Former Official Admits Fed “Engineered” Phony Wealth Effect (Audio)
Nobody really seemed to pay a whole lot of attention to the bombshell dropped by the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, but Peter Schiff picked up on it.
Richard Fisher essentially admitted that the Fed manufactured the stock market recovery. Peter talked about it on his podcast.
[He]was on CNBC yesterday. I can’t believe some of the things he actually said. But he admitted that he and his buddies at the Federal Reserve engineered – and that was his word, ‘engineered’ – a stock market recovery rally. That they front-loaded a bull market. He said this. He said the Federal Reserve did it deliberately to create a wealth effect. Yes, they wanted to create all this phony wealth based on an artificially pumped up stock market. They wanted all this phony wealth to cause us to make stupid, irrational, reckless decisions.”
In episode 129 of his podcast, Peter went on to talk about the ramifications of the Fed’s actions, and took an in-depth look at the numbers, revealing a fundamentally weak economy. He also continued to make the case that the Fed won’t be able to maintain the rate hikes, but will ultimately go back to zero and launch more quantitative easing.
Follow along with the complete transcript.
Well, the Dow Jones got clobbered again today, down 252 points at the close. But that’s about 100 points above the intra-day low. The NASDAQ – again down about 55. I did see it down over 80 earlier in the day. The transports continue to get clobbered, down another 146 points. That went down, what, maybe about 21%, 22% – decisively in bear market territory.
But CNBC, from the moment I woke up, was blaming the entire decline on North Korea’s potentially having tested a hydrogen bomb. Now, I admit that the prospect of the North Koreans having a hydrogen bomb is not a good one, but I don’t believe that news announcement had anything to do with today’s decline. I mean, I think the market would’ve declined anyway, even if North Korea had not tested that bomb. They would’ve blamed it on something else. But the real problem is the Fed taking away the monetary heroin from all the addicts on Wall Street, and this is the withdrawal.
There was a Fed official – former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher – [he] was on CNBC yesterday. I can’t believe some of the things he actually said. But he admitted that he and his buddies at the Federal Reserve engineered – and that was his word, “engineered” – a stock market recovery rally. That they front-loaded a bull market. He said this. He said the Federal Reserve did it deliberately to create a wealth effect. Yes, they wanted to create all this phony wealth based on an artificially pumped up stock market. They wanted all this phony wealth to cause us to make stupid, irrational, reckless decisions. Because that’s what happens when you create phony wealth. That’s what happened during the dot-com bubble. It happened to a greater extent during the housing bubble. That was the prior wealth effects that the Fed created.
Here you have it from the words of a former Fed president, a voting member who voted for QE1 and 2, who’s saying that the Fed did this to create a wealth effect. Well, what does that do? It’s phony wealth. As a result of that, we do all sorts of things that we shouldn’t do, and that we wouldn’t have done had we not been operating under the delusion that all this phony wealth was legitimate. What’s happening now is we’re waking up from this Fed-induced high. The stimulant is just starting to wear off. Even though there’s still plenty of it, there’s not enough, because they got us used to an enormous dose. Now they’ve reduced the dosage and it’s not enough. The high is wearing off.
He even said, “Hey, what do you expect?” He goes, “Don’t be surprised if the market goes down 20%.” He said, “It’s still overvalued,” and he admits that the Fed was propping it up. So, obviously, if the Fed is removing the props, the market is going to go down. But normally, the Fed officials don’t speak this candidly about their role in creating the problem. Although, he still didn’t quite admit it.
But then, Simon Hobbs, who is on CNBC, he was the guy interviewing him. He was kind of startled by what he was hearing. He basically said, “Hey. Well, wait a minute. Are you going to apologize for this? I mean, if the stock market comes down, are you going to apologize for over-stimulating?” This is what he said. I’m not making this up. You should go watch the whole video. It’s up on YouTube. I favorited it on my YouTube channel. I linked it on my Facebook page. But this is what the guy said, and nobody is really talking about it but me. I mean, even on CNBC where they actually interviewed the guy, they didn’t talk about it.
