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Updated 2014-10-14




Mike Caro
Brain Trust

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Mike Caro Brain Trust: Predictions

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Tuesday → 





Over/under for number of deaths from confirmed Ebola cases originating in United States before January 1, 2015

Median number:

(Number so far: 0)

52% chance of six or fewer
(48% chance of seven or more)

Image: Wikimedia/Thomas W. Geisbert

Mike Caro says:

I believe the media has overplayed this story. Yes, there’s a chance of a virus causing havoc in the United States — perhaps one created by an enemy, including terrorists. But Ebola isn’t it.

And hour after hour of news coverage seems to be taking what only merits a two sentence daily update and then talking about the same thing, using different phrasing, again and again. To me, this is sensationalism at its worst.

So, I thought some Brain Trust reality odds were in order.

Sure, there’s a chance this could become a more serious concern and perhaps the virus could mutate and be transmitted by air. But, right now, the chance of any American not leaving the country and not administering health care to Ebola patients is probably tens of millions to one against. And that’s the real story, one that doesn’t merit the continuous coverage at the expense of other news.

At this point, there have only been one or possibly two people in the United States that have been infected by the Ebola virus, brought here by a now-deceased victim who had Ebola upon arrival from Africa. The transmission was the result of close contact during health care.

It seems overwhelmingly likely that there will be 100 or fewer cases of Ebola in the United States by year’s end. And it’s probably going to be considerably below that. The Brain Trust odds for the number of deaths are entered at 6½, but may change up or down. Since 6½ doesn’t turn out to be a perfect 50/50 over/under number from a theoretical “betting” standard, there’s a slightly better chance that it will fall under than over. And there’s about a 19 percent chance that there won’t be any.

And, by the way, the outbreak of Ebola in Africa is a major concern, meriting significant news coverage. The threat in the United States isn’t. — MC

Saturday → 





Odds of DOW increasing over 2013
year-end close in first quarter of 2014


13% chance of the DOW being higher than 2013 last-day close of 15,576.66 by end of trading on March 31
(About 7-to-1 against)

87% chance it won’t be

Mike Caro says:

Presented without comment. — MC

Wednesday → 





Odds of Hillary Clinton being elected
United States president in 2016
and of being nominated


17% chance of winning presidential election
(About 6-to-1 against)

51% chance of winning Democrat party nomination
(A bit better than even money)

Mike Caro says:

Although Clinton has momentum toward the Democrat party nomination, if she decides to run, many obstacles stand in her way. My impression is that she doesn’t tend to meet expectations when closely examined. She doesn’t own a magnetic personality to match the hype. She isn’t an outstanding speaker, either.

She’s intelligent and cunning. And most likely the dominant media will back her this time, having deserted her for Barack Obama in 2008. And that support can garner even higher degrees of favorable attention.

Her problem is that excessive favorable attention can work against you in an arena where no part of the true person is likely to remain hidden from the public. When what is hyped doesn’t mesh with what people see, there can be a quiet backlash. I think this is likely to happen, especially during the general election between just two major candidates.

Still, Clinton has the best chance of any single candidate, Democrat or Republican, of becoming president at this point. — MC