GLENN: Putting the radio back into Radio City, from Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, this is the third most listened to show in all of America. Let me go right to Peter Schiff here because I want to talk to him about -- well, you know what? Let me start with this. I have to tell you something. I told you now for a while, I've told you since August specifically that nobody's telling you the truth on the economy and I told you that we had a very, very delegate financial system and that nobody really knew the extent of the problem because everything has changed. The rules have changed. And I said if we have any significant downward pressure on this, this whole thing could collapse. Well, I think you can see how delicate our financial system is and how close we came to collapse and, you know, collapse may still happen. It may not. We may be past it. I don't think we are. I just think there's just too many things, there are too many things going on. But there's a lot of stuff in the news that I don't even begin to understand and there are several questions, and I thought Peter Schiff could come on and kind of answer some of these questions for me.
Hi, Peter, how are you?
SCHIFF: I'm well, how are you, Glenn?
GLENN: I'm good. I hate to just hit you out of the blue with some things that, you know, you don't have any idea what I'm going to ask you and, you know, it's not a quiz but I thought you might be able to be the guy who could help me on this. There's a story today in The Wall Street Journal, Fed weighs its options in easing crunch. Did you see this?
SCHIFF: I listened to that, I think it was -- yeah, I did read the article, as a matter of fact. I have it on my desk right now. Greg Ip's piece?
GLENN: I don't even know what some of these things are. I can't even figure out what their options are.
SCHIFF: It's really easy. It boils down to one word. Inflation. That's what they are contemplating, printing money and buying up mortgages. You know, we talk about, you know, the economic collapse. Our economy has to collapse because it was phony. At one time we had all these Internet companies that were in business but they were losing money. Eventually they all collapsed because they weren't viable. The same thing goes with our economy. It's not that there was a problem in sub prime. We had a bubble and subprime was the pin that predicted it but the problem is that our economy is phony because it's based on consumption. It's based on borrowing. It's based on Americans borrowing trillions of dollars from abroad and doing nothing with the money but spending it on consumer goods. And now we're up to our eyeballs in debt. We can't pay it back. We have these phony asset prices, home prices that people used for collateral for these loans. They are collapsing in value and there's nothing the Government can do to stop it and they should stop trying. They have to let it happen.
GLENN: So let me just go -- it's always like a day of sunshine and a walk on the beach when we talk. Go over a couple of these things. The Fed and treasury have discussed that the most likely option is for the treasury -- this one kills me if I understand it right. The treasury will issue more debt than it needs to fund government operations and the extra cash would be left undeposited at the Fed. So basically what we're saying is we'll go over to China, borrow more money than we need for the national debt and then leave it with a private entity, the Fed?
SCHIFF: We're not going to leave that money. We're going to spend that money in circulation. The Fed's going to buy up mortgages. That's what they are trying to do. They are trying to prevent money on people who used real estate collateral from going broke. Why? We used to criticize the Chinese with phony capitalism. We used to say the duty of our economy is we let free markets work, we let people work, we let people pay for their mistakes. What happened to that? Why does the Government have to bail everybody out? Why can't we let people who make bad loans lose money?
GLENN: Okay. So the argument would be on that, "Well, you can't do that because if these, if these groups collapse -- I mean, here, I've got a couple of stories right here. Citigroup Wells Fargo may loan less after downgrades. I've got another one that the IMF now is saying -- the IMF says financial losses may swell to almost $1 trillion. It was $200 billion. Then it was $400, then it was $600. Now they are saying $1 trillion in losses.
SCHIFF: But those are real losses. The Government can't prevent them. All the Government can do is turn them into inflation. So they can say, look, we won't let you lose money. We'll let you get your money back but when you get it back, it's going to lose value. The Government can't do anything. Yes, it's going to be terrible. We're in for one hell of a recession. But you know what? That's the price we have to pay. We're in this mess because in 2001 and 2002 the government tried to help. They didn't want to allow the recession that would normally result in the bursting of the NASDAQ bubble which the Fed also created. So in terms of trying to save us, in trying to prevent us to live through a recession, we blew up this housing bubble. We encouraged trillions of dollars of reckless lending and now we have to pay the price for that. We can't afford to pay the price of another government bailout. It's just too expensive.
GLENN: Okay. But the other idea is that it's too expensive not to do it. That's the argument I always hear.
GLENN: It's too expensive. You can't let these giant groups fail because then the whole system goes into failure.