That’s why you’ve got to listen to my podcast, because I get into things that nobody else picks up. But this is what he said. After Simon Hobbs said, “Are you going to apologize for what you did,” he said, “Well, don’t blame me. I voted against QE3.” Then, he went on. So, in other words, he said, “I don’t have to apologize, because I voted against QE3.” In other words, he is throwing all of his former colleagues under the bus. Because by saying, “Don’t blame me. I voted against QE3,” what he’s saying is, “You can blame everybody who voted for it,” which would include Janet Yellen.
Now, of course, he said, “Look. I voted for QE1 and 2.” But if we didn’t have QE1 and 2, there wouldn’t have been a QE3. So I don’t care that he voted against QE3. The fact that he supported the first two makes him culpable. I also think it’s very interesting that now that he’s no longer there, he’s no longer at the Fed, now he’s talking about all the bad things the Fed did. In fact, he referred to the Fed as a giant weapon that is now out of ammunition. Well, unfortunately, he was using that weapon. He was wielding the weapon. But it isn’t out of ammunition. I don’t know what he’s talking about. They’ve got all the ammunition they’ve always had. What’s their ammo? Cut rates.
Well, they can cut them, because now they’ve raised them. They’re above zero. Of course, they can go below zero. Janet Yellen has already talked about the fact that, “Well, they’re studying negative rates.” Well, that means they’re going to do it.
Of course, they’re not doing QE right now. They can ramp it back up again. That’s their big bazooka, QE4. So what is Fisher saying, they’re out of ammunition? I mean, if they’re out of ammunition now, they never had any ammunition. But again, it’s not real ammunition. It’s just ammunition that does damage. It’s a weapon of destruction. It’s not a weapon of creation. The Fed doesn’t have any way to create. But it sure does have a way to destroy and in that respect, Fisher is right. But he’s wrong to say they’re out of ammo. There’s plenty of ammo left and there’s plenty of destruction left, because that weapon is going to be fired and it’s going to fired big, and it’s going to be fired a lot sooner than people think.
But this is why the market is going down. It’s not because of North Korea. In fact, again, every once in a while Joe Kernen is there on CNBC. He’s talking to Steve Liesman, and again he says, “The market’s going down.” He says to Steve Liesman, “You know, if the market keeps going down I’m going to have to call you out and your buddies at the Fed. Maybe it didn’t work. Ben Bernanke wrote a book, and everybody’s been doing victory laps and going on tours claiming a credit for this whole thing. If this market tanks now, I’m going to hold you guys responsible.” Then, Steve Liesman says, “Oh, like the Fed is responsible for North Korea testing a hydrogen bomb.” Like saying, “Oh, again, it’s all because of North Korea,” forgetting about the fact that the market was down earlier in the week. We had a big drop on Monday.
I mean, North Korea didn’t test any bombs on Monday. The only bomb that went off was just the bomb on Wall Street. We got earnings bombs going off. That’s what’s going on. But Steven Liesman is trying to wiggle out of this by saying, “Well, it’s not the Fed’s fault because they didn’t know that North Korea was going to test a bomb.” Are they going to use that as a reason to cut interest rates? “Hey, everything was great. We were raising rates. We were getting ready to end QE. But now we’ve got to lower rates now, because now that North Korea has tested a hydrogen bomb, that’s a game changer.” I mean, these guys, all they’re doing is making excuses.
Except now, you’ve got Richard Fisher that’s kind of letting the cat out of the bag. I mean, I wonder if he’s getting an earful from his colleagues, especially since, again, he threw them under the bus. But nobody in the media is talking about that fact.
Now, also in the markets today, while stocks were going down, gold was going up. Gold was up about, what, $16, $17. Gold hit a two-month high today. Of course, as fast as it’s going up in dollars, it’s going up even faster in other currencies. Like the Canadian dollar, which hit a new, what, nine-year low today, the Australian dollar. Of course, the yen was up. In fact, the dollar/yen is really breaking down. To me, that is a very scary proposition for the markets to see this strength coming in the Japanese yen. Oil prices continue to drop, down about another $2 today. We’re trading now below 34. We’re trading in the 33s. Gold stocks were up. But you’d think that gold stocks would be up a lot more considering the fact that the cost for these mining companies is really plunging because their labor costs are going down, because they’re in Canadian dollars or Australian dollars. Their energy costs are collapsing, and their revenue is going up.
