Economics

Peter Schiff: GDP, Markets, Dollar, and Financial Regulations

In his latest economics video blog, Peter Schiff discusses the turnaround in the views of Alan Greenspan, who appears to be returning to his Randian roots by promoting cuts in government spending, despite having personally blown up one of the biggest financial bubbles of all time, when he was in power himself as the former Wizard of Oz at the Federal Reserve.

It would seem that Lord Acton is still correct after all of these years:

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Lord Acton, Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887

Now that Mr Greenspan has laid down the emerald baton of power at the Federal Reserve, it would appear that his thoughts are becoming unclouded again.

I don’t see him becoming a Randian pirate, quite yet, and personally raiding Fort Knox to hand back what’s left of its gold bar supply to the American people, but it is still good to see that The Undertaker is starting to disavow the use of the printing press as a cornucopia of endless bliss.

Schiff also discusses the US government’s new plans on financial regulation and how these plans would have done nothing to prevent the crash in 2008, even if these regulations had been instituted five years ago. Schiff thinks that the new regulations are merely smoke and mirrors to deflect the blame for this ongoing crash from sticking to the government; instead of introducing central planning impositions on how banks should charge their customers, to save a few customer account pennies, Schiff wants governments to introduce massive tax cuts to benefit taxpayers in a much more visceral and straightforward way:

Economics

Peter Schiff: Wall Street Unspun, 23rd of June

The small but determined worldwide movement to reform global monetary policies, based upon Austrian School economics, took a blip upwards last week when Peter Schiff announced on his radio programme that he is now officially a candidate on the ballot for election as the Republican party candidate for the US Senate. This ballot will take place on August the 10th against fellow Republican, Linda McMahon; if Schiff wins that intra-party vote, he will then be up against the Democrat’s candidate, Richard Blumenthal, on November the 2nd, in a general election for the US Senate.

After collecting 13,000 signatures, Schiff reported that approximately 1,000 of these signatures failed to reach various Republican party offices due to difficulties associated with unusual office opening hours and other shenanigans. Of those signatures that did make it, 30% were then disqualified for various complicated or even inexplicable reasons. However, Schiff still made the cutoff point by 400 votes, despite all the best efforts of the establishment to stop him, as the only candidate who has ever got himself onto a Connecticut party ballot via a petition; this was required after a successful backstairs campaign by the extremely wealthy wrestling promoter Linda McMahon, at the recent Connecticut Republican party convention, which managed to get Schiff initially excluded from the August vote.

These establishment Republicans in Connecticut must really dislike Peter Schiff now; he just refuses to lie down on the McMahon wrestling mat and die like it says in the script! If you’re interested, you can hear all the details yourself on Mr Schiff’s latest hour-long radio show:

On the show, Peter also announced that Euro Pacific Precious Metals is open for business (http://www.europacmetals.com/), to help bring a healthy gale of competition into the US retail bullion market. I’m unclear as to whether this new company will be supplying Europeans with gold and silver bullion bars and coins, however any North American readers of the Cobden Centre may want to check the company out to see if Schiff can offer them better deals than their current physical metal suppliers.

In his usual fifteen-minute monologue, Schiff spoke about Alan Greenspan’s refusal to take culpability for inflicting inflation and mass money printing onto the United States; he also pointed out to Paul Krugman that if debt grew an economy then the Greek economy would be the envy of the world; he then made the point that eastern european communist governments had maximum government stimulus for decades, just like Krugman is insisting upon for western european governments, but the only real growth that occurred in eastern europe was when all these communist governments collapsed in the 1990s. (This reminded me of a pair of Doug Casey allegories in which the head of Casey Research likened the Dark Ages to a centuries-long depression and the seventy years of soviet rule in Russia as a seventy year depression.)

In the subsequent Q&A session with his callers, Schiff then tackled questions on; (1) Silver investments versus gold; (2) Emigration and expatriation away from the United States and towards South America, in which Schiff also spoke about the removal last week of the Australian prime minister who proposed a super-tax on mining; (3) The US government’s handling of the gulf oil spill, in which Schiff feared that Washington may benefit from its own incompetence, such as its regulation to limit financial damages to deep-drilling companies, and take the opportunity to pass further damaging laws to drive oil prices much higher; (4) The state-run nature of China and how this runs against the grain of free-market economics, where Schiff argued that despite its socialist faults, there is more capitalism going on in China than there is in America and more freedom in China than in America.

When pressed on a possible Chinese property bubble, Schiff stated that although he didn’t agree with the interference, the Chinese communist government insists that you put 40% cash down on your first property before borrowing the rest and also insists that you put down at least 50% cash on all other subsequent properties, without guaranteeing any mortgages you take out; Schiff is therefore sceptical about the much-debated general Chinese property ‘bubble’.

Schiff also added that although Chinese property may be shooting up in terms of dollars and the partially-peg-linked Chinese renminbi, it is not going up in terms of gold.

(5) Schiff then spoke about inflation in Canada and predicted that it will be lower in Canada than in the US, but that Canadian property prices have risen too high against gold so will need to come back (which is something Doug Casey is also strong on, particularly in the Vancouver region). Schiff also claimed that Canada will become a primary destination for American refugees dodging future US inflation, taxes, and regulations.

(6) Schiff was asked why he thought Germany had done well despite having more employment regulations than the United States. He replied that before the ECB it had possessed a strong independent central bank which kept deficit spending and inflation in check, and promoted high savings. He claimed Germany’s record would have been even better with less socialism, but as a net creditor nation, Germany was still much better off than the United States, which is a net debtor nation.

Further questions discussed the nature of why a recession is necessary to cleanse out the malinvestments of the preceding spending boom phase and how the US government is turning a hard necessary recession into a much worse inflationary and completely unnecessary depression.

All in all, a thoroughly informative radio programme.

Let us hope that the David of Peter Schiff can put aside the Goliaths of Linda McMahon and Richard Blumenthal and get that seat in the US Senate. If he does this remarkable thing, the other 99 senators may then pretend that they are unable to hear him, but however hard they shove their fingers into their ears, I am sure he will be giving it to them good and hard just the same, especially on the question of monetary policy reform.

Economics

Greg Mankiw Ponders Greenspan’s Paper the Crisis and Considers 100% Reserves

We are grateful to Robert Arbon for pointing out this article on Greg Mankiw’s Blog:

I just returned from the spring meeting of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, where I was a discussant for Alan Greenspan’s new paper on “The Crisis,” which has gotten a bit of media attention. I thought blog readers might enjoy reading my comments on the paper. Here they are:

This is a great paper. It presents one of the best comprehensive narratives about what went wrong over the past several years that I have read. If you want to assign your students only one paper to read about the recent financial crisis, this would be a good choice.

There are, however, particular pieces of the analysis about which I am skeptical. But before I get to that, let me begin by emphasizing several important points of agreement.

To begin with, Alan refers to recent events in the housing market as a “classic euphoric bubble.” He is certainly right that asset markets can depart from apparent fundamentals in ways that are often hard to understand. This has happened before, and it will happen again. When the bubble bursts, the aftershocks are never pleasant.

Read more.