GLENN: Peter Schiff, not one of the most optimistic men I've ever met in my life. He has been a bull even when bulls weren't cool and now he's -- you know, now everybody seems to be turning into a bull -- I'm sorry, a bear, yeah. He was a bear when bears weren't cool. Peter, how are you, sir?
SCHIFF: I'm fine but, you know, I am optimistic on a lot of things. I'm just not optimistic on the U.S. economy or U.S. dollars in unlimited assets but there's a whole world out there that I am optimistic on.
GLENN: Give me something you're optimistic on.
SCHIFF: Well, I mean, you know, I'm optimistic on foreign economies, on foreign currencies, on precious metals, on commodities. You know, so I'm not negative on everything.
GLENN: How about the new Indiana Jones movie this summer? Is it going to be good?
SCHIFF: I have no clue. I haven't seen one of those movies in a long time. But probably, I mean, that's one thing America still does manage to make and export to the rest of the world. That's entertainment.
GLENN: We're not really that good at it anymore but that's a different story. So Peter, what is the mood, what is the mood down, you know, in the Wall Street area today?
SCHIFF: Well, these guys are still in denial on what's going on. Obviously there's some people at Bear Stearns that are not very happy to get $2 a share for their stock although, you know, the whole thing is ridiculous because, you know, $30 billion of this deal is being financed by the Federal Reserve which means Americans are going to have to foot the bill for this buyout even though J.P. Morgan, you know, gets the cream of the crop there. They get all the assets. It's American savers not only just Americans but people all around the world who are unfortunate enough to have U.S. dollars who are going to be stuck with this bill because we're paying for it with inflation. The Fed is debasing our money and the cost of living is going up as a result of these type of bailouts and it's going to continue to go up.
GLENN: So Peter, let me ask you this question because I'm seeing now in foreign press, I'm seeing now that the other countries, especially in Europe, are saying that we are intentionally debasing our money, that they think that we are, we're trying to devalue the dollar.
SCHIFF: Whether we're trying or not, the dollar is going to go down based on what we're doing. Obviously I made the analogy in my book, you know, Crash Proof that if you're a student and you don't study for your exams and you smoke pot and you skip class, you are probably not going to get good grades. Maybe you want A's but the fact that you are not studying and skipping class means you are going to get an F. Sure, we would like a strong currency, a strong currency is definitely in our national interest but as long as we keep having huge budget deficits, we are going to have a weak currency. There is no way around it.
GLENN: So what would you do? If you are the chairman of the Fed and, you know, everybody's looking at you saying you can't let these banking institutions fail, et cetera, et cetera.
SCHIFF: Why not. Because the cost of bailing them out is worse than letting them fail. For the politicians they don't want to admit they have been lying to us all these years. They want to create the U.S. economy as if we had a good economy. You know, sub crime wasn't just a problem that happened in a healthy economy. The sub prime was the pin that predicted the bubble. The problem was we had a bubble economy in the first place. It wasn't viable. You can't have an economy where everybody runs deficits, where we just import things that we didn't make and give the world an IOU. And we all live on a giant credit card. That can't end. That can't happen forever and, you know, it's finally come to an end and so rather than trying to recreate that bubble, rather than going deeper into debt and sending everybody, you know, checks and hoping that there's a stimulus package so they go out and spend more money, we need to address the fundamentals that got us into this mess. We need to return to a nation where people save money, not spend money. And where we actually produce stuff. But, you know, the transition back to a viable economy from a bubble economy cannot happen without a recession. It can't happen without a lot of people losing money. But the Fed doesn't want to fess up and politicians don't want to admit the mess that we're in. So they want to prepare that they can make it all better by printing money and they can't.
GLENN: What does the average Joe do?
SCHIFF: Well, the average Joe has to understand the mess we're in. Just like you had the heads of Bear Stearns on television last week saying, hey, there's no problem, everything is great, these rumors are false and next thing you know the stock falls through the floor. Well, it's the same thing with the entire U.S. economy. You get, you know, the big wigs, the Ben Bernanke and you get Henry Paulson going on all the Sunday morning shows ensuring us that the fundamentals are sound, that everything is great. They are just as fundamentally sound as Bear Stearns were. So people have to understand they are getting lied to by Wall Street, they are getting lied to by the government. Most of the financial shows out there that they think they are getting advice, they are not. They are getting Wall Street propaganda. So people have to take action. They have got to do what I wrote with my book, Crash Proof. People have to get rid of the U.S. dollar or get into other currencies like the Swiss franc or the Singapore dollar or the -- they have got to buy gold.
GLENN: Peter, I'm talking about the average person. I'm talking about the guy who is bustin' his butt, the family is living paycheck to paycheck.
SCHIFF: You want the average person who has no savings.
GLENN: I'm talking about, yeah, the average person in America that is just barely squeaking by. What do they do?
SCHIFF: You know, I don't know. It's going to be tough. I mean, maybe one thing they can do is stop making their mortgage payments because that's a waste of money and maybe they can do something constructive with that money. I mean, certainly people can start stockpiling things.
GLENN: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait, wait, I can't just have you say on national radio stop making your mortgage payments. What do you mean by that?
SCHIFF: You are throwing money down a rat hole. It's going to be tough for people that don't have any savings and they are working paycheck to paycheck. Certainly they can stockpile things. Things are going to get more expensive. So, you know, don't wait to buy, you know, your food items, things are nonperishable, fill up your cupboards. You can buy things like razor blades and shaving cream, things you know you are going to need because they are going to get more expensive.
GLENN: I don't think we also need to be recommending to people buying razor blades.
SCHIFF: Not to slit their wrists but just so they can shave. It's going to get tough. What it means to be American, our whole standard of living is going to decline because of years of living beyond our means. It should be no surprise that when you live on debt and eventually when the bills come due and you can't afford to pay them that you are going to have to reduce your standard of living. You know, a lot of Americans are going to have to find more viable forms of employment. There's going to be a lot of Americans who are retired right now who a couple of years from now are going to be looking for work because the savings they have are just not going to be adequate to afford the higher cost of living that we're all going to be stuck with.
GLENN: You have money in a 401(k). What should be the thing that you look to do with it?
SCHIFF: If you have money in one of those, you've got to immediately look at what your options are within that 401(k). Usually if you have a 401(k), there are various choices among your investments and usually they are in mutual funds. So you want to look at your choices. You want to own foreign funds. You want to own natural resource funds, precious metals funds, foreign bond funds. You want to get as far away from U.S. dollar-based investments as you can because that's where the brunt of this is going to be borne out, in a weaker dollar. And so if you have dollars, you don't want them, you want to get to stronger currencies. I've talked to some people who have said it makes sense to actually sometimes quit a job if you don't have good enough options. If you have a big enough 401(k), it might make sense to quit, roll it over into an IRA so you can take control of it and then maybe look for a different job because some people who have been working, you know, they are four or five years away from retirement, they don't want to watch that nest egg blow up because they left it in U.S. dollars because their employers didn't give them a good enough choice with where to invest their money.
GLENN: All right, Peter. We'll talk to you again. Thanks so much for the advice and checking in. We'll go to the phones here in just a second. If we also have time, I've got to play this audio, too, of the Planned Parenthood thing that is circling now on some television programs. You have to hear that. And Jeff Foxworthy is going to be with us on Friday for a full hour. Don't miss it. We'll give you all the details coming up.