Peter Schiff on the Economy and Martial Law: The Beginning of the End
From Peter Schiff’s weekly email:
The Beginning of the End
October 10, 2008
Peter Schiff, President and Chief Global Strategist
While I have warned for years that the United States was headed into the eye of an economic hurricane, nearly every other “expert” from Washington, Wall Street, the press and academia saw nothing ahead but sunny skies. Now, suddenly, there is an overwhelming consensus that absent the Federal mortgage bailout, my dire forecast would have come to pass. While I’m glad that rose colored glasses have finally been removed from so many eyes, the vast majority of these observers are still blind. In truth, the bailout plan substantially increases the threats to the U.S. economy.
When I wrote my book “Crash Proof”, I not only predicted that our consumer/mortgage credit-based economy would fall apart, but that the government would ineptly try to repair it. The magnitude of those potential policies formed the basis of my worst case scenario. My fears have now been confirmed, and the U.S. Government is now set to destroy all hope of economic recovery.
Make no mistake; had the government resisted the political pressure to interfere with the markets, we would now be experiencing a very deep recession. But by refusing to let the markets work, policy makers are resisting the only medicine capable of curing the economic disease that afflicts us. The same mistakes were made in the early 1930′s, causing a severe financial crisis to morph into the decade-long Great Depression.
The government will now attempt to keep bad loans from failing and real estate prices from falling. Rather then allowing market forces to rein in excess borrowing and replenish savings, it will encourage even more borrowing and drain what is left of our savings pool. Rather than allowing our economy to return to one based on legitimate production, it will continue to encourage reckless consumption.
In the end, by refusing to allow market forces to work their cure, our economy will inevitably die from the disease. Our economy will now face death by hyperinflation, which will cause a complete loss of confidence in the dollar and result in prices and interest rates skyrocketing out of sight. The evaporation of our national wealth will lead to civil unrest, food and energy shortages, and the possible imposition of MARTIAL LAW If such a scenario unfolds, what is left of our Constitution will surely be completely shredded.
Although this reality looms as large as anything I have ever seen, investors still do not see the forest for the trees. Convinced that the bailout will actually work, and that foreign governments are derelict for not launching similar plans, global investors are fleeing other currencies in favor of the dollar. Soon investors will discover that foreign politicians and central bankers have acted responsibly. When they do, the current gains seen by the dollar will reverse violently.
Investors seem to be bracing themselves for a global depression that will not occur. Foreign stocks, particularly those exposed to China or natural resources, are trading at the lowest valuations I have seen in my entire career. Fears of a global meltdown are based on the misconception that the U.S. economy is the tent pole for economic activity around the world. The premise of my entire argument is that the U.S. economy, by consuming so much of the world’s resources and manufactured goods, and borrowing so much of the world’s savings, has in fact been a drag on the global economy.
The enormous global vendor financing scheme is finally coming to an end as the vendors discover that their biggest customer is flat broke. In the short run, our creditors are experiencing some pain because they finally realize that they will never get their money back.
Once the foreign stock markets take this hit, they will be far better poised to grow than their American counterpart. Foreigners will reclaim their productivity and savings for themselves, and will subsequently experience the biggest global economic boom in history. America on the other hand will fare much worse, as we will be left with a hollowed out manufacturing base, dilapidated infrastructure, no savings, and a gigantic Federal Government that will regulate, spend, borrow and print our economy into ruin.
For an updated look at my investment strategy, order a copy of my just released book, “The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets.” While the “bull moves” I forecast have yet to materialize, I am confident that given time they will. The good news is that now you actually have some time to put my strategy in place at favorable prices and exchange rates!
– Peter Schiff is the President, Founder and Chief Global Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital. He is widely acknowledged as a expert in international markets, and in global economic strategy. He is a speaker at all the major investment conferences. He is regularly featured on CNBC and Bloomerg TV , and often quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, New York Times, the Financial Times, Investors Business Daily, and many others.
Permabear Peter Schiff’s Worst-Case Scenario
Economic punditry tends to fall broadly into glass-half-full or half-empty categories. Then there are those who see a cracked glass, teetering on the edge of a table just moments from a shattering fall. Enter Peter Schiff, the permabear president of brokerage Euro Pacific Capital and coauthor of last year’s Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse. Schiff spent the past decade urging brokerage clients to jump ship from the American economy ahead of what he views as inevitable pain caused by a toxic cocktail of lax monetary policy, wayward spending, and tougher competition from all corners of the globe.
Even with some pain already felt as America’s economy stumbles, Schiff saw nothing but downside in a recent chat with U.S. News. You’ll want to buckle up for some characteristically apocalyptic talk from one of the gloomiest market watchers around. Excerpts:
Say something positive about the U.S. economy.
There’s nothing good to say about our situation. The policies both the Fed and government are pursuing are making the situation worse. We’ve been getting a free ride on the global gravy train. Other countries are starting to reclaim their resources and goods, so as Americans are priced out of various markets, the rest of the world is going to enjoy the consumption of goods Americans had previously purchased. This is a natural consequence of this phony economy. If America had maintained a viable economy and continued to produce goods instead of merely consuming them, and if we had saved money instead of borrowing, our standard of living could rise with everybody else’s. Instead, we gutted our manufacturing, let our infrastructure decay, and encouraged our citizens to borrow with reckless abandon.
So what are you doing about it?
I’m getting my clients’ money outside of the United States as fast as they can send it to me. I’ve been recommending that to my clients for close to 10 years. You’ve got to own resources and energy. I was saying oil was going to $200 a barrel in 2002. I’ve been buying gold, silver, industrial metals, and all kinds of stocks. My main theme is the global economy will survive and the U.S. economy is a disaster. Everything is about how you benefit from the increased purchasing power and rising standard of living in the rest of the world.
OK, where are the best non-U.S. markets this year?
I still like Singapore, Hong Kong. Asian markets are the place to be. I like resource markets like Scandinavia. I’m spreading my chips around the world. I’m just avoiding the United States.
What are your best or worst calls through this downturn?
I’ve been bearish on bonds. U.S. bonds have lost a lot of real value but not nominal value. I still think that’s going to be proven to be correct. While the housing bubble was inflating, I was telling people to rent. I was telling people to get out of tech stocks in 1998 and 1999. They kept rising, but then they collapsed, and I turned out to be right. The reality is I don’t think I’ve been wrong on anything.