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Tags: Schiff | encounter | Bernanke | Fed

Schiff: My One-on-One Showdown With Bernanke in Las Vegas

Friday, 15 May 2015 07:00 AM EDT

Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, stands as one of the harshest critics of the Federal Reserve since the 2008 financial crisis and in particular of Ben Bernanke, who headed the Fed from 2006-14.

Well Schiff actually got to meet his nemesis face-to-face at a cocktail party last week and offered an interesting take on the encounter in his podcast.

"The first thing I said to him, ‘Look, full disclosure, I’m probably your biggest critic.’ To which Ben Bernanke replied, ‘Well, you got a lot of competition,’" Schiff said.

"It’s probably true. There is a lot of competition. There are a lot of people who criticize Ben Bernanke. But I think I am his biggest critic. I’ve been criticizing him for longer than most people, and I certainly do it more often and more loudly."

Schiff offers some of his to-and-fro with the former Fed chairman.

"I started talking about the housing bubble and the financial crisis and how the Federal Reserve caused that with its low interest rates," Schiff reports.

"He said that no, it wasn’t that. Interest rates had nothing to do with it. He first told me that the housing bubble was caused by Fannie and Freddie. At least he’s trying to blame the government."

Then there's the aftermath: "This guy comes up to me. He says, ‘I was talking with Ben Bernanke. He was saying some bad things about you,'" Schiff says.

"So he’s already talking smack behind my back. I don’t blame him. I got no problem with Ben Bernanke saying bad things about Peter Schiff, because I say bad things about him all the time. What’s fair is fair."

The Wall Street Journal editorial page also has been giving it to the Fed but good over the past few years for a massive easing program that has produced only a mild economic recovery.

But now Bernanke is giving it back to The Journal. He takes issue with a recent editorial in the paper this week calling for tighter monetary policy.

"The editorialists point out that the Fed's projections of economic growth have been too high since the financial crisis, which is true," Bernanke, now an economist at the Brookings Institution, writes on his blog.

"Therefore (the WSJ concludes), monetary policy is not working and efforts to use it to support the recovery should be discontinued."

Then come the fighting words.

"It's generous of the WSJ writers to note, as they do, that 'economic forecasting isn't easy.' They should know, since the Journal has been forecasting a breakout in inflation and a collapse in the dollar at least since 2006, when the Fed decided not to raise the federal funds rate above 5.25 percent," states Bernanke, who headed the Fed from 2006-14.

Journal editors ignore the other side of the coin, Bernanke says. "They fail to note that, while the Fed (and virtually all private-sector economists) have been too optimistic about growth, they have also been consistently too pessimistic about unemployment, which has fallen more quickly than anticipated."

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Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital and one of the harshest critics of former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, finally got to meet his nemesis face-to-face at a Las Vegas cocktail party last week.
Schiff, encounter, Bernanke, Fed
Friday, 15 May 2015 07:00 AM
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