Peter Schiff: The next crisis looms

Peter Schiff is not short on self-confidence. “I don’t think I’ve been wrong on anything,” he said in early 2009.

Schiff, 50, has built his libertarian, purist free-market approach to the crisis and its aftermath “into a formidable one-man brand”, says Kirk Shinkle on Money.usnews.com, including two books, and his money-management business Euro Pacific Capital.

In 2006, he warned that the debt-induced party would end badly, with the housing bubble bursting and a global recession following.

Schiff was so confident that properties were overpriced that he rented until the age of 46, says Isaac Arnsdorf on Bloomberg.com. But all that was just the warm-up act to the “real crisis”, he reckons.

The relentless rise in US government debt, along with endless money-printing by the Federal Reserve, risks a massive loss of confidence in the dollar by foreign investors, notably the Chinese, who are propping up the American currency.

It could well be foreign investors who call a halt to the relentless debasement of the dollar through quantitative easing, he says. The final straw may be when they realise that the Fed, far from preparing to taper, will end up printing even faster as the underlying economy is so shaky.

With the dollar tanking and all this printed money being injected into the economy, investors should hold gold, which could be at $2,000 within a year. Schiff would be “amazed” if gold hasn’t skyrocketed and the dollar collapsed before 2017.

Schiff has, however, incurred criticism for sounding like a stopped clock. While he was right on the housing bubble, he has also been talking about the danger of a dollar collapse and hyperinflation since the late 2000s.

Eventually, however, the world is going to twig that America is broke, he insisted last year. “I’ve gotten enough right that people can give me the benefit of the doubt.”