Peter Schiff: "We're in the Early Stages of a Depression"

In August 2006, Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, offered what many considered to be an outlier prognosis for the economy: The exuberance would end, real estate prices would crash back down to earth, and consumers would revert to saving from spending. In short, a deep recession was in the works.

As outlandish as he may have sounded at the time, he was right. Four years and the worst recession since the Great Depression later, Schiff stands alone again with a bleaker diagnosis for the economy: an inflationary depression.

In an interview, Schiff, president and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, and author of the new book How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes, said he thinks the government's policies -- massive fiscal stimulus and a zero interest-rate policy -- have put the U.S. on a track for a collision course.

As such, to protect one's wealth, Schiff recommends divesting U.S. assets and dollar-denominated debt in favor of emerging markets. He likes natural resources economies like Australia, Norway, and Canada.

Companies like Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP  ) or BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP  ) are examples of companies that offer exposure to natural resources economies.

He also favors exposure to precious metals -- particularly gold.

With that, investors might want to consider exposure to gold miners like Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) and Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM  ) or exchange-traded funds SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD  ) or iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV  ) .

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Jennifer Schonberger: What's your take on the state of the economy now?

Peter Schiff: We're in the early stages of a depression now. It's going to be a horrific experience for average Americans who are going to watch their standard of living plunge. The cost of living is going to escalate dramatically. We are going to see soaring prices for the basic necessities of life, like energy, clothing, and other things. Education and health-care costs are going to continue to spiral out of control. Millions of more Americans are going to lose their jobs, and all of us are going to lose our freedoms and our rights. As the government gets bigger, it tries to end the crisis; but its policies are creating, perpetuating, and making it worse.

The sad fact is these policies are going to wipe out the middle class. They're going to wipe out the poor; they're going to wipe out retirees. Accumulated savings is going to be blown.

There is no economic recovery. All we did is spend more borrowed money. We dug ourselves into a deeper hole, and now we're in even more trouble than before Obama ascended to the presidency.

Schonberger: You've got the new book out on how an economy grows and why it crashes, and as you noted, you feel that this recovery is "fake." Certainly, it's slowing down as the stimulus is beginning to fade. How do we revive the economy for real growth and create jobs?

Schiff: We have to stop stimulating. We have to shrink the government and cut government spending dramatically. The reason the economy is so screwed up is because government regulations and subsidies have created a slowing economy. They have prevented market forces from operating the way they need to be. They have prevented an efficient allocation of resources. We need to rebuild our manufacturing base. We need to reindustrialize. We can't do that without the resources, without the savings, without the investment.

They've created a nation of spenders, speculators, and consumers, and they've destroyed the savers, producers, and the investing class that built this country. We're moving from a market-based economy to essentially a planned economy. We're abandoning capitalism and embracing socialism. That's a recipe for disaster.

Schonberger: Sans fiscal stimulus and the Feds' intervention -- quantitative easing -- do you think we would even have GDP [gross domestic product] growth?

Schiff: We don't have economic growth. GDP is going up, but that's not a sign of any economic growth. All we're measuring is what we're consuming. But we are paying for it by going into debt. As a nation, we're in worse shape because of the GDP growth. The real economy is shrinking. All we're doing is borrowing money from economies that are growing, like China, and we're spending their money. But that's going to stop.

Schonberger: You mentioned that you think we're in the early stages of a depression. When do you think we begin to see a double dip back into a recession?

Schiff: We've already seen that. GDP is decelerating now as the stimulus is wearing off, and the hangover is setting in. By next year, I believe we'll be back in recession territory, as far as the GDP numbers.

Schonberger: If we continue on the current policy path, is there a chance the U.S. is facing a Japan scenario where we're in a slow-growth, deflationary malaise?

Schiff: No. There's no chance of us getting off as easy as Japan. Our situation is considerably worse. We're going to have runaway inflation and recession simultaneously. I call what we're going to have an inflationary depression, which is the worst possible depression you can have.

Schonberger: So even though you think we're in for a depression, you're not concerned about deflation?

Schiff: No. We're going to have falling stock prices and falling real estate prices. That's not deflation. Prices are rising. Oil is at $82 a barrel and rising. The Japanese yen is at a 15-year high against the dollar. The government is printing a bunch of money. These are signs of inflation. Deflation is healthy. That's what we need. Unfortunately, inflation is what we're going to get thanks to the Fed and government policy.

Schonberger: Then it's safe to say you think the Fed should not be following the zero-interest-rate policy right now?

Schiff: No. We need higher interest rates. Rates are much too low. Low interest rates are part of the problem; they're not part of the solution.

... We're repeating the same mistakes of the [Alan] Greenspan Fed except on a bigger scale. Obama is repeating Bush's mistakes. Bernanke is repeating Greenspan's mistakes. So their mistakes will do even more damage to our economy than the mistakes of their predecessors.

Schonberger: So how should investors preserve their wealth in this environment?

Schiff: By getting out of U.S. assets entirely, by not owning any dollar-denominated debt. Don't own Treasuries or bonds. Invest in the economies that are doing it right. Invest in emerging markets -- Southeast Asia, China. Invest in natural resources economies like Australia, Norway, and Canada. I invest in commodities and precious metals. Just get out of dollars.

Schonberger: So you're still buying gold, which is currently trading around $1,200 an ounce. Where do you see gold going from these levels?

Schiff: There's no limit to how high gold prices will go. They will rise many times from here --thousands and thousands of dollars per ounce higher. People will be shocked.

It's surprising to me that gold is still as cheap as it is. I just know it's going higher, and eventually it's going to go ballistic. ...

Schonberger: Given your outlook for the U.S. economy, do you think the U.S. stock market is poised to crash?

