Schiff in 2016
|Born||Peter David Schiff|
March 23, 1963
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||stock broker, financial commentator, radio personality, author|
|Alma mater||Haas School of Business of UC Berkeley (B.S.)|
Peter David Schiff (//; born March 23, 1963) is an American stock broker, financial commentator, and radio personality. He is CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc., a broker-dealer based in Westport, Connecticut. He is also involved in various roles in other financial services companies, including Euro Pacific Asset Management, an independent investment advisor, Schiff Gold (formerly Euro Pacific Precious Metals), a precious metals dealer, and Euro Pacific Bank, a full-reserve bank.
Schiff was born to a middle-class Jewish family in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, Irwin, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, served in the US Army during World War II. Irwin was a prominent figure in the US tax protester movement. He died in federal prison in October 2015 while he was serving a sentence of at least 13 years for tax evasion.
His parents divorced when he was young, and he moved around the country with his mother and his brother, Andrew, from Connecticut to Manhattan to Florida and finally Southern California. He credits his father for introducing him to the Austrian School of economic thought.
In 1996, Schiff and a partner acquired an inactive brokerage firm, renamed it Euro Pacific Capital, and began operating it from a small office in Los Angeles, relocating the firm to Darien, Connecticut, in 2005, and later to Westport, Connecticut where it is currently headquartered, with branch offices across the US in Scottsdale, Arizona, Boca Raton, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, California, and New York City.
Economic and public policy views
Financial crisis forecast
In an August 2006 interview, Schiff said, "The United States is like the Titanic and I am here with the lifeboat trying to get people to leave the ship.... I see a real financial crisis coming for the United States." On December 31, 2006, in a telecast debate on Fox News, Schiff forecast that "what's going to happen in 2007 is that real estate prices," which had peaked in December 2005, "are going to come crashing back down to Earth."
In his 2007 book Crash Proof, Schiff wrote that US economic policies were fundamentally unsound. Since then, he has stated many times that without a change in US government economic policy, there will be hyperinflation and that the imbalance between the number of goods the US consumed and what it produced would eventually lead to problems for the US economy. As a remedy, he favored increased personal savings and production to stimulate economic growth. Schiff cited the US's low personal savings rate as one of the causes of its transformation from the world's largest creditor nation in the 1970s to the largest debtor nation in 2000. He attributed the low savings rate to what he asserts are high inflation and artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve.
In 2008 and 2010 appearances on Fox News and financial news network CNBC, Schiff mentioned factors such as speculation and "the absence of lending standards" as factors that had contributed to the housing crisis, which began in 2007.
On December 13, 2007, in an interview on the Bloomberg TV show "Open Exchange," Schiff added that he felt that the crisis would extend to the credit card lending industry, and he called consumer credit "a cancer on the free-market economy." Schiff said that interest rates would rise, that the dollar would "collapse," and that all classes of dollar-denominated assets would fall in value relative to non-US assets. He predicted "a huge crisis" and "the blow-up of credit card finance" in 2008, with the result that consumer credit card spending limits would be "slashed" by card issuers. He added that Americans would no longer be able to make purchases using their credit card lines. This prediction went unrealized. Referring to the housing market, Schiff went on to criticize the policy of the Bush administration to "vilify and threaten the lenders" for reckless borrowing.
In a March 2009 speech, Schiff said that it would be impossible for the US public debt to China to be repaid unless the US dollar's value is substantially diluted through inflation. In September 2009, with gold below $1,000 per ounce, Schiff said that he foresaw gold at over $5000 per ounce in the future, and that the stock market rally which began that year was a "rally in a bear market."
In March 2011, Schiff stated that a national sales tax should replace both personal and corporate income taxes, as he believes that the latter discourages work as opposed to a consumption tax. Schiff's second choice is a flat tax rate, which would abolish all deductions including the very popular home mortgage tax deduction, as Schiff believes that the state should not subsidize buying homes as opposed to renting.
In August 2012, Schiff criticized Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity by saying that it is "too little, too late." Referring to Ryan's plan to reform Medicare, Schiff said, "Why would we want to preserve it? It's a Ponzi scheme... What we really need is real Medicare cuts today for people who are already on the system."
Schiff's warnings of a coming economic collapse earned him the moniker "Dr. Doom", but later articles in Business Week and other business news journals reported that Schiff "more or less accurately" predicted the financial crisis of 2007–2010 while the "easiest criticism of macroeconomists is that nearly all failed to foresee the recession despite plenty of warning signs." A YouTube fan video, "Peter Schiff was right," became popular in late 2008 and 2009. It contained a compilation of his appearances on various financial TV news programs between 2005 and 2007.
Depending on the point at which they adopted his strategies, followers of Schiff may have had strong, average or poor returns. In January 2009, economic blogger and investment adviser Michael Shedlock wrote, "I have talked with many who claim they have invested with Schiff and are down anywhere from 40% to 70% in 2008." Later that week, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal reporting that Schiff's broker-dealer firm had "advised its clients to bet that the dollar would weaken significantly and that foreign stocks would outpace their U.S. peers" but the dollar later advanced against most currencies, "magnifying the losses from foreign stocks." In response to Shedlock's criticism, Schiff wrote that "to examine the effectiveness of my investment strategy immediately following a major correction by looking only at those accounts who adopted the strategy at the previous peak is unfair and distortive." In December 2012 Schiff wrote an article entitled "Mish Shedlock exposed" in which he criticized Shedlock for selective use of short-term data in the financial crisis and argued that his investment strategy had made strong returns over the long-run.