So, Wall Street is still oblivious to the bargains that exist in the mining stocks. But of course, certainly, year-to-date the mining stocks are up and they’re probably the only sector of the market that is up. I can tell you, nobody on Wall Street owns these stocks. If anything, they’re short these stocks and so they’re losing money on these stocks, and the stocks that they’re long they’re losing money on too.
But, while everybody was talking about what was going on in North Korea, we got a lot of economic news that came out. Most of it, as is typically the case, was bad. Let’s start with the news that came out yesterday on vehicle sales. Everybody has been excited about vehicle sales, and they were a big disappointment. In fact, we’re at a six-month low. I mean, yes, last year was a record for auto sales. But December was a six-month low, and that was despite all of these Christmas giveaways where they were really trying to get you in on Black Friday or whatever it was. There were a lot of sales going on and still it was very disappointing. They were looking for domestic sales of $14.2 million. They got $13.9 million. They were looking for total sales, which includes international, of $18.1 million. They got $17.3 million.
Meanwhile too, the inventory to sales ratios continues to rise. It is at a new high since the 2008, 2009 great recession. Also, if you look at what’s going on with the auto stocks, GM got clobbered again today. It was down about 4%, a little over 3.5% by the close. It’s down about 9% so far this year. The year just started. GM is down 9%. It’s now down more than 20% from its 52-week high that it traded at late last year. That’s a bear market. So what does this tell you? The inventory to sales ratios are climbing. All these unsold cars are piling up in the showrooms, and General Motors’ stock is in a bear market. That’s telling me that the auto bubble is over. It’s popped, and this is the biggest bubble yet when you look at the number of people who are leasing versus buying. Look at the length of the loans, how long people are borrowing, seven, eight-year loans, the credit quality of the borrowers.
Of course, all these people that were induced into buying cars they couldn’t afford with cheap financing are about to lose their jobs. First of all, there’s going to be a lot of layoffs in the automobile sector. Look, if the auto companies, General Motors, Ford, if they got a lot of cars they can’t sell, what does that mean? That means they’re going to stop producing them. Why produce more cars when you can’t sell the cars you’ve already produced? So now there’re all kinds of layoffs in production at the factories, and these are good jobs. These are high-paying jobs. They’re going to go. Also, they’re not going to need as many car salesmen. If people aren’t buying cars, you don’t need people to sell cars. But what about all the supplies? There’s a lot of companies in the auto supply chain that feed off of the car production and the car sales. So when GM doesn’t produce as many cars, they don’t need as many parts. So the layoffs are basically going to trickle down throughout the entire automobile sector, and again, these are higher paying jobs that are going to disappear. Some of these people have car loans that they’re not going to be able to repay.
What about all the people that work in retail? I’ve said, and I was saying it all last year, that starting in January of 2016 we were going to start to see all the layoffs. Because I saw the retail sales numbers were horrible. They were disappointing. Stock prices were falling. I said, “People probably don’t want to lay people off at the end of the year. It’s a downer to put a pink slip in somebody’s stocking. So people wait until after the New Year to start laying people off.” Sure enough, after the close today, Macy’s announced a $400 million restructuring. They’re closing stores. They’re laying off thousands of workers because of disappointing sales throughout the year and during the holiday season. So it begins.
It’s not just Macy’s. It’s all these retailers. They’re all laying people off. Now, how many of these people that work at Macy’s you think bought a car in the last couple of years based on these cheap terms? I bet a lot of these people who are being laid off have car payments. Well, are they going to be able to make their car payments once they’re laid off? I don’t think so. What’s going to happen? Well, maybe the car will get repossessed. But I think you’re going to see a huge blowup in the securitized market for auto loans, because a lot of people have been buying up those auto loans. That’s the reason that the auto companies were able to extend credit because there’s a bubble. Where the fuel comes from? The Federal Reserve.