Schiff: No. I don't think it's going to crash in nominal terms -- the way we think about it -- because the government has already created inflation. All that money creation will put a floor under nominal stock prices. But I do believe that the Dow Jones will fall down to about one ounce of gold, which is an 80% or so decline from where it is right now. In real terms, U.S. stocks are going to get killed. But in terms of dollars that we create out of thin air, no, I'm not looking for Dow 1,000 or Dow 2,000. But I am looking for the equivalent, loss of purchasing power, in terms of an ounce of gold.

What do you think? Weigh in below in the comments box.

Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow her on Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (62) | Recommend This Article (142)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 3:28 PM, jrinbox wrote:

    The only problem is that Peter would definitely NOT recommend the GLD and SLV ETF's probably because they are paper and not backed by physical gold just contracts for futures and paper. Peter recommends only holding the real asset in your hand and at offshore locations.

    SLV and GLD are scams that don't have any metal. When the time comes that everyone wants the physical metal they will have none.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 5:46 PM, holosys wrote:

    Simply fascinating... so you're basically saying that if gold is $8,000 per ounce, that's where the stock market will be (at 8000).

    Once people start thinking in terms of real value (not in terms of dollars) then all hell will break loose. A great many things are grossly undervalued, allowing the relative few who think multidimensionally to enjoy every truly valuable thing inexpensively. That party will end when everyone wakes up and smells the coffee (which I estimate will soon cost $6 for a venti drip at Starbucks, and $12 for a latte).

    Of course if we can manage to secure resources ahead of the economic mob scene to come, it won't matter... some of us will be sitting pretty (to use a favorite depression era phrase).

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 5:48 PM, cuculan wrote:

    Can anyone say with any degree of real knowledge what the situation is with regard to the perception that GLD is not backed up by actual Gold. This fund currently has in excess of 40 Billion Dollars invested in it, and if the actual Gold doesn't exist it will make Bernie Madoff look like Mother Theresa when it all comes crashing down. Is there not some agency similar to the SEC that has the power to verify this?

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 6:45 PM, MAcDScientist wrote:

    Unfortunately, Mr. Schiff spouts a lot consequences without specifying any of the triggers. In 2006 he said the home price bubble would burst - the trigger which led to the recession. But, he specifies no triggers here other than "government policies". Is Mr. Schiff proposing that buyers of US government debt is about to dry up? Other than the possibility of the government not being able to fund its debt, what policies are so catastrophic and iminent? What are the triggers for the hyper-inflation he proposes? Are natural resources about to become limiting? Don't appear to be. Is capital about to dry up? Doesn't seem like it. Is demand outstripping supply and capacity becoming scarce? Hardly. I challenge Mr. Schiff to get bold. Show us your numbers. What is the trigger. Or, do I have to buy your book.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 6:54 PM, mals wrote:

    Why was he not asked about the Bush Tax cuts and whether he will make the cuts permanent? This entire chat is a promo for failed Republican policies.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 7:01 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    Apparently 10 shares of GLD are equal to 1 ounce of gold. And the gold is sitting in a vault somewhere. Or something like that:

    https://www.spdrs.com/library-content/public/Introduction%20...

    Oh and please don't listen to Peter Schiff, he's just a clueless fearmonger.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 7:05 PM, Borbality wrote:

    I might take this more seriously if he was not running for office. If I was so sure of myself and had the same predictions, I'd run for the hills rather than run for congress!

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 7:19 PM, KZMike wrote:

    I would love to hear some other views of this interview. . . How about some comments from our Foolish Brethren, David & Tom. We keep getting advice on a daily basis, indicating that we ought to keep our toes in the investment pool, so it would be GREAT to hear some counter points to Mr Schiff's statements.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 8:17 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    I agree with Mr. Schiff about many things. But I think he is making a bigger deal out of things than really needs to be in order to scare up some campaign money and keep his name in circulation. Call me a cynic.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 9:20 PM, richie54 wrote:

    Mr. Schiff is just like any New England politician. Say whatever you think is going to get you elected.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 9:33 PM, Pat4Ra wrote:

    MF is advising us to be invested in stocks, many of them (perhaps majority) american companies. So what is the definitive view of MF to the points raised by Mr. Schiff?

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 10:15 PM, JavaChipFool wrote:

    For David and Tom's views, read their other stuff- basically, good companies do well over time. If you own good companies, and stick with them, returns will come.

    Even if the market drops 80%, some companies wil still be around making money. Those are the ones you want to try and pick. Also, I don't think the tax cuts will remain- if they do, maybe Schiff is right- it is all headed to the ditch.

    I don't see pitchforks and mobs in the streets in our future-which is what it sounds like Schiff is trying to say without using those words- Gold at $8000? When everyone starts to say that, and Gold prices are reported with the DOW, thats when you sell it.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 10:16 PM, kydderr wrote:

    Folks.....it's not just this man who are saying the exact same thing ; and ( they) were right before. Protect yourself or go to cash. Or be sorry.

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2010, at 11:27 PM, MegaEurope wrote:

    Schiff loved commodities in 2008 and they got crushed. I notice that his fans never mention that detail.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 12:10 AM, teebeecan wrote:

    A very depressing analysis. It is most interesting to note that UK Prime Minister Gladstone twice in the early 1800's saved the UK from terrible depressions - how? He instituted tremendous cuts in Government spending while at the same time made huge cuts in taxation so more money was available for investing and production. It worked!

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 12:27 AM, burrowsx wrote:

    We are playing a game of chicken with China. There is a danger of inflation, but that is part of the strategy. China must be made to feel that its US debt holdings risk becoming worthless, in order to make them stop currency manipulation to goose their trade surplus with us. If neither the US or China changes policy, we inflate and we all lose. Those who counsel fiscal restraint leave us to the tender mercies of Wen Jia Bao

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 1:53 AM, iambemused wrote:

    The 'massive deflation' rhetoric coming from some US commentators is difficult to accept as anything more than hyperbole.