Schiff's views have been criticized several times by economist Paul Krugman, who defines inflation very differently from Schiff, focusing on CPI increases, rather than monetary and asset price inflation, which Schiff believes eventually lead to increases in consumer prices after an indefinite waiting period. In October 2010, Krugman wrote, "I keep being told that Peter Schiff has been right about everything; so, how's that hyperinflation thing going?" In December 2011, Krugman quoted Peter Schiff's statement from December 2009: "I know inflation is going to get worse in 2010. Whether it's going to run out of control or it's going to take until 2011 or 2012, but I know we're going to have a major currency crisis coming soon. It's going to dwarf the financial crisis and it's going to send consumer prices absolutely ballistic, as well as interest rates and unemployment." Krugman noted that inflation had instead remained low and concluded that Schiff's type of economic "model is all wrong" since it predicts that a tripling of the monetary base, such as had just occurred, must lead to "dire effects on the price level."
In January 2012, Schiff stated that a US debt crisis and high consumer price inflation had been delayed merely by government policy. In November 2012 and again in November 2014, Krugman repeated his criticisms of Schiff's predictions of eventual high consumer price inflation and rising interest rates in America.
In November 2008, Schiff said he supported the reduction of government economic regulation and was concerned that the Obama administration might instead increase such regulation. Schiff said that the late-2000s financial crisis provided an opportunity to transition from borrowing and spending to saving and producing. He was critical of the US government's efforts to "ease the pain" with economic stimulus packages and bailout, as he believes that replacing "legitimate savings with a printing press" would result in asset price inflation, eventual consumer price inflation, and if left unchecked, potentially hyperinflation.
For example, in 2009, Schiff predicted a "protracted period of economic decline accompanied by rapid increases in consumer prices." Schiff's critics pointed out that although asset price inflation has been significant, consumer price inflation rates remained very low in the five years that followed despite his predictions.
When the Fed ended the Quantitative Easing program in October 2014, the general opinion was the Fed would conduct multiple rate hikes in the year 2015. In contrast, Schiff predicted that the market could not withstand even a minor interest rate increase, thus the Fed announcing a higher rate would be very unlikely. However, he did open up the possibility of a few basis point rate hike but anticipated that it would have major impact on the equity market and would lead the US into recession, therefore the Fed would be forced to reverse its policy and resume the QE program.
2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign
Schiff was an economic adviser to Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign. In support of Paul's economic revitalization plan, Schiff said, "We need a plan that stimulates savings and production, not more of the reckless borrowing and consumption that got us into this mess in the first place. Ron Paul's plan is the only one that amounts to a step in the right direction. If you want meaningful change—for the better that is—Ron Paul is the only candidate capable of delivering it."
2010 US Senate campaign
In December 2008, some Connecticut citizens created a website encouraging Schiff to campaign against incumbent Senator Christopher Dodd. Approximately 5000 people made campaign contributions using the web site. On February 21, 2009, a moneybomb raised over $20,000 for Schiff's campaign.
In a May 2009 video blog, Schiff said that he was seriously considering a run for the Senate, and when questioned by a Washington Post reporter, he said the chance of him entering politics was "better than 50-50." In June 2009, Schiff commissioned a poll of likely voters which indicated that he trailed Dodd in popularity by only four percentage points. On July 9, 2009, Schiff launched an exploratory committee and an official campaign website.
In a campaign speech in Hamden, Connecticut, on December 3, 2009, Schiff said, "Unlike everybody else, I pretty much predicted everything that would happen in 2008 in specific and exact detail.... Somebody needs to be in Washington to prevent the next round of [government] stimulus from taking place, because that will be the end of it. That will be the toxin that completely destroys the economy."
After giving some hints on The Daily Show, Schiff officially announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on September 17, 2009, during the MSNBC Morning Joe show. By October 2009, Schiff had received more than 10,000 donations and many e-mails from around the world. Schiff's campaign received endorsements from Ron Paul and Steve Forbes.
At the May 2010 Republican convention, Linda McMahon received the most delegate votes but not enough to prevent an August primary election from Rob Simmons. Schiff failed to qualify for the primary at the convention but became the only Republican candidate to successfully petition on to the ballot. McMahon won the primary with 49% of the vote. Simmons came in second with 28% of the vote, and Schiff came in third with 23% of the vote.
Schiff did not endorse McMahon in the 2012 Republican primary but rather her opponent, former Representative Christopher Shays. Shays lost the primary to McMahon, who lost in the general election to Democrat Chris Murphy.
Prior to the financial crisis, Schiff frequently appeared on CNBC, Fox News and Bloomberg to voice his opinions on the US economy and financial markets. However, after the financial crisis, his bookings dropped by 75 to 85% on these networks.
Schiff is also a video blogger in the internet and distributes his media through YouTube, Euro Pacific Capital, and iTunes. He has appeared four times as a guest on Joe Rogan's YouTube series and podcast.
- Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse, February 2007, ISBN 978-0-470-04360-8
- The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets: How to Keep your Portfolio Up When the Market is Down, 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-38378-0
- Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse, 2nd Edition, September 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-47453-2
- The Little Book of Bull Moves, Updated and Expanded: How to Keep Your Portfolio Up When the Market Is Up, Down, Or Sideways, 2010, ISBN 0-470-64399-4 
- How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes, 2010, ISBN 978-0-470-52670-5 How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes | Wiley
- The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country, 2012, ISBN 978-1-250-00447-5 
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