But this whole thing is blowing up right now, and again, the layoffs are coming. The low unemployment rate is the rear view mirror. Looking at what’s happening in the actual economy through the windshield is a disaster for jobs. To me, I think I’ve said this before, but this is deja vu, because it’s just like 2008. I mean, I remember that by 2008 the subprime market had already exploded. The problems in the housing market should’ve been obvious. Yet, everybody was saying, “Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s contained.” I thought, “My God. All the things that I’ve been predicting for the past few years, they’re happening right now. Why can’t anybody see it?” People were still denying what I was saying, laughing at what I was saying, even though we were actually already in the great recession that I’d been predicting. The financial crisis had already begun. It’s just that people hadn’t figured it out yet because no one had rung the bell.
I guess, that didn’t happen until Lehman Brothers went under, or maybe not even then. Maybe it was Merrill Lynch getting bought out, or whatever it was. That was finally the bell when people realized, and Jim Cramer was on CNBC, “They know nothing.” By then it was too late. But even earlier in the year it should’ve been obvious. Well, this is the same thing now. A lot of the stuff that I have been warning about for the last several years is unfolding right now in real-time, before our eyes.
Yet, everybody is just as oblivious as they were in 2008 to the financial crisis, even though they should’ve known. So to me, this is all going to be happening relatively soon. I don’t know how many months it’s going to take before this happens.
Let’s go over some of the economic numbers that came out that show me that we’re probably already in a recession officially. Now, I know a lot of people give me flak for saying, “What do you mean, Peter, saying we’re going into a recession. You’ve been saying we’re in a recession the whole time.” Yes, I believe that we’ve never recovered, that we’ve been in a recession. I’m always talking about an official recession. Nobody wants to admit it, because the government cooks the books, the inflation numbers aren’t honest. So, officially we haven’t been in a recession. I’m talking about an official recession, where even the government’s own rigged numbers show negative GDP. Meaning, the economy is so bad that it’s even negative in the official reports, which means it’s really, really bad when that happens.
So apart from the lousy vehicle sales we got yesterday, look at the numbers that came out today. Now, first of all, we did get a positive number this morning coming from ADP. This is the jobs number, and this was way above estimates. The consensus was 190,000, and the print was 257,000, way above estimates. A lot of people on Wall Street took solace in this to say, “Ah, you see? The economy is strong. Don’t worry about anything because we’re creating all these jobs.” Look, it doesn’t make any sense that this number was this big. Because, if you look at the PMIs that are coming out, the ISM numbers that are coming out, if you look at the employment components of those reports, they’re horrible. They’re showing big reductions in jobs. So, how is ADP reporting so much hiring in December? I don’t trust this number.
I think if you go back historically and look, ADP has massively gone back and revised its numbers months and months later. Not even the next month, but six months later they’ll go back and they’ll say, “Oh, we were way wrong. We sharpened our pencils and we did it again, and we were off by a mile.” I think they’re going to end up doing that with this number. I think this number is optimistic on their part. I think it’s been influenced by…I don’t know if it’s seasonality or birth/death assumptions. But I don’t believe the ADP, because there’s no way the ADP is right, and the ISM is right, and the PMIs are right. So one of these reports is wrong. You got to decide which one you think is wrong because they can’t all be right. Because some reports are showing job losses, and some are showing these job gains. So someone’s wrong and someone’s right. Based on what I’m observing anecdotally, it’s the ADP numbers that seem wrong.
But, of course, Wall Street wants to grab onto the ADP because it’s good, and they want to dismiss all the other information because it’s bad. Now, the trade deficit on the surface didn’t appear that bad. We got the November trade deficit this morning of $42.4 billion, and that was slightly better. Or less worse. I don’t want to say better when you have a $42 billion trade deficit in one month. That is awful. So it wasn’t as awful as we thought. We thought it would be $44.4 billion. Instead, it was $42.4 billion. But they did revise the prior month up from $43.9 billion to $44.6 billion. So, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, and it wasn’t as bad as it was the prior month. But it was still bad. But here is the devil in the detail. The reason that the trade deficit went down is because our imports fell less than our exports. Everything went down. We exported less. We imported less. That shows a shrinking economy. Our imports were actually at the lowest level in five years.