    For the United States to "reindustrialise" and rebuild its manufacturing base, it will need to take those job functions exported over past decades - by the ever-efficiently allocating private sector - back from those countries who currently hold them.

    China for one, is unlikely to be pleased to see its exporting industrial sector ravaged by US policies. The US political system hasn't even had the guts to stare down the Chinese autocracy over the glaringly obvious replacement of US products by Chinese products and production through the overt manipulation of China's currency. Economists can try to explain that away as much as they like but the fact is China is using currency as a tool to keep its export sector healthy while slowly and gradually building domestic consumption (and therefore domestic security and social/industrial strength) and the infrastructure for its currency to eventually be an alternative global 'reserve currency', at which stage all bets are off.

    The capital cost of replacing all that industrial infrastructure is enormous, and the payoff would be too small, unless there were to be a substantial drop in unit labor costs in the United States - and that's hardly going to feed the retail/employment/consumption loop, is it?

    The US economy is far from dead. There remain huge reserves of cash and credit that are simply waiting on some return to long term economic/political stability before they will be released.

    I do agree with one thing though - most of these stimulus measures are not going to work. Lending money to primary dealers at nil interest so they can make a profit buying higher yielding paper is so far removed from productive outcomes that it takes a blind form of Libertarian optimism to see it as a tool to boost employment, consumption and productivity. And the short term nature of the stimulus merely increases the rewards for short term speculation rather than productive investment.

    Commentary on the 'net would have one believe that Gold is going to return as a standard for money policy, and that it is a reliable final reserve. Neither are materially likely outcomes, even in the event of the Black Swan.

    As an Australian, i'd love to say "listen to Mr Schiff". Send all that scared money our way. However, that money is required in the United States for productive investment into businesses that are growing and keen to employ Americans - sending it overseas on some wild goose chase for security is a ridiculous way of rebuilding an economy starved of funds.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 2:54 AM, TMFKopp wrote:

    @Pat4Ra

    "MF is advising us to be invested in stocks, many of them (perhaps majority) american companies. So what is the definitive view of MF to the points raised by Mr. Schiff?"

    There is no "definitive" view at the Fool -- we're a collection of investors that The Fool encourages to have disparate views informed by our own thinking and experience. The idea is that by not just blindly following a set viewpoint that we can tug-of-war our way to better outcomes.

    That said, if you want my two cents of Mr. Schiff, I'd say that what he's best at is self promotion. I'm not going to say that Schiff is another Harry Dent (that would just be mean), but... well, I'll leave it at that.

    There are folks out there that have sobering views of what's to come, but combine it with much more thoughtful analysis than Schiff.

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 11:26 AM, j457 wrote:

    Very interesting, and disappointing. Here is Schiff desperately trying to get elected to US Senate, and yet he encourages us Americans to not buy US T-Bills, bonds, stocks in support of America. To rub salt in the wound he continues with promoting Americans to take their money and invest in Canada, Australia, China and Norway. Isn't that the same type logic that lead corporations to outsource their American jobs to other countries. This type talk is self-serving and clearly another attempt at increasing fear in the markets so people will dump US stocks, buy gold, and emerging market funds. All which Euro-Pac will make money. Perhaps time to separate politics from business?

    Schonberger: So how should investors preserve their wealth in this environment?

    Schiff: By getting out of U.S. assets entirely, by not owning any dollar-denominated debt. Don't own Treasuries or bonds. Invest in the economies that are doing it right. Invest in emerging markets -- Southeast Asia, China. Invest in natural resources economies like Australia, Norway, and Canada. I invest in commodities and precious metals. Just get out of dollars.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 2:35 PM, SundayRider wrote:

    Two comments:

    1. I see the constant repetition of the Gold Bug argument that GLD and other ETFs don't have any gold. This is just spouted to keep proping up the excessive premium placed on gold coins. Since a lot of Gold Bugs are big owners of gold coins, you can see why. These ETFs are regulated by the same laws that govern mutual funds. If they were violating the prospectus, they could go to jail. Not many rich money managers put that option in the hopper. So just read the prospectus and see for yourself.

    2. Shiff thinks you can have a depression without deflation. This is ludicrous. What he doesn't understand is that it doesn't matter how much money is printed if it's all sitting in banks as reserves, and not moving in the economy. As long as people and business are unsure of the future, they won't borrow for new expansion of their business or lifestyle, so there's no velocity to this money. As sentiment gets worse, the slower it moves. And the Fed can't do anything--printing more money is just pushing on a string. Congress can give away more money, but sentiment for more of that is rapidly diminishing. So the only endgame is deflation. Yes, inflation eventually--but that might be years away. In the meantime, oil and commodities will fall through the floor, along with GDP. China and India may fall worse, once they lose their customers. Remember, most of what they export are things you could do without in a pinch.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2010, at 7:28 PM, mjreiss wrote:

    I'm afraid Shiff loses any pubilc policy credibility as soon as he says 'deflation is healthy.' That's just nuts.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2010, at 11:13 AM, MyDonkey wrote:

    I'd rather see Schiff get elected than a career politician. He has publicly stated that he'd get out after one term, and that he'd fight for Joe Taxpayer and Small Business, so why not give him the chance?

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2010, at 11:49 AM, Adam1226 wrote:

    The difference between holding physical gold and a gold ETF is counterparty liability. If you make money in ETF, someone else has to lose money. If that someone else can't pay (can't meet their margin call) then you won't get your money.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2010, at 6:37 PM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    I'll offer a few comments.

    First, I don't think it's smart to just dismiss Peter Schiff out of hand. I subscribe to the Jack Welch Philosophy -- you can learn something from everyone.

