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

Well, Ron Paul is there, but he's one congressman. And he's an old guy. If I can take a Senate seat, there's a lot more power in a Senate seat than a House seat. And most of the other senators spend 90 percent of their time trying to get reelected -- raising money, doing what it takes to stay in the Senate, right? I'm not going to spend any of my time on that. So I'll be, like, 10 senators all by myself.

That could be your motto: "Elect Peter Schiff to get nine more senators."

I'm interrupting my career. It's not like I want my new career in politics. But I'm willing to interrupt it the same way that somebody interrupted their career and joined World War II and went off to fight the Nazis. I don't think that I'm that heroic, and I don't think I'm risking as much as a soldier. But it's the same principle.

How much of your own money are you going to kick in? How is the fundraising going so far?

I've raised over $1 million so far in the draft effort. I think I can raise a lot of money. How much money I'm going to put in of my own, it's hard to say. I put in a little bit of money to get it started, $50,000 initially. But it's really going to depend on how the race is progressing. Obviously if it gets to the point where it's really close and it's like, "Hey, if I just put an extra million dollars this weekend on media," I have the money to throw in. It could be in the millions, but it's not going to be in the tens of millions. I'm not a billionaire.

Your Washington Post op-ed last year was a "don't give up on capitalism yet" call. But if the Treasury and the Fed and even the White House hadn't done what they did, wouldn't we have been facing deflation, and isn't that a lot scarier?

The prices that would've come down would've been real estate prices, stock prices. We wouldn't have had a big drop in food prices and clothing prices and health-care costs. So when I'm talking about a deflation, we're talking about the deflation of an asset bubble. Real estate prices are much too high still. The government is still trying to keep them from falling. Interest rates are in the zero range right now in order to artificially levitate asset prices, but this is causing real problems underneath the economy. Interest rates can't be zero. That's not right. But the problem is that to have interest rates at the level that's appropriate would bring down housing prices, which would bankrupt a lot of financial institutions that have real estate as collateral. But we have to let that happen. We can't try to preserve artificial prices in a market economy.

So you fear debt- and deficit-driven problems?

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