Now, what does that mean? If we’re importing the lowest amount of stuff in five years, that’s got to be because of the slowing economy. Now, some of that is because oil is less expensive. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re now importing less stuff because consumers are buying less stuff. That’s why Macy’s is selling less stuff, and that’s why they’re laying people off. So, to me, this trade deficit reflects a weakening economy, the fact that we saw declines in both imports and exports.
But now, here’s where the bad news begins. We got a PMI services index out for December that was 56.1 last month. I’m not sure what they were looking for, but the print this month was 54.3. So, we’re going in the wrong direction, and I think in a few more months we’re going to be sub-50, and that’s going to indicate contraction. Remember, all of the manufacturing numbers are already sub-50. It’s just the service sector that’s lagging behind. But I think manufacturing leads the service sector. Wall Street wants to pretend that what happens in manufacturing stays in manufacturing. Like, “Oh, don’t worry about these problems. They’re contained to the manufacturing sector, so you don’t have to worry about them.” There as contained as the mortgage problems, or contained as subprime.
Let’s look at the factory orders that came out. That was a disaster. This was for November. Well, actually it wasn’t a disaster because it met expectations. They were looking for minus .2 and we got minus .2. But they did downwardly revise the prior month from up 1.5 to up 1.3. But year-over-year, we’re now down year-over-year for the 13th consecutive month. Now, the last time this happened was in the great recession of 2008, 2009. Then, the time before that had happened, well was in the big recession following the bursting of the dot-com bubble and the 9/11 attacks. But the only time you see stuff like this is in a recession. You never see it at any other time. So, either we’re in a recession or this is some kind of fluke. Again, to me it’s more likely that we are in a recession and that’s why we’re getting data that only happens when you’re in a recession.
But probably the most troubling numbers should be the ISM number that came out for the day for December ISM. Last month was 55.9. They were once again looking for an improvement to 56.2. Instead, we sank down to 55.3. This is the lowest level in, I don’t know, a year-and-a-half, two years, something like that, and we’re continuing to move down in the service sector. Again, you’re going to see more and more declines in the months ahead, especially with the wealth effect. Because the phony wealth effect that Dick Fisher admitted to having orchestrated, engineered at the Fed, well as that phony wealth is going away you’re going to have the reverse wealth effect. What is the wealth effect? People feel richer, so they go out and spend money that they wouldn’t have spent if they realized how poor they were. Well, when the wealth effect wears off people realize, “Oh, my God. I made a bunch of mistakes. I shouldn’t have bought that. I shouldn’t have done that, because I don’t have all the money I thought I had. Now, I have to behave differently.”
It’s like, imagine if you thought you won the lottery. Then, you went in and you quit your job, and you did all sorts of things, and then you found out that you read your ticket wrong. You were off by a digit and you didn’t win anything. Now, what are you going to do? Now, you’re in a lot of trouble, right? You’ve got to go apologize to your boss, hoping you get your job back. I mean, maybe you bought some stuff that you really got to get out of some of these deals because you can’t afford to do it. So, as this wealth effect works in reverse, what’s going to happen to the service sector of the economy? The service sector is going to implode. It’s not contained to manufacturing.
Now, also today we got the Fed minutes from the last FOMC meeting in which the Fed raised interest rates in December for the first time. If you remember, that was unanimous. There was no dissension. Part of the reason for that was that the Fed wanted to show that everybody was on board. This was part of the confidence show. “We’re so confident that we can raise rates that we’re all in agreement. Nobody dissented. Nobody was worried. Everybody supported the rate hike.” Again, that was part of the show to instill a false sense of confidence in both the economy and the markets. You know what? It ain’t working. But when we got the minutes today, the minutes showed a different story. The minutes showed that it wasn’t unanimous, that there were members who were against raising rates. They had to be convinced. They were worried that the economy was not strong enough, or that inflation was not high enough. So, they really didn’t want to raise rates. But they were convinced by their colleagues to do it.