    Second, I think Schiff is right on the major trends, but has a built-in bias to take his conclusions to the extreme (book + politics). The extremes create the news, and so long as he's right on the general direction, he'll look good enough to not get shredded.

    Third, our government simply has got to get its spending under control and to deal with our entitlement spending. A look at the future convinces me that one of the most patriotic acts any American can take is to quit smoking, sleep 7-8 hours per night, improve their diet, and strengthen their social connections to live a healthier life. We have spending nightmares on the horizon that could be devastating.

    Fourth, while I believe the threat of inflation is extremely real, I see it as a long-term quality of life setback not a force of overnight destruction. Further, I think gold is at least half played out. Bubbles can form in both directions and on all asset classes.

    Fifth, I continue to think it smart to find companies positioned to endure the volatile turns from deflation to inflation (like losing control of one's car on the highway -- in one moment, it seems like you'll hit the guardrail; in another, it seems like you'll cross the median). I particularly like companies with pricing leverage, staple products, and some debt to pay down. I mention Walgreen in a recent article.

    Sixth, sorry to make a political point, but the real challenge we face is that the lobbying system is bigger than the elected officials. You can "vote everyone out" to make your point, but the next group still needs to come in and raise money for re-elections. Where do they turn? To the forces that, for example, water down effective aspects of financial regulation. Seems to me like an awful lot of candidates run as Washington outsiders, and when they take residence in my hometown, they play the same game. So we flip from right-leaning special interests to left-leaning ones...and it just ends up looking like a drunken boat.

    This is why I invest in companies and entrepreneurs and don't spend time on politics. :)

    Finally, what's the greatest thing any Fool can do for their country? Teach their friends and family to save and invest. Unless we change the savings rates -- across all aspects of American life -- future generations aren't going to have it so good as we did. Fool on!

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2010, at 8:08 PM, bigkansasfool wrote:

    Schiff has said the same thing for the last 20+ years! He's the definition of a perma-bear who has always said to sell US, buy gold. Motley Fool should do more research before interviewing people. For instance you should have found out how poorly his clients have done, even in 2008 when the market crashed! You should have also looked into his background (google Irwin Schiff) before publishing the rants of a shameless self-promoter.

    He's a broken record, nothing more.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2010, at 9:19 PM, janiecat wrote:

    Right Forecast by Schiff, Wrong Plan?

    Check out this article in the WSJ, published 01-30-2009 by By SCOTT PATTERSON, JOANNA SLATER and CRAIG KARMIN.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123327685671031439.html?KEYW...

    The first two sentences read: Peter Schiff predicted a collapse of the U.S. financial system. The bust-up he didn't foresee was the one that made mincemeat of investors who took his advice in 2008...

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 1:42 AM, ecuagrino wrote:

    Reading Peter Schiff's stuff for a while, he has always recommended a balanced portfolio of gold, commodities and specific industries (i.e. utilities) in countries with surpluses.

    Given that, even those that ignored his advice on balancing their portfolios and just took the advice of gold... yes, they lost money in 2008 but made it up in early 2009 and kept making money well into 2010 and 2x compared to DJI.

    He preaches fiscal responsibility... could that be why people hate him so much?

    I was disappointed to see him loose the nomination but that just means there will be one less person in Washington that knows how to fix things. Which only increases the chances that Washington will continue to screw things up.

    And if you are invested in Gold... those screw ups resonate into beautiful <ka-ching> sounds.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 2:31 AM, djshagggyd wrote:

    I don't know much about Mr. Schiff or politics... but this is the scariest MF articles I've ever read.

    It makes me think that either alstry is not as crazy as I thought... Or Mr. Schiff is as crazy as alstry.

    Or maybe... Mr. Schiff is alstry?

    I don't know. All I know is that I feel concerned and confused.

    I thought Mr. Gardner's comments were interesting and insightful. I really respect that he chimed in on such a challenging topic. I liked this quote:

    "A look at the future convinces me that one of the most patriotic acts any American can take is to quit smoking, sleep 7-8 hours per night, improve their diet, and strengthen their social connections to live a healthier life."

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 8:40 AM, CDRIAL wrote:

    "Oh and please don't listen to Peter Schiff, he's just a clueless fearmonger." I beg to differ with my esteemed Fool. Schiff, on the contrary, is quite well informed and has a track record that speaks for itself in terms of predicting how the house of cards come tumbling down -- and has yet to collapse. He and I share the view that things will only get worse. His advising to invest outside the U.S. is his simply being responsive to the risks his clients face: an insolvent, bankrupt (again) U.S. economy and a crashing dollar. There a dozens of reputable talking heads out there predicting similar outcomes and suggesting the same strategies, but to whom no one listens (Jim Rogers, Marc Faber...) because they are on the fringe.

    A reader asked what triggers or is a possible driver of the gloom and doom Schiff predicts. Maybe when debt reaches 300% of GDP; or, when China decides the path of mutually assured financial distruction is not one they will continue to follow; or, perhaps when the U.S. govt eventuall defaults and attempts to pay off creditors with "new and improved-I.O.U.s-less-inflation" . That's the point: the Fed is spending all its energy mitigating triggers and kicking the can instead of recognizing that an alternative (albeit painful) but growth/investment/production path out of this mess exists. They can't and therefore won't. Short terms pain is far to high a price for elected officials and their non-elected, but appointed FED buddies.

    So who is the bigger blow-hard: Schiff or Bernanke? That's an easy one. Follow the trail of the shattered economy. Schiff calls it like he sees it and backs it up. The FED chief, plays it like he's told and hopes for the best. Read Schiff's books (Crash 2.0 and How Economies....) and then judge him.

