When the real estate bubble popped, it not only triggered a recession and a U.S. stock market crash, but it also endangered the entire global financial system, toppling Wall Street investment banks, generating millions of foreclosures, crippling the world’s largest economy and sending America into the Great Recession of 2008.
But the real crash, according to Peter D. Schiff, is yet to come.
In his new book, “The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy — How to Save Yourself and Your Country” (St. Martin’s Press, 2012), investment broker Schiff warns that the U.S. is dangerously close to running out of capital, and he feels bankruptcy is the only way for it to get out of debt and rid itself of an unmanageable debt burden.
“The U.S.A. is insolvent,” writes Schiff, referring to America’s national debt of $17 trillion, “and should enter the sovereign equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”
Schiff claims that the policies of both the Bush and Obama administrations, and the Ben Bernanke led Federal Reserve, have vastly raised the chances of a catastrophic U.S. sovereign debt crisis and currency bubble. Schiff's prescription for America: “We need to stop bailouts, government spending, government borrowing and Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates and debasement of the dollar.”
The book covers many threads, including the housing market collapse. On housing and the foreclosure crisis Schiff writes:
“Liberal politicians and journalists have chastised Obama for not “doing more about foreclosures” or trying to “keep people in their homes.” Obama, in fact, has rolled out a handful of programs aimed at keeping people in their homes — pushing banks to write down principal or refinance underwater homeowners. Always pitched as pro-homeowner, these policies are basically bank subsides.”
But the book also explores how the federal government’s “cure” of massive bailouts — of Wall Street, the automotive industry and AIG — were worse than the disease. He claims heavy-handed government intrusion into the economy will lead to a new crisis, this time far more disruptive than the Great Recession of 2008.
Focusing primarily of American debt, and the out-of-control Washington spending, Schiff offers a controversial set of remedies for the economic crash he believes is on the horizon. He argues that the next U.S. president will preside over a cascade of economic blows that will make the financial crisis of 2008 pale in comparison.
He concludes with investment suggestions for the coming decline. Readers who enjoy apocalyptic prophecies will find Schiff’s dire views entertaining; Keynesian skeptics and other interventionists will rankle at his draconian policy prescriptions.
But Schiff has had some success in predicting economic and financial collapse. In a 2007 book, “Crash Proof,” which predicted the real estate collapse of 2008, Schiff (and others like economist Nouriel Roubini) warned of the dangers ahead, but the financial and real estate press mocked, derided and ignored his foresight.
Could we be headed for another housing crash — or worse? Read “The Real Crash” and draw your own conclusions.