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SDec 28, 2007

Fearless Forecasts, 2008

Scott Burns

           As a few of you are aware, 2007 is about to end. You may be outnumbered, you may be rare, but that makes it easier for me to find you. All I have to do is look for people who don’t have white wires hanging from their ears. The others--- the people with the wires--- will never know. They are happy victims of the iPod, America’s Weapon of Mass Distraction (not to mention the ultimate portable time shifter).

            Here, for the few who know that a new year is coming, are my fearless forecasts for 2008:

            The New Era of Politician-Celebrities will move into high gear. In case you missed the beginning, it started when Bob Dole vouched for the wonders of Viagra. But it moved to the next level recently with a photo of Mikhail Gorbachev sitting in the back seat of a car cruising next to the Berlin Wall. Beside him, a Louis Vuitton bag. The mind boggles at the possibilities.

            A New Index Will Be Born. This one will be one to watch, not one in which to invest. The Offer-to-Auction Index, or O/A ratio, will follow the ratio of new grandiose luxury property ads in the Friday edition of The Wall Street Journal to the distress-sale auctions of similarly luxurious condos and houses on the same page. Only a year ago, there were no auctions, so the ratio was infinite. As we move into 2008, it’s likely to reach 1.0.
Pray that the ratio runs to a low number. It will be the only way to escape advertising lines such as “When you live here, you arrive before you ever leave,” which was penned for The Stanbury Residences, “a Celebration of Artistic Luxury” in Alpharetta, GA. A Bentley and, yes, three Louis Vuitton bags were displayed next to the ad copy.

            At Long Last, Investors Will Become Fully Diversified. We can only be thankful that every single one of the major impediments to investing abroad has been removed in the last 7 years by a farsighted corporate leadership. I can tell you, it wasn’t easy. There was a time when no one in their right mind would invest overseas because the U.S. of A. had a deeper market, better regulation, better accounting, better ratings for investment risk, and a better currency. Today, all those harmful barriers have been swept away.

            A Dark Horse Candidate will win the Presidency on a reciprocity issue. His rallying cry: “If you have to pass a urine test to work and pay taxes, let’s be fair. Let’s require welfare recipients to pass a urine test to receive support.” The Million Worker March on Washington, which will demonstrate the unexpected power of this movement, will not be televised due to the unusual way the million workers will choose to protest.  

            The Great Wall of China will be moved to Arizona. Already in possession of the London Bridge, the state of Arizona will see a way to turn the illegal immigration problem into a world-class tourist attraction. The Grand Canyon State will buy the Great Wall of China, dismantle it, and have it reconstructed along the Arizona/Mexico border once they have obtained a massive federal subsidy. The project will be delayed for years by lawsuits from Texas, New Mexico, and California.

           The Number of Exchange Traded Funds Will Continue to Soar. ETFs number more than 700 as this is written.  And funds for very small countries already exist. But the number of ETFs will continue to grow as fund creators add ETFs for each state, some very large counties, and ZIP codes with publicly traded companies in residence. ETF creators will learn they have exhausted the possibilities when they seriously consider launching an ETF built around an index of corporations with reasonably compensated CEOs.

            A Limitation on Free Speech Will Be Accepted By a Grateful Nation. This will happen as the Federal Communications Commission bows to public demand that the use of certain names on radio or television is a gross waste of a public resource. The first person to be banned is Britney Spears, followed by Donald Trump.

            Ninety percent of all American households will strive to join Harvard’s notion of middle class. Harvard does an enviable job of making it possible for any qualified student to attend. Students who come from disadvantaged families with household incomes under $60,000 a year, for instance, may attend at no cost.
But the good will doesn’t end there. Harvard recently announced a new program to help more students from "middle-income” families attend the university, which currently costs $45,620 a year. Tuition will be reduced to 10 percent of family income for households with incomes of $120,000 to $180,000 a year…

On the web:

Fearless Forecasts, 2007

Fearless Forecasts, 2006
 
Fearless Forecasts, 2005
 
Fearless Forecasts, 2004
 
Fearless Forecasts, 2003
 
Fearless Forecasts, 2002
 
Fearless Forecasts, 2001

Filed Under: Financial Planning, Fearless Forecasts