    Yes, deflation is healtful. Prices drop, wages drop (which were and are artifically propped up by the credit easy money binge) and price equilibrium has a chance of being achieved. Consumption may slow, but it will not drop off the proverbial map like the inflationists will tell you. Who is afraid of deflation? Those with huge debt and no savings. Would our govt fall under that category? Mmm, maybe. And why, then, would they advocate or see any benevolence in deflation? That, too, is obvious.

    I'll continue to be Foolish and to follow what Schiff has to say. At times I think he is the only true voice of reason out there.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 1:06 PM, Puckplayr4 wrote:

    Yeeps!

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 3:01 PM, GrumpyGopher wrote:

    Once my employer starts moving forward on capital projects that are not government mandates I will think bullish. I'm in Big Oil and we are holding tight, accumulating cash. Which is what I'm doing as well as I think were in for another drop.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 3:58 PM, COfool44 wrote:

    From the GLD Prospectus: "The Trust’s gold may be subject to loss, damage, theft or restriction on access. There is a risk that some or all of the Trust’s gold bars held by the Custodian or any subcustodian on behalf of the Trust could be lost, damaged or stolen. Access to the Trust’s gold bars could also be restricted by natural events (such as an earthquake) or human actions (such as a terrorist attack). Any of these events may adversely affect the operations of the Trust and, consequently, an investment in the Shares."

    So the Gold is /should be there, but there's no guarantee of getting it. If you agree with Schiff's predictions, I think you'd want to have the gold in your personal possession, not at a bank in NYC.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 5:12 PM, TMFBro wrote:

    I, too, find Schiff's opinions worth reading (and Jennifer does a great job with interviews). But any prognosticator's predictions should be placed in the context of his record. Over on his website, Eric Tyson maintains a "GuruWatch," and has dug up some good stuff on Schiff, including a 2002 interview in which he predicted the Dow would fall between 2,000 to 4,000 and inflation would run rampant: http://www.erictyson.com/articles/20090213.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 5:30 PM, rfaramir wrote:

    "I'm afraid Shiff loses any pubilc policy credibility as soon as he says 'deflation is healthy.' That's just nuts."

    Under deflation, every dollar you hold buys more stuff. That means you are effectively richer. Under inflation, every dollar you hold buys less and less stuff, meaning you get effectively poorer.

    The central bank (Federal Reserve) exists to inflate. Without it, banks that inflated their notes beyond the specie (gold or silver) they had in their vaults would be "called" on it, resulting in them going out of business. With a central bank to back them up when a run starts, and nothing backing the dollars to begin with, that's avoided and they can print money with impunity. For as long as the users of dollars believe it is stable (or more stable than other currencies).

    That belief is ending soon, probably for all currencies, leaving only gold (and silver and to some extent all durable resources) as money.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 11:01 PM, Zookeep100 wrote:

    OK, now I'm really confused. I subscribe to MF to learn to invest, yet this Schiff is saying pull back! what are we to do, bury it in the back yard? Oh, yea, not dollars, but the gold.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 11:51 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    The fact is, Schiff's track record is terrible. His EuroPacific funds are mediocre at best. His predictions from 2002 were completely wrong. During the recent economic crisis, his belief in decoupling was wrong. He was wrong about hyperinflation (complete with fearmongering comparisions to the Weimar Republic). He was wrong about commodites for the past 8 years. And his predictions about the strength of Australia's currency were... you guessed it... wrong.

    Here is some evidence of his wrongness, for anyone interested:

    http://www.streetinsider.com/Insiders+Blog/Mish+Says+Clients...

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/01/peter-sch...

    (and I apologize for being overly negative but I am so sick of hearing about Schiff. And he deserves this criticism, especially after claiming that he has never been wrong about anything)

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 11:56 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    So the fraud known as ETFsRule or DeepFryer has moved to the main board, where he won't be called out for his terrible market calls - which are worse than Peter Schiff's- and where his inflammatory, ignorant, and offensive posts about libertarians are unknown.

    What a tool.

    David in Qatar

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 12:16 AM, bluemoth wrote:

    Am I the only one who finds this pretty ironic (and ridiculous)?

    "We're abandoning capitalism and embracing socialism. That's a recipe for disaster."

    "Invest in the economies that are doing it right. Invest in emerging markets -- Southeast Asia, China. Invest in natural resources economies like Australia, Norway, and Canada."

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 1:16 AM, krazycanuck wrote:

    With the de-leveraging that took place in 2008, many people got slaughtered financially unless they were short just about anything! Schiff was no exception if he was long in commodities as even they got hammered in the second-half of the year with everything else! The difference is that they have real value, with no counter-liability or counter-party solvency risk. Even Warren Buffet has has losing years before. It has happened to everybody, and if somebody's been lucky enough not to have one yet, they're probably early in their investing career, and will more than likely have a few in their future! Fact is when the stock market crashed, "investors" had to sell assets to meet margin calls, which accelerated the crash. When they ran out of stocks, they sold gold or silver. The recession reduced demand for jewelry (more downward pressure on gold or silver), oil (fewer people driving and those that still did drove fewer miles to save money because gas was expensive at the time, remember $150 oil, anybody?) etc. Notice how gold has been setting nominal record highs again? Read Ted Butler and you'll see why silver will leave gold FAR behind (never mind the Dow)!

    To the other nay-sayers, there's been at least two times in the last century when an ounce of gold traded for the Dow level: during the depression, and in 1980 (near the end of another long range-bound period on the Dow). It will more than likely happen again within the next 5 to 10 years. The one thing I disagree with is this:

    "It's surprising to me that gold is still as cheap as it is. I just know it's going higher, and eventually it's going to go ballistic. ..."

    In nominal terms? almost definitely! In real terms? time will tell. It'll protect your purchasing power, but who knows whether it will actually increase it. Ask those in Zimbabwe over the past few years how much gold increased their purchasing power (or did it merely protect whatever they actually had)....