SCHIFF: So the result -- so the alternative is we kill the value of our money? I mean, if the Fed does what they are contemplating, we're going to have hyperinflation in this country. The dollar is not going to lose just some value. It's going to lose most of its value and it might even lose all of its value. And believe me, the type of chaos that that's going to unleash, much worse than allowing some people on Wall Street to go broke. And you know what? If it means that Americans can't borrow money anymore to buy television sets or to buy cars, fine. They shouldn't be borrowing money to do that in the first place. We should not be lending people money to consume. People should -- businesses should borrow money to invest, to produce. If you want to consume something, you can save up until you can afford it.
GLENN: So Peter, why is the price of gold then kind of just going up and down but pretty much hanging out around where it is if --
SCHIFF: Well, I don't know. I mean, gold's up 10 bucks today, silver's up 60 cents. Gold's at $920 an ounce. Of course, gold prices have already tripled, at a time when stocks have actually gone flat and the NASDAQ has gone up in value. So we've already seen a pretty big move in gold but this is just the beginning. I don't know when gold goes (inaudible), it will go through $2,000, it will go through $3,000. I don't know exactly the dates that it's going to happen but, you know, markets don't move all at once. But believe me one of these days gold's just going to explode. I think it might happen in conjunction with a big drop in the value of the dollar when Asian countries and China and other gulf region countries really depeg from the dollars. Read the stories. Inflation is going throughout the world. You have the highest rates of inflation. People are rioting in the streets and the reason there's so much inflation us because he have been is printing money to prevent the dollar from going down. The supply is going the most rapid pace in history. Everybody is printing and it's all because of the Fed. Everybody's looking at the dollar as reserve current is I and it is wreaking monetary havoc around the world. Eventually the world is going to revolt, they are going to debunk the dollar, they are going to stop the inflation and the dollar's going to fall through the floor.
GLENN: This is so frustrating because your phone keeps cutting out. Let me go over that again. Wait a minute. Why do people -- why are other countries printing more currency? How does that help the dollar?
SCHIFF: Well, here's what happens. We won these huge trade deficits, about $60 billion a month. So Americans pay $60 billion and spend them abroad to buy products. When the companies that make those products get those dollars, you know, there's nothing to do with them. We don't have any products that they want to buy. So they end up, the central banks buy all those dollars from exporters and they buy those dollars by printing their own currency. So because we send all these unneeded dollars out, you know, abroad, foreign governments have to print them up. And they are doing that. Otherwise the dollar would sink. And what they're trying to do is protect the export market into the United States. Nobody wants their currency to be too strong against the dollar. So they keep intervening and buying up all these dollars. That's where all these funds have come from. The reason these countries have trillions is because of all the currency intervention and now these dollars, they are trying to think of something to do with these dollars other than recycle them back to us by buying our treasuries and buying our mortgage-backed securities. But they're going to stop doing that. They have to. They can't keep, you know, causing their own people to suffer. They can't keep transferring purchasing power to America and asking their own citizens to suffer. Because the rest of the world is actually being productive. They are producing things. You know, why shouldn't they get to consume what they produce. Why should Americans be extended that privilege at the expense of everybody else? So I think it's coming to a point where the world's going to pull the plug. And then we're going to be in serious trouble because when we can't borrow from the Chinese and the Saudis, who are we going to borrow from? Americans don't have any money. And we have to --
GLENN: Go ahead.
SCHIFF: If we have to buy products that we're going to produce, what are we going to buy? What's going to be on the shelves at Wal-Mart if it's not product coming in from China?
GLENN: What is the thing that you think will be the catalyst? What are the precursors of unpegging from the dollar? I know yesterday Iran said to the gulf region, unpeg from the dollar. Right now unpeg from the dollar. And there's real pressure from Iran to try to get everybody else to unpeg from the dollar. But I don't think that's going to happen. What are the precursors that you will see in the market that will say --
SCHIFF: I think we're already seeing them. I mean, I think that's already happening. You've got former Fed chief Paul Volcker quoted we're already in a dollar crisis. So I think the crisis has already begun and the fact that inflation is running so high and countries like China are imposing wage to price controls which we know won't work. You know, it already has reached a tipping point and the more, you know, the Fed continues to monetize this whole mess, and basically what the government is trying to say is we need to have like a resolution trust for this problem but we don't want to raise taxes. We want to finance this through inflation. We want to debase the value of the dollar. And so when people around the world realize that they are going to be the scapegoats, they are going to be the ones left holding the dog and asked to suffer trillions of dollars of loss of purchasing power because the government's trying to socialize these losses in the dollar, they are going to have to run from it. They are going to have to realize we no longer have a real viable economy with a sound currency. You know, we're running the same type of monetary policy as Zimbabwe and now it takes 50 million Zimbabwe dollars to buy one dollar. The world's figuring this out.
