April 20, 2009

Peter Schiff: Gold Report Interview (Part 2)

TGR: In your talks, you’ve said that printing money will cause massive inflation and the collapse of the U.S. dollar. Can you speak to that?

PS: People think you just create money and use it to spend. But when you create money you don’t create purchasing power. So, what happens is you have to pay more money; you create inflation. The way you get increased purchasing power is through increased production, and simply printing money doesn’t cause factories to appear. It doesn’t cause consumer goods to appear.

In order to have real increased consumption, we need to produce more, which means we need more savings and investment—and the government is discouraging that with its policy, not promoting it.

TGR: Will the government bailouts help increase production and ultimately purchasing power?

PS: No, no, the bailouts are destructive to the economy because the government is bailing out industries and companies that should be failing. They’re keeping nonproductive companies in business, which ultimately undermines the competitiveness and the productivity of our economy.

Bankruptcy is like when a body has an infection. It fights it off, and that’s what the free market is doing by trying to kill off noncompetitive companies. Bankruptcy is a positive force in an economy. Maybe it’s not positive for the entity going bankrupt, but it is positive for the economy as a whole because it’s purging from the body of the economy nonviable companies that are squandering our resources.
We need companies to fail so that more prosperous companies can succeed. By keeping certain businesses around, the government is preventing others from coming into existence that would have been more productive.

TGR: So, if the government would step back and let the free market systems work, how much sooner would they be able to make the turnaround, rather than having the government do it?

PS: We’re not going to turn around at all as a result of what the government is doing. We’d turn around a lot sooner if they would let free market systems work, but it wouldn’t be instantaneous. We’ve got to dismantle the phony economy before we can rebuild the viable economy. We’re going to have this transitionary pain. We have to get over all the damage that has already been done in response to the government and bad monetary fiscal policy. We had a bubble economy; we had an economy based on Americans spending money they didn’t have and buying products they couldn’t afford or that they didn’t make. We had an economy built on debt, consumer debt, and financial engineering, and our companies were generating profits from accounting rather than from production. And the whole thing was phony; the prosperity was phony. We need to address those problems, and get back on the road to economic viability.

TGR: Is this a U.S. phenomenon or is this worldwide?

PS: Well, it exists to lesser degrees in other countries, and certainly other countries are affected because they’re producing the goods that we’re consuming and they’re lending us the money to pay for it and, ultimately, we can’t pay them back. And so their economies are going to suffer as a result of all the wealth that has been squandered and all the resources that have been wasted on production for American consumers because we can’t afford to pay.

TGR: The government is printing money. What is going to be the impact of all that money coming into the economy?

PS: Well, it’s going to force up prices. Eventually real estate prices will start to rise, stock prices will start to rise; but Americans aren’t going to be richer because the cost of living is going to rise a lot faster. The price of food and the price of energy are going to rise much faster than the price of stocks or real estate.´

TGR: Do you see a pending collapse in the U.S. dollar?

PS: I do see a collapse in the dollar. The dollar is already been losing value, but I think it’s going to lose a lot more.

TGR: What should investors be looking at as a safe haven for the money that they have now?

PS: Well, they should be looking at the traditional safe havens like gold and silver; they should also be looking at other commodities and at investments outside the United States. There are a lot of opportunities around the world. There are a lot of stocks that are extremely inexpensive, in my opinion, particularly in the Asian markets and the natural resource space.
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