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 10:32 AM, Deepfryer wrote:

    David: Please refrain from your childish, ad-hominem attacks. I have already admitted that in the case you mentioned before, my prediction was clearly wrong. Isn't a person allowed to be wrong once in his lifetime? It's not as if I market myself as a financial guru, like certain other people do.

    Now with regards to Schiff's track record, can we please just stick to the facts?

    If any of Schiff's supporters can respond to the CONTENT of my post (and also TMFBro's post), I would love to hear it.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 12:12 PM, dscfool wrote:

    Schiff is right about one thing: stimulus never works, it just creates temporary jobs for unions, more debt, and will lead to inflation. We need to massively cut gov'nt spending and job-killing regulations to create real economic growth!

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 12:17 PM, jrj90620 wrote:

    It's very reassuring to see so many people here disagreeing with Schiff.That means the gold bull has a long way to go.When the majority figure out what's happening that will be the time to get out of gold.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 1:26 PM, john795806 wrote:

    I don't know much about Peter Shiff. But if you think about it, how far off can he be?

    We went on a spending spree in the 90s. People ran up huge credit card debts. People found ways to get into houses they couldn't afford to pay for. This created a false economy--after all, if you are buying (on borrowed money), someone else has a job producing what you're buying. Housing prices inflated, creating an artificial sense of increasing personal assets. Then the bills came due. That meant that not only could one no longer spend, but one had to actually pay back! That necessitated less consumption, ergo fewer producers of goods. People defaulted, housing prices fell, no more "false" assets. It's that simple.

    And what's our government doing? Well, spending more on the military than ever, in doomed efforts, and all borrowed from the Chinese. If we were all taxed to actually pay for war NOW, do you think we'd be in it? Military spending is the biggest chunk of budget that we can afford NOT to spend. But Congress won't do it; lobbyists buy them off, and they don't want to lose out on military investments in their districts. So, we continue into our death, er, debt spiral. And again, sooner or later, the bill is going to come due, and we won't be able to pay it.

    Ain't a pretty picture, but I don't think it takes a genius to figure this one out. I'm 50 years old. I'm anticipating that the last 20-30 years of my life will be the most turbulent.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 1:51 PM, MisterRogers wrote:

    Deflation is painful. Yes, it increases your spending power if you hold cash, but when debtors cannot afford to pay back their loans in a deflated currency, they default. That hurts creditors or even wipes them out. Also, declines in prices and wages do not happen uniformly. Your income may fall long before prices do. Or businesses may be forced to lower their prices before their costs go down. Most companies cannot lower wages and salaries easily, so they resort to layoffs instead. Yes, your cash may be worth more in a deflationary environment, but that is little comfort if you get laid off and cannot find work, especially if you have a mortgage to pay. Both inflation and deflation create artificial winners and losers. The only way to avoid either is with a stable currency, which we abandoned in the 1970s when we left the gold standard. Ideally, your stock portfolio can survive inflation or deflation, but it is still upsetting to know that the government, the Fed, and foreign central banks can play around with monetary policy according to their own misguided whims. I would rather sail on calm seas than stormy seas.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 2:32 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    @john795806--

    "And what's our government doing? Well, spending more on the military than ever, in doomed efforts, and all borrowed from the Chinese. If we were all taxed to actually pay for war NOW, do you think we'd be in it? Military spending is the biggest chunk of budget that we can afford NOT to spend. But Congress won't do it; lobbyists buy them off, and they don't want to lose out on military investments in their districts. So, we continue into our death, er, debt spiral. And again, sooner or later, the bill is going to come due, and we won't be able to pay it."

    Let's turn this around (put the shoe on the other foot, as it were):

    And what's our government doing? Well, spending more on social welfare and so-called "stimulus" programs than ever, in doomed efforts, and all borrowed from the Chinese. If we were all taxed to actually pay for entitlements and bailouts NOW, do you think we'd be doing it? Social welfare/entitlement spending is the biggest chunk of budget that we can afford NOT to spend. But Congress won't do it; activists/advocates threaten them with loss of voter support, and they don't want to risk losing their cushy positions of wealth and power. So, we continue into our death, er, debt spiral. And again, sooner or later, the bill is going to come due, and we won't be able to pay it.

    "Ain't a pretty picture, but I don't think it takes a genius to figure this one out."

    Agreed. It DOES, however, take statesmen (and women) to advocate the tough but necessary steps that need to be taken to rein in government over-reach and restore the traditional American values of hard work, self-reliance, common sense and fiscal responsibility that at one time made us the envy and model for the world.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 4:11 PM, stambushy wrote:

    You mean go back to the days when the rich had had a much higher tax bracket than they do now? And back before the "military industrial complex" that President Eisenhower warned us about got so big? Go back to the days when made sure we were justified before we got into a war? Back to the days we did not cherry pick our information to suit our agenda? Sounds good to me.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 5:06 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    @5088:

    Back to the days when people relied on themselves and their families/communities instead of praying to some all-powerfull government doling out "free" money.

    We've got entirely too many looking for a "free" ride in the collective economic cart instead of looking to help pull it along.

    How about going back to the days before the government got so big and intrusive in the lives of individual American citizens? How about going back to the days when the rule of law held primacy over some subjective notion of "fairness"? How about going back to the days when peoples' first thought WASN'T how to game the system?

    The so-called "military industrial complex" isn't what's going to bankrupt the country. Entitlement spending far exceeds that spent on defense. Instead, it's going to be the ridiculous notion that someone else always needs to be responsible for the poor decisions made by those who should know better and for those who can't/won't even try to help themselves. Contrary to progressive ideology, everyone doesn't have a right to everything that everyone else has.