GLENN: Peter, I read something and you'll have to excuse my ignorance on this because, you know, I'm not like you. You know this stuff. I'm just trying to figure it out as a regular Schmo. And I read something. It was like 2:00 in the morning last week and I haven't had a chance to do more research on it but it's our -- to me it is the explanation of, I've been wondering. You know, I talk to smart people and I say action wait a minute, if I can figure this out and I'm a recovering alcoholic deejay, I mean, certainly these guys can. So what is it? You know, is it intentional? Are they just stupid? What is it? And I believe it's arrogance. Explain, if I'm right, the policy that the Government has is something that, what is it, the WS2 or something like that policy which is -- what is it, Stu? BW2, which is Bretton Woods 2 which is basically the world needs us; we can borrow; it doesn't matter how much we'll borrow because the world will never disconnect from the world's consumers.
SCHIFF: Yeah. I mean, that is the height of arrogance and basic misunderstanding of economics thinking that the world needs us because we consume and we borrow. We've got it backwards. We need the world because they produce and save. You know, we're not doing the world a favor. They're supporting us. You know, they can succeed very well without Americans. They can consume their own goods. I mean, consumption is the fun part. The hard part is to actually make stuff and produce and to sacrifice and save. That's what the rest of the world is doing. They are buying it for free. The sooner they realize that, I use the analogy Tom Sawyer. We convince the world to paint their fence. Meanwhile their own fences are running out because they are using all their energy to paint ours. But eventually they are going to look around and realize that, you know, they have got their own fences to paint and we're going to be stuck. It's going to happen but, you know, Washington politicians have a vested interest in sunny news. This he want to pretend that they can help out. I mean, that's what all these new hearings are. They want to prevent the problems on Wall Street from spilling over into Main Street. Well, that's impossible. That's the very reason that Wall Street has problems is because it's Main Street that can't afford to make their mortgage payment. They are the ones that are leveraged up over their hilt for years and years of reckless borrowing and consumption. The bills have come due and can't afford to pay it. But politicians don't want to tell the public they are going to have to suffer. They want to pretend they can make all the problem go away and they can't. Now, why Wall Street can't figure it out, I mean, sure, they have got a vested interest and they sell more stocks and bonds when people are optimistic than when they're pessimistic but it's the simple stuff. I mean, a lot of people can figure it out. I mean, my book, people have read my book. It's basic. All this stuff that people are saying came out of left field, I mean, I laid it out, you know, in "Crash Proof" two years ago and it's happening exactly the way I said. Yet, you know, they are having hearings right now in congress about what the Government should or should not do. Do you think they would invite me? No.
GLENN: No. Peter, one last thing. I just need -- this just doesn't seem right to me but maybe it is just what it is on the surface. The IMF has approved eventual sale of more than 400 tons of gold. They are trying to sell -- that's about $11 billion worth of gold and they are saying, well, they are just doing it because now gold is at such a high, et cetera, et cetera. I got a couple of questions. A, do you believe that, that that's why they're selling all this gold. B, if what you say is true, why would they sell the gold; it will be worth more. And C, why does the IMF even have 400 tons of gold?
SCHIFF: Well, I think they have the gold, you know, they get involved in various economies that are in trouble and they want to be able to extend aid and they need gold to be able to do that and I think it backs -- they have these special (inaudible) that are backed by gold.
GLENN: But they use your money or other countries' money. It's not like their own money needs to be backed.
SCHIFF: No, they issue what are called special drawing rights which is like currency and they have to have some backing behind it and it's gold. I mean, all central banks, central banks have gold. Gold is real money. Paper is just a money substitute. But, you know, they are doing the exact wrong thing. I mean, the IMF just stated now that we've got a trillion dollar losses coming and there's a serious recession. When six months ago the IMF was saying that the sub prime was contained and it wasn't even a big deal. But given that, no, they should be buying gold. In fact, I'm sure the Chinese are licking their chops waiting to get their hands on this IMF gold. They are going to buy it up as soon as it hits the market. Central banks sold half their gold under $300 an ounce. I bet they wish they had that gold back.
GLENN: Right. Best thing we can do is buy the gold, right?
SCHIFF: Well, good. I mean, anybody should buy it. It's going up. It holds its value. In an inflationary time period, when the Fed has basically told you they are going to plug the dollar into oblivion, Ben Bernanke already testified that he doesn't think American citizens lose when the dollar goes down. He says it's no big deal what the dollar is worth. This is crazy. This guy's a lunatic.
GLENN: All right.
SCHIFF: So people have to realize that money's going to lose value and gold won't, or paper money, and gold will retain its value and people are going to buy, foreign central banks are going to buy it.
GLENN: The name of the book is Crash Proof.
SCHIFF: You bet. Bye-bye.