Archive for December, 2022

Top 10 Predictions for 2023

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

I thought that 2022 would be a more normal year – but it hasn’t been. From Russia invading Ukraine, to China once again locking down as the rest of the world reopened, to the overturn of Roe V. Wade, to the unexpected midterm election results, to ….

Black swan events are becoming more common. So, this year, rather than hope for more normal times, I’m going to go with the assumption that the world’s craziness will continue – and make some seemingly outlandish predictions; who knows, some of them might even come true!

Here we go (and as always – this is what I predict will happen – not necessarily what I want to happen):

10 – Donald Trump will not be a candidate for President by the end of 2023. I don’t think he really wants to run – witness his lackluster announcement – and many Republicans seem ready to move on, at least for now, as DeSantis gains momentum. He will also be indicted at least once if not twice in 2023; he thought that running again would shield him from prosecution, but I don’t think that that will be the case. Some undisclosed illness will probably be the reason for dropping out so that he can save face. Once Trump drops out, headlines will be dominated by questions about Biden’s future (I am assuming he announces early in the year that he is running), and whether he will be challenged in the Democratic primaries, or decide to withdraw himself since the Trump threat will be gone.

9 – Kevin McCathy will become Speaker of the House, but will be ousted by the end of the year. I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but I think he ultimately gets it simply because nobody else really wants it, and he seems willing to give up almost anything to get it; in fact, he will have to give up so much to get to 218 that he will effectively be a leader with no power from the start.

8 – There will be no major legislation passed in 2023 (other than related to regulation of Cryptocurrencies), as the Republican-lead House will focus on Hunter Biden and impeaching Mayorkas and perhaps others. It will be the revenge tour for the January 6th Committee and the Trump impeachments. Grid lock and anger in Washington for sure.

7 – Elon Musk will no longer be involved with Twitter on a day-to-day basis by the end of the year. This has been in the news of course this past week as I make these predictions, as he lost his own on-line poll about remaining as CEO. He already seems to be vacillating on his promise to name a new CEO – every day brings a change. I believe that this back and forth will continue for a while, so I decided to leave it in my predictions. He still may own the company (I wouldn’t be surprised either if he sells or it goes bankrupt), and even if he steps away he will never truly give up all control, but I think he will come under increasing scrutiny and pressure from the shareholders of Tesla and he will be forced to name new a CEO eventually, even this person is just ultimately a puppet.

6- Putin will no longer be in power and the war between Russia and Ukraine will end. Again, I’m not exactly sure how this happens, but I think his position has become increasingly untenable. Perhaps an assassination, or perhaps a military coup, or even the likely-Trump route – a medical excuse to save face.

5 – China and Iran will continue to make minor concessions to quell recent uprisings, but these changes will be mostly cosmetic to appease the protesters, and the grips on power by the authoritarian regimes will continue. The Chinese economy will struggle during the first half of the year, as Covid cases and deaths rise, resulting in some new supply chain issues throughout the world. These issues begin to work themselves out in the Fall. North Korea will continue to provoke, but no major breakouts in hostilities will occur. Since China will be consumed with events at home once again, tensions surrounding Taiwan should not escalate.

4 – It will be a much quieter year for European politics, certainly as compared to 2022. There will be no major leadership changes as there were in 2021, although if there is one it will be in Spain. The Mideast overall will be quiet, but there will be increasing tensions within Israel (between the Jewish citizens and the Palestinians) as the new Netanyahu  government will continue to go further right; it has to in order to keep the far right parties in the coalition. I expect riots at some of the holy places in Jerusalem and in the West Bank, and increasing strains with the U.S. – with both the Biden Administration and Jewish groups as the building of settlements will accelerate, and some rights of the Palestinians and LGBTQI+ citizens are threatened.

3 – The U.S. will go into a mild and shallow recession. But inflation will continue to ease, food prices will finally start to come down, and the recession will be very short. The U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates two more times (25 basis points) early in the year, and while there will be hope for an interest rate cut before year-end, this will not come to fruition, as the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will remain determined to keep inflation under control.

