“The Great Prognosticator”        

Issue 9

By:  Ron Brounes                

January  1998


The new year is well upon us.  And with it come all the predictions and forecasts that the most renown of gurus, seers, soothsayers, psychics, and business consultants are making for the months ahead.  Such prognosticators are never held accountable and are, thus, able to take credit and place blame as deemed appropriate.  Not a bad gig…so here goes.




The domestic economy has been rolling along full speed ahead with unemployment at its lowest level in decades and inflation no where to be found.  President Clinton (speaking of taking credit) proclaims it the most promising economic picture in a generation.  Fed Chairman Greenspan remains firmly at the helm, steering the ship toward continued prosperity.  However, lurking in the foreground, (is that a word?) is the potential “iceberg” in the form of an Asian economic crisis.  While many analysts believe that the net impact in the U.S. will be minimal due to the relatively small amount of exports to these countries, our economy should experience a slowdown in the months to come. 


Foreign goods and services are arriving at bargain basement prices hindering demand for our home grown manufactured brands.   The true results will be reflected in the second quarter and the stock market should react accordingly. Expect a short-lived correction in the Dow (6800) as investors rethink their aggressive strategies, and Greenspan and the IMF teach the world how to get back on the road to financial recovery.  Fear not long-term investors; the Dow will ultimately move to higher levels (at some point in the decades ahead).  With interest rates at very low levels, there are simply few alternatives for our investment dollars.  Additionally, the U.S. relies upon foreign investors, particularly in Japan, to be strong buyers of U.S. government securities.  Luckily, that trend should continue.  On a positive note, consumers should see less expensive (but cheaper) products in the stores.  Furthermore, now is the perfect time to consider an affordable vacation in Indonesia.




This topic still remains unsuitable for the dinner table and certainly a newsletter.  The anticipated balanced budget and strong economy (for now) have Congress and the President singing each other’s praises (well, let’s not get carried away).  The ’98 Congressional elections are just around the corner, so let the bickering (and expensive campaigns) begin.  Clinton continues to ride the popularity train despite his lameduck status and an upcoming date with Paula Jones.  Though polls can quickly change, Buddy should remain his best friend for the long haul. 


Past Democratic election year themes are resurfacing with new talk of expanding (yes, expanding) Medicare and hiking the minimum wage (again).   Republicans should be better prepared to rebut these ideas this time if they could only eliminate their own internal bickering.  Besides, no one even pays attention or votes in non-Presidential election years.  Foreign policy may become the hot topic de jour as Iran tries to play the role of a “lion in sheep’s clothing” (is that a saying?) and American energy companies press their reps for a reduction of economic sanctions.  Campaign contributions often speak louder than morals, as the pressure mounts on Congressmen facing heated battles.  President (I mean) Governor Bush easily wins re-election (and lays the groundwork for 2000)  despite the controversy involving the execution of Karla Faye Tucker.  Liberal Dems and Religious Conservatives make strange bedfellows. 



(For non-H Town residents, feel free to skip this section, or consider moving to Houston.)


Fresh off his victory in the hotly contested mayoral race, Lee Brown faces difficulties in his first term.  He will need to overcome his past indecisiveness, as rebels in the form of power seeking Councilmen wreak havoc on City Hall.  (Can you say Mayor Roach?)  Backroom meetings and ulterior agendas threaten to not only undermine Brown’s authority, but create divisiveness among the diverse community that elected him.  His primary policy initiatives  will actually be continuations of successful Lanier programs but with different titles to allow him to establish credibility.  A new mass transit system will be reviewed and reviewed and then tabled for more review as Metro busses remain the main mode of public transportation heading into the millenium and beyond.  The revitalization of downtown continues with great success.  Les Alexander attempts to reap political benefits for supporting of the Brown campaign despite not even living (or voting) in Houston.  The battle continues between Les and Chuck Watson and a new football stadium and franchise should arrive around the year 2020.




“DA BULLS.”  Its’ beginning to sound like a broken record.  It’s beginning to sound like a broken record.  Realizing that their team will be dismantled after the season, the Chicago Bulls make one final run at a title and defeat the “new and improved” Seattle Sonics in the NBA Finals.  Signing cagey veterans Elvin Hayes, Calvin Murphy, and Slick Watts proves not to be enough to vault the Rockets beyond the first round of the playoffs.  Robin Williams takes advantage of his newfound political contacts following his Camp David vacation.  He rides the wave to the Oscars promoting his surprise hit film of the year, Good Will Hunting.  Or was it Flubber?  In actuality, I haven’t seen either movie so I don’t really know what I’m talking about.  Then again, I can’t be held responsible; I’m just a prognosticator. 


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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH is a publication of Brounes & Associates focusing on business marketing and general communications strategies. Please call Ron Brounes at 713-432-1910 for additional information.  Brounes & Associates predicts extremely positive results for all of my clients (and clients to be) in the upcoming year.  Highly effective speeches, informative newsletters and articles, and professional presentations lead  to financial successes.