Monthly Archives: January 2014

Predictions for 2014

By Lloyd Graff

These are a few of my best guesses for what 2014 may bring. Give me your feedback, and some slack.

1) The trends of the last few years will tend to continue — tepid economic growth, weak employment, rich getting richer and the poor falling further behind.

*A few exceptions, however. A powerful hiring tool will gain more traction. Companies will offer to pay off school loans to recruit prime applicants. For programmers, engineers and some other specialists in demand — maybe machinery set-up people — the school loan pay-off will be an important hiring inducement.

2) In 2013, 42% of home purchases were for 100% cash, meaning hedge funds and syndicates have been buying up the housing bargains in bulk. This will start to subside because the supply of distressed homes is finite, and shrinking with fewer distress sales, new homes will become more desirable, especially if developers have pre-arranged financing options similar to car dealers.

3) The hottest thing at IMTS 2014 will be 3D printers. I think in a few years most shops will have at least one and we will see 3D printing job shops sprouting up for short-run work. They will also be popular for home inventors. The stock of Stratasys has gone through the roof already but it is probably still cheap. Inexpensive robots will also be hot at IMTS.

4) Everybody hates bonds today, which means they could be a good contrarian play. If we are in a long-term deflationary slide in prices of goods, which I think is likely, bonds may go up as rates go down because there is more capacity than buyers, and China will continue to cut prices to keep people working. Long term, labor will trend cheaper as a percentage of the cost of manufactured goods as robots and automation add more value.

5) Republicans will win the Senate in 2014 because of the unpopularity of ObamaCare.

6) Obama will allow the oil pipeline to be built from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf. I say this because Warren Buffet is buying up pipeline assets. He has a pipeline into the White House. If the U.S pipeline is not built to the Gulf, another one will be built to take the tar sands oil to British Columbia for shipment to Asia.

7) Gold will fall to $750 per ounce as fear of inflation continues to abate. Oil at NYMEX will fall to $70 per barrel.

8) San Francisco wins the Super Bowl. Detroit finally wins the World Series. San Antonio wins the NBA Finals. Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup again. Jason Day wins the Masters.

9) Miscellaneous – Amazon stock hits $600. Hillary Clinton decides not to run for President and divorces Bill to marry a woman. Downton Abbey is turned into a hotel. Carrie on Homeland turns over her baby to her sister so she can take over the CIA station in Istanbul. Ben Bernanke will succeed Jamie Diamond as Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase.

Question: Is IMTS 2014 important enough to you to display at or attend?

Share this post

Obama, the Secret Republican

By Lloyd Graff

Barack Obama is really the stealth Republican President. Had John McCain beaten Obama in 2008, had he not chosen Sarah Palin for VP, today, at the beginning of 2014 he could be so proud of the accomplishment of the “ironic” president Barack Obama, whose adherents generally see him as a failure to date. Obama has succeeded as a Republican disguised as a Democrat.

Look at the numbers. The stock market has doubled from 2008, and 2013 was one of the best years ever. Corporate profits have skyrocketed. Labor costs are quiet. Inflation has vanished. Home prices have recovered most of the post bubble drop.

For the wealthy, Obama’s five years have been a bonanza. It is hard to imagine a Republican like McCain or Mitt Romney being nearly so successful with a Democratic Senate.

The Democrats’ supposed agenda of income redistribution through healthcare change has so far been an abysmal failure, with the people the President needs to sign up, young healthy folks, so far shunning the awkward confusing process.

Obama’s one shining success, killing Bin Laden with a brilliant Navy Seal mission, is worthy of the Vietnam POW McCain.

The President has been Nixon-worthy in his handling of the NSA mess, shunning Edward Snowden and describing him as a criminal. Definitely worthy of a Bush presidency.

Obama’s party pushes for the $15 minimum wage, which has no chance of success. This is a good smokescreen for getting rid of extended unemployment benefits, another Republican success story thanks to Barack.

Income inequality, if it were a GOP goal, is definitely in vogue thanks to Obama. Because of ObamaCare smaller companies keep employees below 50 people and restaurants and other service businesses keep hours under 30 per week. What a plan Obama must have had as he prepared his secret agenda to screw the people who thought they were electing a Liberal.

What I do not know is whether Obama is a genius or a moron. Did he secretly plan to become the Great Black Hope of rich Americans or was he subverted by a cabal of sneaky brilliant right-wingers?

Frankly, I don’t think Republicans are smart enough to have engineered this coup. But that cagey old Democrat, Warren Buffet, and his bridge partner, Bill Gates, could have pulled it off.

Question: Is Obama inept or shrewd?

Share this post