EXCLUSIVE: Peter Schiff Interview
"All Evidence Points to Recession"
I had the pleasure of sitting down last week for an interview with an ever-invigorated Peter Schiff, who treated me to an all-you-can-eat buffet of enlightening metaphors and bon mots.
Now, if you aren't familiar with Schiff's work, allow me to get you up to speed...
Widely known as one of the only analysts to accurately predict the housing collapse of 2008, Schiff was warning of the subprime mortgage crisis back in 2002.
When he tried to warn people of the forming bubble, he was frequently jeered and even laughed at on national television shows... but Schiff had the last laugh when that house of cards came tumbling down.
And that's why when Peter speaks, we tend to listen.
In the following interview, Schiff shares his thoughts on the current and future states of the U.S. economy and Fed policy and, as always, makes some dire predictions...
Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to speak with Outsider Club.
It's my pleasure, thanks for having me.
You recently said that the Fed really has no plans to roll back its Quantitative Easing program, and Bernanke's recent comments were basically a bluff. Can you elaborate on that?
Well, the Fed never learns from its mistakes. It's not like the Fed is gonna do QE and then when the economy doesn't recover, they say that was the wrong medicine and maybe we should try a different approach. They'll never do that, they'll just go ahead and do it all over again.
They'll just say "Hey, I guess the last one wasn't big enough..."
They will never acknowledge that is doesn't work let alone admit that its actually the problem itself.
It's like a drunk trying to sober up by drinking more and more liquor, and then say "I don't understand, I keep drinking this liquor, and I cannot sober up!"
The Fed is trying to sober up by drinking and I know it's not going to work.
At some point they had to start talking about an exit strategy, they have to pretend there's actually a way out. There isn't...
They won't sell any of these bonds, because who is going to buy them? Nobody. All this talk of an exit strategy is B.S., a bluff. But the Fed has to pretend, other wise they have to admit that the increase in the money supply will continue forever.
But now they are just talking about tapering, not exiting. Tapering is simply growing the balance sheet more slowly.
Bernanke's own words were: "We're not stepping on the breaks, we're letting off the accelerator."
But the car will keep moving forward. We need to slam on the breaks, come to a complete stop and THEN put it in reverse. They have to go backwards. And they certainly aren't doing that.
So you don't think that they'll roll QE back to $65 billion a month by September, like Bernanke alluded last month?
No, I think they'll step on the gas and roll it up to 125 billion or 150 billion. Because it's like drugs and a tolerance. The economy is so addicted to QE, that the more you maintain it, the more the economy needs to stay high. As the bubble gets bigger, the more air you need to sustain it.
So I don't think $85 billion is enough. They're going to have to take it to $125, $150, $200 billion, $250 billion... They're going to have to do it bigger and bigger. The minute they stop, it's going to implode.
The more easing we do now, the bigger the government gets, as the national debt gets bigger and bigger. The Fed has to monetize more debt.
What happens when the budget deficit is $2 or $3 trillion a year?
The more QE we do now, the bigger the government gets because its able to run bigger deficits, so its just more QE will have to do tomorrow to sustain it all.
So they are basically chasing the dragon...
Exactly. And the irony is that the Fed points to the housing market as a sign of recovery. But the only reason the housing market is getting better is because of the QE. How to you take it away?
It's like you have someone plugged in on life support, and now all the sudden they start to come to and you just yank out the plug. You can't do that, the plug is the only thing keeping them alive!
The minute you take away QE, we're right back into recession...
Speaking of recession, I just read that the second largest employer in the United States is a temp agency.
Yes, I think something like 10% of the entire nation's workforce is now temp. They can't afford full-time workers, the government has made it too expensive. That's a big sign that we never had a real recovery. We have a smaller labor force.
Only 47% of Americans have full-time jobs. But we actually have fewer people working full time. What we have is part-time jobs to replace the full-time jobs that are being lost.
So some people have two jobs now: The same guy working two places counts as two jobs. But its just one guy.
The economy is shrinking. There's more and more people on food stamps, welfare, and disability. So all the anecdotal evidence says we're still in a recession. It's just the government's phony numbers that say otherwise... It's a phony recovery that will fade if the Fed stops.
The analogy everyone wants to use is that the economy is a bicycle and the QE is the training wheels. The truth is that QE aren't the training wheels, they are the only wheels we got. The economy is just a frame. We're rolling on QE.
To take the analogy further, I'll say the bicycle is heading towards a cliff. If we don't remove the wheels, we'll go over the cliff. Either way, we're aiming for a fall. But it is far better to fall now then to go over the cliff and drop a great distance to your death.
But the Fed doesn't care, the Fed doesn't want that short-term pain, so they'd rather kill the economy in the long run — which is where we're headed.
Well, it would be awfully tough politically to say, "Hey, let's take the wheels off and crash this thing right now..."
Yeah, but the alternative is to leave them on and crash it later, when it will be much worse.
Maybe the politicians are just hoping for a miracle.
It's like Bernie Madoff. That's exactly what he said, too. People asked him, "Why did you keep doing it?"
He said "Well, I was hoping for a miracle. I was hoping it would all work itself out." And you saw what happened with him...
Everything is fine, as long as the politicians can say it's not on their watch. If they can get through their term, it's someone else's problem. For all they know, they can postpone it for 10 or 20 more years.
So that's why they're going to come up with an excuse for not tapering. Maybe inflation is too low, maybe they'll say interest rates are shooting up too fast, weakness in Europe or China...
They'll look for some external factor to justify it.
If they would do the right thing, they'd slam on the breaks and start working out these problems.
But they have no interest in that. They will do anything that's politically expedient.
Barack Obama will make sure of it. He's not going to appoint anyone who will do a good job...
He'll appoint a lackey so they can keep their party going.
Tomorrow we'll bring you part two of our interview with Peter Schiff, which includes some startling revelations about what "QE Infinity" will do to the precious metals market. Plus Schiff offers a unique way to protect yourself and your wealth in a QE-addicted economy.
Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of several personal finance advisories, The Crow's Nest, and The Adventure Capitalist For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.
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