertainty as a decision-making factor, now worse than during the Carter administration (according to NFIB), will continue for the fifth consecutive year and produce the following specific behaviors:
- Continued reluctance to hire full-time employees.
- Capital investment more for maintenance than growth.
- Continued bank loan demand below recovery levels.
Prediction: The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has been recorded below 93 points 58 times since 1973, with 34 of those in Obama’s first term. There will be more in 2013.
Prediction: Chronic unemployment and persistent under-employment (U6) will continue due to the following factors:
- Small business’s ability to adopt technology as a productivity alternative to hiring.
- Obamacare’s compliance floor of 50 full-time employees.
Prediction: The unemployment rate (U3) will remain above 7%.
Prediction: U.S. GDP in 2013 will remain moribund, below 3%.
Prediction: For the first time in history, the national debt will exceed GDP, putting the U.S. on a short but ignominious list that includes Greece.
Prediction: The U.S. credit rating will be reduced for the second time in history during the Obama presidency.
Prediction: State insurance exchanges, structural platforms for Obamacare, will not be ready for the 2014 launch.
Prediction: The 2014 Obamacare “guaranteed issue” mandate will artificially cause increases in 2013 health insurance premiums.
Prediction: Israel will be under more regional pressure, and able to count on less global support, than ever in its modern history.
Prediction: While feckless and fecklesser - the U.S. and the U.N - watch, Iran will take the world across a nuclear Rubicon.
Prediction: At a price too great, the Newtown tragedy will create a comprehensive national conversation on violence in our culture, not just more gun laws.
Alas, 2013 is shaping up to make us think of the Mel Brooks movie, “High Anxiety.” Just the title; not the comedy.