2 – While the stock market usually likes political gridlock, as government spending is kept in check, 2023 will be another volatile year for stocks, although not nearly as bad as 2022. Bonds, however, will start to perform better. All of the major stock indices will end the year essentially flat to slightly down. Cryptocurrencies will remain in the headlines, and as mentioned above, some regulation of the industry will be the only significant legislation passed during the year. The overall performance of Cryptos will be negative.

1 – Finally, sports. I am going to go with my heart, hope for another Black Swan event and pick Michigan to beat Georgia to win the college football national championship. The Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl. Virginia will win the NCAA basketball tournament. The Boston Celtics will be NBA champs, and the Boston Bruins will win the Stanley Cup. Finally, the Houston Astros will win the World Series.

How Did I Do? Review of my Top 10 Predictions for 2022

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

Time to review how I did with my 2022 predictions (comments in bold). It turned out to be another crazy year in so many ways!

While we were all hoping for a more normal 2021, unfortunately that did not happen. The drama started early in the year – January 6th to be exact – and continued with Omicron and dysfunction on full display in Washington as the year ended.

I am trying to be as optimistic as I can as I look forward to 2022, but I honestly see another year of turmoil ahead. Hopefully, amidst whatever transpires, we can each find some peace and tranquility within ourselves and with loved ones.

Here we go (and as always – this is what I think will happen – not necessarily what I want to happen):

11 – I am adding an 11th prediction because I don’t know if this will happen in 2022 or not – but I wanted to be on the record with my prediction in case it does. Donald Trump will NOT run for re-election. While he will probably extend the drama for as long as he can to maintain his grip over the party, he could surprise us all and announce something before the end of 2022 (he has already said that he will wait until after the midterm elections). This will likely become a 2023 prediction. As always, Mr. Trump was full of surprises. I was wrong (for now ….. wait until my new predictions), and he likely moved up his announcement thinking it would make it more difficult to indict him. That remains to be seen. But the kick-off to the campaign was met with resistance from many Republicans, he lost some credibility when Walker lost the Georgia race, and his legal woes compounded during December.

10 – Speaking of the midterm elections … The Republicans will retake both the House and the Senate. It will be close in the Senate, because it is a very difficult path for the Republicans, but they will emerge with 52 seats. The House will not even be close, and the Democrats will lose more seats than they ever have in a midterm election. The Democrats did surprisingly keep control of the Senate, and actually added a seat, helped by the poor quality of many of the Republican candidates. And the red wave in the House did not materialize after all. It seems that the overturning of Roe v. Wade motivated more Democrats and woman to vote. It was the Republicans to lose, and even though they won a slim majority, getting anything meaningful done will be very difficult.

9 – The primary season leading up to the midterms will be the ugliest yet – within both parties, the extreme factions of each party will pull farther apart. On the Republican side it will be the MAGA wing v. the so-called RINO wing, and on the Democratic side it will be moderates v. liberals. Trump-supported candidates will not do as well as expected and neither Herschel Walker or Dr. Oz will win Senate seats (although Walker might become the party’s candidate). Neither Walker or Oz did win, Trump candidates did poorly overall and there were some contentious primaries. Both parties seem as fractured as ever. On the Republican side, McCarthy is struggling in his attempt to become Speaker of the House, and on the Democratic side, while new, younger leadership has been elected, the progressives remain unhappy with the general direction of the party.

8 – The January 6th commission will continue to be stymied by witnesses who refuse to testify (and delay), but they will release a report before the election, sensing that a Republican majority will disband the committee. There will be some damning evidence presented against former President Trump and some of his allies, but overall reaction will be muted (given the partisan divide); two members of the House will resign because of their roles in the planning. No prosecutions will take place in 2022. A mixed bag here. There were no prosecutions (yet) and no House resignations. The committee was largely ignored by Republicans, and there were some refusals to testify, although some Trump administration officials did testify and provide damning evidence against the former President. I should have said that the committee would rush to get the report out before year-end – not the election – which they have announced that they will. And it now seems that the committee will recommend to the DOJ that some people get indicted (not clear who yet at the time I posted this), but these recommendations are not binding.

7 – Former President Trump will be indicted in NY State for business-related irregularities at the Trump Organization, and perhaps for tax evasion . And speaking of Trump, little or no progress will be made in launching his new media platform (True Social). While Trump himself has not been indicted yet, the business was found guilty of tax fraud. One can argue either way about True Social, but I would argue that it has not become nearly as popular as Trump would have hoped.

