Money & Markets - Peter Schiff: We are Borrowing Ourselves Into Poverty

March 07, 2019

Article by JT Crowe in Money & Markets

Noted economist Peter Schiff said on his latest podcast that despite the recent stock market rally, the U.S. is borrowing itself broke and a recession is all but guaranteed because of the ballooning national debt.

Schiff said while the U.S. GDP, which was 2.6 percent during the October-December quarter, is still fairly good, it’s all built upon debt — and  it’s all going to come crashing down. The GDP has slowed since topping out at a sizzling 4.2 percent during the April-June quarter, and then slowing to 3.4 percent during the July-September period.

Projections see a 3 percent GDP for 2019, which is right in line with President Donald Trump’s target, and would be the highest since 2005.

The reason it ticked so high, according to Schiff, is because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is now running out of steam. The U.S. essentially bought higher GDP figures and financed it with debt, he said.

In 2005, the national debt increased $554 billion, which bought the U.S. a 3.5 percent GDP for the year.

Fiscal year 2018, the debt increased $1.27 trillion, more than double the increase in 2005.

“So, we had to add a lot more debt in 2018 too, but not as much growth as a much smaller amount of debt in 2005,” Schiff said. “So the takeaway from that is this is unsustainable because the growth came at a heavy cost. We had to increase the amount of debt that we had by a lot more than the percentage that the economy grew.”

And it’s not just federal debt, but also household debt in the form of student and auto loans, credit card debt, etc.

“We’re not richer because of this economic growth,” Schiff said. “If your debt is growing faster than your economy, then you’re not getting richer; you’re getting poorer. You would have been better off without the debt and without the growth. We’re borrowing ourselves into poverty. We’re not borrowing ourselves rich; we’re borrowing ourselves broke.”

Schiff also mentioned that consumer spending was down 0.5 percent for December’s holiday shopping period while personal income is reportedly up.

This means one of two things: Americans are saving at record levels not seen since the Great Recession, or they’re broke and don’t have  any more to spend.

“They’ve already borrowed so much money to pay for the spending of the past that they’re just done,” Schiff said. “That expression, ‘Shop ’till you drop,’ well, maybe a lot of Americans have finally dropped and they’re no longer shopping.”

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