Thursday, the contrarian investor said that while Americans are wrapping presents this holiday season, they should instead brace themselves for "a horrible Christmas" and
"I expect [job] layoffs to start picking up by the end of the year," Schiff said, pointing to retailers as the first victim. "Retailers have overestimated the ability of their customers to buy their products. Americans are broke. They are loaded up with debt," he said. "We're teetering on the edge of an official recession," and "the labor market is softening."
For Schiff, there is no one else to blame but the Federal Reserve. As he sees it, the central bank's easy money policies have created a bubble so big that any prick could send the U.S. economy spiraling out of control. And that makes the possibility of hiking interest rates slim to none.
"The Fed has to talk about raising rates to pretend the whole recovery is real, but they can't actually raise them," said the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital. "[Fed Chair Janet Yellen] can't admit that she can't raise them because then she's admitting the whole recovery is a sham and that the policy was a failure."
According to Schiff, the recent rally in the dollar is "the biggest bubble that the Fed has ever inflated" and "it's the only thing keeping the economy afloat." The greenback hit a three-month high this week after Yellen said a December rate hike was a "live" possibility.
"[The inflated dollar] is keeping the cost of living from rising rapidly and it's keeping interest rates artificially low. It's allowing the Fed to pretend everything is great," Schiff said. "Eventually the bottom is going to drop out of the dollar and we are going to have to deal with reality," he added. "That reality is we are staring at a financial crisis much worse than the one we saw in 2008."
Schiff, a longtime Fed foe, has been doubting a rate hike for some time. And while his predictions for a stock market and dollar crash have yet to pan out, he has maintained his stance that the Fed's hands are tied.
- Source, CNBC