Jim Blasingame's 2018 Crystal Ball Predictions -- and what actually happened

Jim Blasingame

Here are my 2018 predictions and what actually happened. My prior, 18-year accuracy is 73%.

Tech Stuff

1. Prediction: As a technology platform, blockchain stops being a novelty in 2018.
Actual: Every major corporation and government now has a blockchain strategy.  +1

2. Multi-year prediction: Blockchain will be the next Internet-class disruption.
Actual: Blockchain variations are becoming the future of Digital Trust, and therefore, more disruptive to any analog legacy entities. +1

3. Prediction: As your online activity grows - digital tools, games, social media, IOT, etc. - you'll become increasingly aware that you are, in fact, the product being sold.
Actual: Surveys show online users are becoming increasingly concerned and discerning of their online behavior, especially social media.  +1 

4. Prediction: Scrutiny of Big Data platforms, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, will increase regarding manipulation, privacy and security.
Actual: Congress, the E.U. and users are investigating behavior of these platforms.  +1

5. Prediction: Bitcoin will not become a stable store of value (see Tulipomania).
Actual: In the past 365 days, Bitcoin peaked at $19,783 on the way to below $4,000 and dropping. +1

Economy/Small Business

6. Prediction: The U.S. economy will grow at over 3% GDP in 2018.
Actual: 2018 GDP was 3.3% through September, with Q4 anticipated to be 2.9%.  +1

7. Prediction: Small business growth and optimism will continue.
Actual: Small business optimism hit new, 45-year record highs in 2018 (NFIB).  +1

8. Prediction: Lower regulations and taxes will help small businesses achieve higher profitability through pricing power.
Actual: For the first time in over a decade, small businesses report the confidence to raise prices (NFIB). +1

9. Prediction: Even with economic expansion, strong balance sheets will hold small business loan requests to a minimal increase - again.
Actual: Continuing to fund growth with retained earnings, loan applications increased only slightly this year (NFIB).  +1

10. Prediction: Finding qualified employees will continue to be the greatest impediment to growth for all businesses.
Actual: Every survey reports the number one business challenge as a lack of qualified employee prospects.  +1

11. Prediction: A combination of the new tax law and shifts in demographic behavior (read: Millennials), will disrupt the real estate industry in 2018.
Actual:  Home-builders and realtors both report low inventory and low demand for home ownership. +1

12. Prediction: One benefit of the new tax law: If an overdue and justified Wall Street correction happens, it won't be catastrophic.
Actual: A strong U.S. economy has given nerve to a jittery stock market looking for any reason to correct. +1

13. Prediction: Corporate America will not invest their disproportionate tax cut in the economy commensurate with the cuts.
Actual: Headline - "The tax cut windfall funds corporate stock buy-backs at $1 TRILLION in 2018" (Goldman). +1

14. Prediction: Corporate America will not repatriate and invest offshore income commensurate with the disproportionate tax benefit.
Actual: Headline - "Of over $4 trillion in overseas profits, less than $200 billion have been repatriated in 2018" (WSJ). +1

15. Prediction: The Fed will raise interest rates at least twice.
Actual: The Fed raised rates three times in 2018 - so far.  +1

16. Prediction: U.S. status as an energy net-exporter will significantly influence the economy, geopolitics, the war on terrorism, even climate change.
Actual:  U.S. energy independence is increasingly a powerful lever for trade negotiations, geopolitical influence, and natural gas boom has helped us lead the world in CO2 emission reduction per dollar of GDP. +1

17. Prediction: The U.S. energy exporter status will offset price pressures from OPEC and Middle East tensions to hold crude oil's average below $60bbl for another year.
Actual: Crude averaged over $70bbl in 2018. -1


18. Prediction: President Trump and Congressional GOP will take another run at repealing and replacing Obamacare remnants.
Actual: Notice I didn't say "would repeal." Trump made reform progress with executive orders, and Congressional GOP produced repeal legislation, but John McCain ignominiously and single-handedly killed it. +1

19. Prediction: A stronger economy and lower regulations will increase the President's approval rating.
Actual: 2017 average rating was 35%, 2018 rating as of this writing, 46%.  +1

20. Prediction: Trump will nominate one Supreme Court Justice in 2018.
Actual: Brett Kavanaugh, new Associate Justice. +1

21. Prediction: We'll be more likely to experience a major cyber-attack than a physical terrorist event.
Actual: Multiple experts report cyber-attacks increasingly more imminent and perilous than physical threats. +1

22. Prediction: Trump will trade support of DACA for Democrat border wall votes.
Actual: Breaking News - Experts report DACA-for-Wall is the bargain being discussed. +1

23. Prediction: Democrats will be unsuccessful in making immigration a major 2018 campaign position.
Actual: Not sure how much was immigration, but the Dems were extremely successful in the 2018 election. -1

24. Prediction: Sanctuary cities and states will be the most dramatic challenge to President Trump's authority.
Actual: This didn't rise to the threat level in 2018.  -1

25. Prediction: Unprecedented for any past president, Obama will aggressively campaign for Democrat candidates in the mid-terms.
Actual: Obama's 2018 campaigning was as self-referential as it was unprecedented and sad. +1

26. Prediction: For the first time in almost 30 years, the Clintons will see limited action in a campaign season.
Actual: Bill and Hillary, MIA. +1

27. Prediction: There will be a showdown between the U.S. and North Korea - but not a war.
Actual: The Trump/Kim negotiations were tantamount to a "showdown," and did cool off tensions, if not yet verified denuclearization. +1

28. Prediction: If control of Congress changes hands in 2018 it will be due to illness or scandal, not voters.
Actual: Big miss. Think of the sound of a plane spinning, crashing and burning.  The GOP is lucky to keep the Senate. -1

29. Prediction: The 2018 College Football Championship:  Bama in a squeaker for the ages.
Actual: Bama 26, Georgia 23 in OT.  Remember, the Tide hadn't even defeated Clemson to get to the Championship. +1

Write this on a rock ... My foresight was good in 2018 with 86.2% accuracy. This salves my 2008 disaster a little, and raises my 19-year average to 73.7%. How'd you do? Look for my 20th predictions for 2019 soon.   

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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