Peter Schiff gets a lot of credit these days for going on television and predicting the banking collapse of the current recession, even though some other economists missed it. Through his television appearances, Schiff earned the nickname "Dr. Doom" because of his dire predictions.
So, is Schiff the brilliant prognosticator of the future? Not necessarily. Lots of other people saw the current economic crisis coming, especially the housing bubble, they just lacked the desire or the personality to go on television. Yes, some of Schiff's predictions came true, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Before you sell all your belongings and follow Schiff, there are a few things you might want to consider:
He's one tin-foil hat away from being a full blown survivalist, yet he graduated from Berkley. Like Stan Lee says "nuff said".
His father is currently in prison for income tax evasion, not because he's a crook, but because he's a tax protester.
Many of Sciff's investment clients took a beating in 2008. It turns out, hiding your money in Singapore wasn't such a good idea after all.
Sciff follows the Austrian school of economics, or as I like to call it, the "Mad Max" school of economics, whose main tenets are that human beings are too evil and too stupid to ever govern effectively, so the only solution is the thunderdome of absolute laissez-faire.
"Dr. Doom" is a financial adviser for "Dr No." Schiff works for Ron Paul. Birds of a feather flock together, especially when they're both radical libertarians who want to bring down the government.
He was wrong about the dollar and wrong about gold and on his radio show Jan 14, 2009, he said Americans should stock up on guns and ammunition to fight off the wandering hordes of the coming apocalypse. That's just great radio...If you're Art Bell!
Schiff was right that Americans didn't save enough and spent too much on consumer crap made in Asia. Duh! You didn't have to go to Berkley to know that. This has been a known criticism of the American economy far and wide for forty years.
A bear market doesn't make survivalists suddenly brilliant and "right" any more than a bull market means you should invest in rose-colored glasses. A little faith in each other tempered with some common sense will carry you pretty far in this old world. In the mean time, try and avoid the people trying to grab your attention at either end of the pendulum. They're not necessarily all that bright or right.