    Bottom line: Too many parasites will kill any host, no matter how strong and healthy it may be.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 5:09 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    "In spite of all the great and minor calamities that have occurred this century -- all the thousands of reasons that the world might be coming to an end -- owning stocks has continued to be twice as rewarding as owning bonds. Acting on this bit of information will be far more lucrative in the long run than acting on the opinion of 200 commentators and advisory services that are predicting the coming depression." --Peter Lynch

    http://shouldersofgiantsinvestor.com

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2010, at 9:50 PM, webjawns wrote:

    Peter Schiff just spouted off the GOP's talking points.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2010, at 12:47 AM, RedScourge wrote:

    What's better than buying locally to stimulate the local economy? Why, Earning money overseas and spending it locally, of course!

    I don't see why the "Buy American" argument should apply to investments, if you invest in foreign companies and make money, you're going to spend that money locally anyways, so you'll basically be taking foreign money back home.

    With that being said, the whole world like it or not basically relies on the American economy, so if you buy foreign and America goes into a hyper-inflationary recession, the rest of the world is going to be hurting too, perhaps even more if they rely on the USA too greatly.

    Just take a look at the EU, they're having their own troubles. Can anyone honestly say that things were anywhere near as bad in Europe as they are now? No? Maybe it's because they were all heavily invested in the USA, depend on export to the USA, and now suddenly that's drying up.

    It all depends on how bad you think the economy is going to go:

    - If you think the American Dollar is safe in the long term, keep doing whatever you've been doing that's worked while the American Dollar was strong.

    - If you think it's going to collapse but the rest of the world will keep on trucking, invest in foreign companies.

    - If you think the rest of the world is going to be hard hit as well (already is, really), then invest in tangible things such as commodities.

    - If you think Anarchy is going to break out all over as the world because the whole system breaks down, invest in guns and ammo, the gold under your matress isn't going to keep itself safe from the hordes of less fortunate.

    - If you're not certain either way, try to diversify as best you can in as all around "safe" investments as possible, and hope that at least one of them turns out to be the right choice.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2010, at 1:13 AM, moretoons wrote:

    Mr. Schiff is a walking contradiction. He states that "The reason the economy is so screwed up is because government regulations and subsidies have created a slowing economy. They have prevented market forces from operating the way they need to be." Does he truly believe that the markets acted efficiently prior to the current collapse? If he does then he is delusional. He goes on to state "Invest in the economies that are doing it right. Invest in emerging markets -- Southeast Asia, China.". Does he also believe that China, a Communist country, has less government participation in the Chinese economy than the US government has in the US economy? If so, he is completely out of touch with reality. The failure was having a bi-polar regulation system instead of a tri-polar system. The complete lack of active regulation helped lead to this mess.

    The US markets, particularly the financial markets, (which in recent years became little more than a smoke and mirrors casino), do not allocate resources efficiently- that has been proven by the actions of the markets.

    One final note. While the article opens by speaking of Mr. Schiff's prophesy in 2006 regarding the impending recession as though it was some remarkable achievement, many people predicted it, and many people profited from it.

    I'd suggest Mr. Schiff possibly move to China to live in a place where they "do it right".

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2010, at 3:05 AM, Sovestor wrote:

    If Mr. Schiff is so right, why he is not in the Forbes 400 billionaire list?..maybe he is not so right. Wake up people...

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2010, at 7:42 AM, demoledor wrote:

    To create inflation you need to either (a) have demand bigger than supply or (b) deal in a currency that looses value against producers.

    Scenario b would happen if the US dollar was wiped out from the map of leading countries, which is unlikely while metals, gold, oil and other resources are denominated in it.

    Scenario a would require a booming economy, unlikely too.

    I don't see it happening, not as proposed in the article.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2010, at 8:05 PM, thomyoung17 wrote:

    Anybody that has a brain will agree with Peter Schiff. He got twenty three percent of the vote in CT, despite having a media blackout. The government is just spending like a drunken sailor,and the fed is monetizing debt like no tomorrow. They tried Q1 and it didn't work, so now they prepare Q2 and then Q3, Q25 etc. It doesn't matter, it is leading to major inflation like the country has never seen. Meanwhile Goldman Sachs is buying Treasuries that they don't even own like some derivative nightmare. Then they short them because they have the inside advantage, while main street loses. This is the scum that runs the federal government. The fed has two sets of books, just delaying the inevitable. Buy gold and silver assets, it's really simple. Oil stocks like XOM and other stocks like KO, PEP, PG, and CL. Good solid companies with no need for credit and a global presence.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2010, at 2:47 AM, fatboy48 wrote:

    You peckerwoods are so funny. You remind me of my mother, she always dying from something. You folks are no different “Hell” when Bush was in office it was always the democrats in the way of your success, now the coin has flip now it’s the president in control of your profits.

    You _ _ _ _ ing (you put in the letters you want) neverwill make a profit because you always give some else your power; and then cry it’s their fault. My advise for anyone, play the game by who ever sets the rules and you always come out on top.

    INSTEAD OF BITCHING ABOUT WHO DID THIS ARE THAT WHY DON’T YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT WORKS. WORKS I am beginning to think you people don’t have have anything intelligent to say

    Fatboy

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2010, at 9:08 AM, thomyoung17 wrote:

    I know what works and that is free market capitalism, not government intervention and worthless bureaucrats that only serve themselves. Some people like WWE candidates, how appropriate for Congress.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2010, at 11:20 PM, BearishKW wrote:

    Everyone put on your tin-foil hats.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2010, at 9:56 AM, lazytype wrote:

    If he's right In a few years from now, we'll see inflation.