The question is why didn’t they dissent? Why did they get their minds right, and even though they didn’t want to raise rates why did they pretend that they did? Again, they did it to try to put on a false sense of confidence. It’s kind of like, sometimes congressmen, they make a vote because they know their vote doesn’t impact the outcome. So they’re allowed to vote in a certain way, because they can show their constituents. So I think once the dissenters realize that well, the Fed was going to raise rates anyway. Their dissent didn’t matter. They decided to just take one for the team and just make it unanimous, and just cover up their concerns. But of course, now it’s out in the open now that we’ve got these Fed minutes. So I’m not really sure what they were trying to accomplish. In fact, even in that Dick Fisher talk, when he talked about why the Fed didn’t raise rates in September, he actually mentioned that the markets were weak and so they held off. Then, the markets recovered and they looked okay and so we decided to go in December. He’s actually admitting that they didn’t do it in September because the markets were falling. But then, when it looked like the markets were blessing the rate hike, because everybody was expecting it and the markets weren’t going down, the Fed felt confident enough to raise rates. That’s exactly what I said.
Remember what I said. I said, “If the Fed is going to be fooled by this and lulled into a false sense of confidence that the markets are blessing this rate hike,” I said, “they’ve got another thing coming.” Because once the market actually has to deal with a rate hike, it’s going down. Because, again, there’s nothing left to hold it up. Think about where the market is. We are at nosebleed valuations. Companies have loaded up on debt, buying back stock. Profits are falling. Sales are falling, and the Fed is raising rates? I mean, you couldn’t imagine a worse scenario for the stock market. I mean, it’s got nowhere to go but down. The thing is, when is it going to stop falling? How much lower is the Fed going to let the market go? How much air is it going to allow to come out of this bubble before it comes to its rescue?
Because, again, I disagree with Fisher. They’re not out of ammo. The Fed’s not going to say, “Hey, we’re out of ammo. Nothing we can do.” Wait until some of these bad loans start to go into default in some of the financial institutions. What’s going to happen when this whole thing unravels?
The one thing that hasn’t happened yet, the nail in the coffin, is the reversal of the dollar. The dollar is still strengthening against most currencies. It’s been down against the yuan. The Chinese yuan has been falling, and everybody’s been making a big deal about the weakness in the yuan. Look, the yuan is going down against the dollar. It’s not going down against the other currencies. I mean, it’s going down against the yen now, because even the dollar is going down against the yen. But the yuan is not really weakening that much. The Chinese are trying to let the yuan mimic other currencies. They’ve already said that. They said they want the yuan to trade, not just be fixed to the dollar. Well, this is going to work both ways. Everybody is expecting the yuan to collapse. Kyle Bass, who was one of the guys that got it right in subprime, he’s getting it wrong I think in the yuan. I mean, he looks like he’s right now. He’s been recommending that you short the yuan because it’s going to get killed. I think this is a sucker move. It’s a bear trap. The real move in the yuan is going to be way up. Because what’s going to happen when the dollar reverses and starts to fall against all the other currencies, China’s going to let it fall against the yuan.
See, when the Fed did QE1 and QE2, and the dollar was tanking against all the other currencies, it wasn’t tanking against the yuan because the Chinese interfered. They wouldn’t let it happen. They’re not going to do it next time. That’s what they’re telling us. That is the big difference. That’s the game changing event. So, everybody is worried about the yuan going down. They should really be worried about the dollar going down. Because the next time it goes down, it’s going down for the count. It’s not going to be saved by the bell. I mean, last time ironically the dollar collapsed was saved by the financial crisis. Well, next time it’s not a financial crisis. The Fed isn’t going to let that happen. It’s going to be a dollar crisis. Ultimately, it’s going to be a sovereign debt crisis to the United States when people realize, what good is being repaid in currency that has very little value? That is the crisis that’s coming. But still, so far, people remain oblivious to that reality, just like they remained oblivious to the reality of the 2008 financial crisis right up until we’re about to go over the edge of the cliff.
Well, we’re now pulling up to an even bigger cliff and we’re still about to go over the edge, and everybody else who was blind last time is just as clueless this time. There’s so much factually incorrect information and under-reporting by legacy media today. Shouldn’t there be truth in media? Well, there is. Truth In Media, recently, a novel thought is now a reality with truthinmedia.com, led by award-winning journalist Ben Swann. truthinmedia.com is the source for uninfluenced, reliable, fearless news, where journalists pursue real questions, not conspiracies. Make truthinmedia.com your default browser’s homepage today and get breaking news and commentary that speaks the truth to power.
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