Saturday, December 24, 2016

Peter Schiff urges investors to be cautious about Donald Trump’s ‘Midnight in America’

It is safe to say that much of the contrarian community is jubilant that Hillary Clinton did not win last week’s presidential election. However, it is also safe to say that the contrarian community is cautious about the upcoming Donald Trump administration since it isn’t looking too promising at the moment.

One of these people who are concerned about a Trump White House is Peter Schiff, president and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital.

Writing in an op-ed piece last week entitled “Midnight in America,” Schiff averred that just because the American people did not fall for the evil, vile and corrupt Clinton, it “does not mean that we are now on the path to recovery.” Schiff conceded that Trump is unlikely to continue on with the status quo, but noted that the next four years seem to be uncertain.

Indeed, Obamacare will be altered and an array of regulations will be dismantled, but, when it comes to the meat and potatoes, “it’s anybody’s guess.”

“He has said that he wants to lower taxes and reduce regulations, which are needed goals, but he has said nothing about the hard work of reducing spending or reining in our country’s runaway national debt. Trump has openly admitted that his business successes have been based on his ability to go deep into debt, and then to emerge, Phoenix-like, on the back of good deal-making, marketing, and braggadocio. He probably thinks he can do the same on the national level. But there the rules are much different,” Schiff wrote.

“It is unlikely that he understands the chemicals he will be playing with, nor is it likely that he will rely on the opinions of those who do. It’s clear that his only solution is that we ‘grow our way out of debt.’ This is a gambler’s mentality that is likely integral to his DNA. It didn’t work for him in Atlantic City, and it won’t work for him now.”

He added that Trump doesn’t understand how the living standards of millions of Americans have been “subsidized by our trade deficits.” Schiff further noted that it isn’t the trade deals that have caused the loss of millions of jobs. Instead, it’s that U.S. manufacturers can’t compete in a nation and in a world with enormous costs and regulations. He also explained that the U.S. has been able to access and consume cheap foreign goods.

Right now, trade deficits are a problem for creditors and not the U.S. However, he warns, they will become a gigantic issue for the U.S. if creditors make the ultimate decision “to cut us off.”

A trade war may not bring back jobs, Schiff purports, but they will boost prices and cut back choices of U.S. consumers.

“For now we should celebrate that the election of 2016 shows that the American public knows that they have been misled, that they are mad as hell, and that they refuse to take it any longer,” he opined. “But as bleak as the picture Trump painted of the current state of the U.S. economy, it was not bleak enough. Before things can actually get better, they must first be allowed to get much worse. Decades of government promises to supply voters with benefits taxpayers can’t afford must be broken, starting with many of the promises Trump made himself to get elected. Rising consumer prices and long-term interest rates can bring this decades-old party to a catastrophic end.”

In the end, according to Schiff, Ronald Reagan was the last GOP president to promise change and make good on his famous “Morning in America” pledge (lower taxes and regulations), but he failed in one area: cutting spending. Even though, Schiff says, Trump never promised to slash spending, he will have to when interest rates start going up and the national economy worsens.

“Reagan’s morning now looks more like Trump’s midnight,” Schiff concluded.