    That means all prices including stock prices will go UP like crazy (in USD) Just don't give away american companies for free

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2010, at 5:08 PM, aeyackery wrote:

    Those of you who question what policies are going to send us back into the recession and eventually depression is the continued government deficit spending. If you missed that point by Mr. Schiff, you missed everything. Not only are we running a budget deficit, but we are running an export deficit too. In a nation built upon the fact that we were industrial and the world's largest creditor, we have become the world's largest debtors.

    Time to realize that our large debt is owned by foreign countries like China and Japan, and this debt isn't on 30 year paper like it used to be, its 3 year debt. Our government signed up for the same "cheap money" adjustable rate mortgages that so many Americans did to get into overpriced homes. Interest rates are being held artifically low, and we continue to print money to pay off debts. The only way we will be able to continue convincing foreign countries to buy our treasuries is by offering greater return, higher interest rates. Any increase in interest rates is going to cost us huge amounts of money on our current 3 year debt. Once this cycle plays out we either default on the debt, or simply print more money creating huge inflation. His analogy of gold/dow is just a marker of what the real value of money is. People concentrate on where the Dow is, but who really cares if its Dow 1,000,000 if you need $100,000 to fill your car with gas?

    What our government is doing is utterly insane. This is truly history repeating itself. Clearly, large budget deficits and high taxes are not effective. Obama is only adding more government regulation and programs, both of which are detrimental to our economy. Nationalized health care drives up costs, we need to treat health care like any other competitive sector. We see this in elective sectors that people are forced to pay out of pocket for. Expensive insurance policies are just taken out of consumers salaries; give them that money in cash and allow them to use it as they see fit- whether it is health care of something else. Consumers need to define our markets, not governments.

    Practically everything our government does to help us, essentially hurts us. Low interest rates only raise the prices of real estate. Low interest rates equate to cheaper loans, this paired with minimal standards to make loans is a disaster. Since Fannie and Freddie back the mortgages made, no one cared if the borrower could make the payments - lenders need to feel the responsibility of the loans they make so that they discriminate borrowers and do the proper du-diligence in making sure they can pay their loans. More loans = more demand. More demand = higher prices. This allowed us to fill the real estate bubble up with air.

    People need to look at the fundamentals. Invest in commodities that will hold their value based on demand, or precious metals- not companies valued in fiat money that is looking more and more like it will soon be worth much less than it is today. Nominal growth means nothing.

  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2011, at 3:35 PM, earthabides wrote:

    I read this article when it first appeared and printed it out and have carried it with me for 2+ years. I travel all over the world on business so I'm fortunate to see what's going on in Asia, Europe and The Americas. Every few months, I re-read and compare it to recent events and developments. I have also used it as a guide for my family's own investment strategy. I want to thank Mr. Schiff for his insightful analysis and recommendations. I've analyzed his points and utilized his forecasts to come to my own conclusions. This has resulted in pulling all my $ out of the stock market in late 2008 (this was before reading Schiff's article but the writing was on the wall), entirely eliminating all $ debt, including paying off my mortagage, maximizing cash flow, diversifying out of U.S. assets (for me that clearly was interpreted to mean out of the US$), invest in commodities (particularly gold, silver and other tangibles), purchase international equities from commodity-rich countries, and read voraciously to form my own opinions about what the future holds. The last point is key. We have become such a divided country and too focused on binary arguments that miss the real point. That real point is the U.S. has ceased to produce the value it once did and under-invested in our educational systems and technology innovation geared towards leading in a truly globalized economy. The U.S. has all the advantages necessary to regain momentum but only if we realize that we need to cultivate a citizenry that it truly international in capabilities (multi-lingual, industrialized, skilled in international business, incentivized to take risks and be entrepreneurial). This is not a choice between the democrat or republican or tea party platform. It's more basic than that. Either we decide to stop making excuses and blaming one another or the Chinese, accept that the world's economic model has changed forever (for the better by the way), and work out a ten-year plan to position the United States as the leader of this new world framework. This is important because the winner gets to make up most of the rules! All is not yet lost but the clock is certainly ticking.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2011, at 7:59 PM, Vells77 wrote:

    Peter Schiff has extreme views and I can only imagine how hard it is for an American to accept. The USA has been borrowing money to finance consumption based on foreign production. In the rest of the world we have been busting our butts working to feed the monster. Now we are slowly waking up to the reality that it can't afford it anymore. What's keeping the system going is the fact that the dollar is the worlds reserve currency but when we all switch to gold the inflation of the dollar won't be a pretty site.

    Gold was $1200 at the time this article was posted, now it's in the $1800 region. The Dow is an a shacky position and we are headed for depression. Net result is that this crisis is a symptom of a shift in global economic power from west to east. The markets are trying to correct the anomaly between borrowers/spenders and producers. In the short run we will all take a knock but emerging markets will 'emerge' stronger when the dust settles and investors realize were the value is.

    It's not really America's fault other than the expansion of 'global capitalism' and the competition that entails. In no more than 5 years, we will be looking at a substantially different world order than we are now & 5 years is a prudent estimate.

    In a democracy such as the one you have it is too hard for politicians to make the tough calls like spending cuts, resisting the temptation to subsidize etc until the dam wall breaks and everyone accepts the problem only then will you react. Elections can create short term thinking (everything has a drawback).

    Good luck, I wish you luck.

    Vells, the African fool.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 10:59 AM, rodahi wrote:

    It's close to the end of 2013. Peter Schiff's predictions have bee WRONG. Gold spot is currently $1239 per ounce. The Dow is currently 15,950. The U.S. DOLLAR continues to be strong globally. Inflation (based on the cost of gasoline, groceries, clothing, cars, homes, etc.) is very low. The unemployment problem has IMPROVED since 2010. The U.S. has NOT experienced a collapse.

    No one can predict the future, not even a know-it-all like Peter Schiff.

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