Prediction: Five years after the end of the Great Recession, U.S. economic growth will average no more than 3% in 2014.
Prediction: Small businesses will benefit from the economic growth, but will continue to report optimism levels below the NFIB Index’s 40-year average of 100 points.
Prediction: Small businesses will continue reluctance to take growth risks, producing the sixth straight year of low levels of investment and bank loans.
Prediction: With uncertainty about the impact of Obamacare lasting through Q4, small businesses will continue their reluctance to hire.
Prediction: More significant than the U3 household unemployment percentage, the employment participation rate, currently 63%, will remain at the lowest levels since the Carter administration.
Prediction: The Fed will follow through and reduce the unprecedented quantitative easing (QE) that has infused trillions of dollars into the economy (primarily Wall Street) since 2008.
Prediction: Incoming Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen, will promote policies that will be friendlier to the twin pillars of Main Street: small businesses and community banks.
Prediction: A combination of Fed QE tapering, a cooling global economy, and continued Obamacare disruptions will produce a challenging year for Wall Street.
Prediction: Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, Obamacare will produce a kind of national economic double jeopardy of real damage to millions of people, and continued uncertainty for everyone else.
Prediction: After over a dozen arbitrary and unilateral changes to Obamacare by the Obama administration, with more to come in 2014, Constitutional challenges will manifest as lawsuits.
Prediction: Democrats running for re-election will run from the president, making 2014 a lonely year for him.
Prediction: Only one thing will overcome the record low polling numbers of Congressional Republicans enough to propel them to regain control of the Senate while maintaining a majority in the House in the mid-term elections—Obamacare.
Prediction: President Obama will win the debt ceiling and immigration debates, but will lose on raising minimum wage.
Prediction: Hillary Clinton will announce her 2016 presidential intentions, but not until after the mid-term elections.
Prediction: Auburn will defeat Florida State in the BCS Championship Game.
The die is cast: Obamacare will be the most pervasive financial, economic, and political factor in America in 2014.