Peter Schiff foretold the financial collapse. Now he wants to go to Washington to prevent the next one.
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“The best defense we have against government tyranny and creeping socialism is to educate the public so they wake up and understand the lie the government is selling them so they don’t buy it,” Schiff explains.
SCHIFF’S ACCURATE PREDICTIONS and uncompromising defenses of individual and economic liberty have gained him many fans. At FreedomFest in Las Vegas where he sat with TAS for this interview Schiff was approached by a fairly constant stream of well-wishers and admirers. A young fund manager told me he went into finance specifically because he was inspired by Schiff’s example of integrity and the possibility that armed with the right philosophy and foreknowledge he could help prepare clients to survive the economic cataclysm that potentially looms.
He also said his views on the nation’s shaky economic trajectory made him a complete outlier among even those colleagues who admit Schiff should have been heeded rather than laughed at three or four years ago. The downside has apparently not gained popularity as a conversational topic in the world of finance, despite all the water under the barely aloft bridge.
At the moment — and, essentially, throughout the race — chances of a Schiff upset have seemed slim at best. “Connecticut Republicans now have a alternative: a wrestling promoter or a businessman and economist,” Schiff told USA Today when he qualified for the primary ballot. “Given the state of our economy, I think the choice is clear.” Not quite as clear as Schiff would likely prefer. While he polls as well against Democratic nominee Richard Blumenthal as Linda McMahon — both are behind — a June poll showed a daunting primary deficit.
Nevertheless, although the fight for name recognition has been much tougher and slower than he’d prefer, and though he’s disappointed his candidacy rarely comes up in media discussions of Tea Party candidacies, Schiff likes the way his favorable/unfavorable numbers break as voters continue to learn about his candidacy.
“I’m behind,” he acknowledges, “but it’s not insurmountable” — and, as we now understand perhaps too well, people ignore Schiff’s forecasts at their own peril. A grassroots surge in these final weeks of the campaign is explicitly not out of the question during such a volatile time. (This is the part where we say Remember Scott Brown.) There will, however, be no meandering across the finish line. Something big must break, and soon, for Schiff to have a shot at winning the August 10 primary against McMahon. And Schiff recognizes that is largely out of his hands.
“It’s not just about wanting freedom — you’ve got to fight for it,” Schiff says. “Fortunately we don’t have to risk our lives for it. I’m not asking people to pick up a bayonet and storm a hill. I’m just asking them to pick up the telephone and make a few calls. And maybe write a check.”
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