6 – The pandemic will become an endemic – it is something that we are just going to have to live with. Annual boosters will become necessary, and by the end of the year one will be developed that will also include the flu so that only one shot per year will be necessary. This should be developed by the fall. Other named mutations will occur, since much of the world remains unvaccinated, but the US will not shut down. (Even if the government tried, many people would not heed it, and I think the government knows that.) Continued lockdowns in some parts of the world, including Europe may continue, but so will protests and eventually the realization that we must live with it will proliferate and the number of  lockdowns will decline. Mostly right here. Annual boosters against new variants seem probable moving forward, but the flu shot remains separate for now. Lockdowns continued in China but were met with unprecedented protests, leading the government to “give in” in December and re-open the economy. We are going to have to live with Covid; disappointing however has been the low percentage of Americans that are getting boosters. 

5 – On the international front, the US will continue to be pressured to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, but will continue to resist and no invasion will take place. Relations with China will remain tense but I don’t see a serious deterioration or any major blow-ups over Taiwan. China will be focused at home and continue to crack down internally as Xi continues to amass more power. The Olympics will be postponed because many athletes will not be able to get there. Talks with Iran on a nuclear deal will continue, but no new deal will be reached. The coalition government in Israel will fall, and Netanyahu will become Prime Minister again. Macron will lose the French election in a shocker, and Boris Johnson will survive a no confidence vote. Another mixed bag. Most of us were wrong about Ukraine, Macron did get re-elected, but in a much closer election than anticipated, and well Boris did not survive. But China is having its own internal problems, so while relations with the US aren’t good, they haven’t changed significantly. I was right about Netanyahu and no Iran deal.

4 – Inflation will remain high throughout the year, another factor that will hurt the democrats in the midterm elections. The Fed will raise interest rates two times during the year, not three as previously announced, as global economic growth will be slower than expected. The supply chain issues will continue to work themselves out and thing should be back to normal on this front by late summer. But with continued worries over Covid, the labor markets will continue to be unstable, with employers (retail, restaurants) continuing to have problems hiring. Mostly right other than the number and magnitude of the interest rate increases. Inflation remains a problem as does hiring, but the supply chain issues have improved dramatically. However, more economists are predicting a recession in 2023 (which rattled the markets in early December before better than expected inflation numbers mid-month led to a rally).

3 – The economy will chug along at a moderate pace, hampered by the labor issues mentioned above. Consumer confidence will be hampered throughout the year by higher prices, but gas prices should come down by mid-year. The hybrid work model will continue to become permanent, and many companies will adopt a flexible model of allowing employees to work from home at least a few days a week. A much smaller Build Back Better Bill will pass, but the bitterness caused by the delay, coupled with the impending elections, will make this the only major piece of legislation passed in 2021. The economy did, and continues to chug along, a smaller version of the Build Back Better Bill did pass, although was given an awful name that will haunt Democrats in 2024! While some companies did adopt more flexible models for employees, I was surprised by the number of companies – including many financial institutions and technology companies – that have now ended any remote work options. 

2 – The word of the year in the stock market will be volatility in light of the ongoing uncertainty caused by Covid variants. But company fundamentals remain strong, as companies have been able to pass costs on to consumers. There will be a 10% correction during the year, perhaps in response to Fed tightening , but this is a normal part of any stock market cycle, and the markets will end up modestly for the year – but less than 5%. Cryptocurrencies will continue to gain in popularity, and they will continue to be extremely volatile, but will end the year higher overall. I was a little too confident here! There was a correction, but much larger than I thought, making 2022 a losing year, and well we all know what happened to Cryptos. But … I was right on the volatility part!

1 – Finally, my Achilles Heal the past few years, sports. Georgia will win the college football national championship, capping off an undefeated year and sadly beating my Wolverines. Predicting who will win the Super Bowl is a tough one, because as of now I see a lot of mediocre teams. But since I have to make a prediction, I am going to go with the Kansas City Chiefs. Baylor will win the NCAA basketball tournament. The Phoenix Suns will be NBA champs, and the Minnesota Wild will win the Stanley Cup. Finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers will reclaim their place as baseball champions. Well – I did get Georgia right! Not much else. Sigh.