Frank Ahrens Interviews Peter Schiff, Hard-Core Free-Marketeer

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Peter Schiff's day job is running Euro Pacific Capital, a Connecticut-based investment fund. But he's better known as the guy who called the housing collapse and recession back in 2006. Schiff, a hard-core free-marketeer and an adviser to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) during his 2008 presidential run, now moonlights as a cable news analyst and has become a YouTube fixture, thanks to the "Peter Schiff Was Right" mashups of his predictions. His latest job: seeking the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the banking committee. Washington Post business reporter Frank Ahrens spoke with Schiff about abolishing the Fed, why housing prices must fall further and how many millions he'd spend to win a Senate seat. Excerpts:

What made you step off the sidelines of politics and decide to run for office?

About 5,000 people contributed to this Web site that was set up by a few kids in California. And then I set up my own exploratory site and said: "Well, you know, I'm thinking about running. If anyone wants me to run, send me some money and maybe I'll run." And over 10,000 people sent me money. I got a lot of e-mails from people, too, especially from young people, not just from America, all around the world.

People had seen you on TV?

Well, I think most of the young people, it's not even so much on TV because I don't even think they watch CNBC. They're seeing me on YouTube. I spoke in Poland at an economic conference, and people were coming up to me wanting a picture with me. I was the only person, really, that got any applause. And my applause was when I was talking about capitalism and the beauties of the free market. I got applause from people who were born in a communist country.

Well, that plays well in a young democracy, right?

I really do believe that this country is headed for a major crisis. We didn't just have the crisis. The crisis is still in front of us, and I think it's going to be horrific. And my fear is that the government is going to continue to make the same mistakes that have made this crisis inevitable. Every time there's any kind of crisis, the government responds to it by seizing more power, and we surrender more liberties, and more of the Constitution is shredded, all in the name of trying to solve problems.

There's nobody on Capitol Hill whom you can point to as a defender of liberty?

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