272 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.
Since the housing and financial crash of 2008, America's recovery has been tepid at best. Unemployment has remained high; manufacturing has not returned; personal savings are as low as they've ever been, and personal debt as high; housing is still a mess, and banking not much...
Published 18 months ago by The Book Reporter
512 of 585 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This book may be useful to someone who has not read Schiff's other books, or who does not listen to his TV appearances or his own radio show. However, I was immensely disappointed to find out that this book is not very helpful in any practical sense.
The reason for that is that there is a single chapter (out of 28!) where he discusses how to protect your...
Published 18 months ago by Bruno
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272 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review,
This review is from: The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country (Hardcover)*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.
Since the housing and financial crash of 2008, America's recovery has been tepid at best. Unemployment has remained high; manufacturing has not returned; personal savings are as low as they've ever been, and personal debt as high; housing is still a mess, and banking not much better; and, to top it all off, government debt is awe-inspiring and seems completely insoluble. According to financial investor, commentator and author Peter Schiff, while all of this is certainly disheartening, it should not come as much of a surprise. Indeed, Schiff argues that all of this economic slumping is a natural result of America's misguided economic policies; including especially the Federal Reserve's manipulation of interest rates, the government's uncontrollable borrowing, and, in connection with this, the maintaining (and even expansion) of unsustainable social programs . For Schiff, these same policies led directly to the crash of '08 (which he correctly and very famously predicted), and are leading the U.S. directly into an even worse crash now. In his new book `The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy--how to Save Yourself and Your Country' Schiff outlines how America got itself into this mess in the first place, what the end game is likely to be, and what the nation and its citizens should do to make the coming unpleasantness the least unpleasant as possible.
The main problem--and where most of the other problems begin--according to Schiff, is the Fed's manipulation of interest rates. By interfering with the free market value of money, and making it cheaper than the market would dictate, the Fed encourages financial bubbles that then necessarily pop. When a bubble pops, the market needs to correct itself; however, over the past 20 years, the Fed has not really allowed this correction to take place, as every time a bubble pops the Fed has lowered the interest rate even further, causing more money to enter the system and a new bubble to form. First it was dot-com stocks, then it was housing, and now it is government spending.
As a matter of fact, while government spending has reached new and mind-boggling heights in the recent past, it has actually been ballooning in this direction for years, spurred on largely by the low-interest rates that the Fed has provided. The government has used this borrowed money to maintain and extend social programs (such as Social Security and Medicare), and, more recently, bailout packages for failing businesses and entire industries. All the while, the government has been going deeper and deeper into debt. A big part of what has allowed the American government to borrow as much as it has (and to keep on borrowing now) is the fact that the American dollar is the world's reserve currency, which means it is always in demand, and hence people and organizations have been willing to act as creditors in order to get it. For Schiff, though, the sheer size of the debt, and the fact that it is running away faster and faster everyday (and has no realistic chance of ever being repaid) will sooner or later turn investors away from considering the American dollar a valuable reserve--at which point it will lose its status as the world's reserve, and investors will stop investing in it.
At this point, the American government will have but two options. It can either declare bankruptcy, or it can print the money it needs to pay its debt. In either case, an enormous crash will result, for in the first case, an astronomical sum of money that the economy had assumed existed will suddenly be wiped away, and in the latter case hyperinflation will set in, and the American dollar will be whittled down to worthless.
At this point, the country will be forced to start over. For Schiff, this may not be such a bad thing, for, according to him, the nation has simply put itself in an unsustainable position, and the sooner it starts over the better. At that time, Schiff argues, America can finally get back to the small government and free-market forces that the country's founding fathers designed the nation around. While much of the book is focused on how the country can do this now, before the crash hits (in such areas as banking & finance, taxation, healthcare, education, the military, et. al.), Schiff very much believes that nothing can actually prevent the crash from coming, and that therefore, most of the rebuilding will have to be done after The Real Crash.
The book is very easy to read and the arguments laid out clearly and concisely, and backed up with both theory and historical evidence (though a little more of the latter would have been nice, on occasion). The author has done well to bring libertarian views into the mainstream. For a full executive summary of the book visit newbooksinbrief dot com, and click on article #14.
512 of 585 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed,
This review is from: The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country (Hardcover)This book may be useful to someone who has not read Schiff's other books, or who does not listen to his TV appearances or his own radio show. However, I was immensely disappointed to find out that this book is not very helpful in any practical sense.
The reason for that is that there is a single chapter (out of 28!) where he discusses how to protect your wealth from this new crash, and even that is pretty generic.
Mostly the book is his political beliefs in why we need restructuring of our money and system. I agree with most of that. However, I have read the majority of this before in not just one, but THREE other Schiff books! It's a rehash for cash, apparently, timed to take advantage of the economy and markets souring this summer.
Anyone who listens to his web radio program has already heard virtually all of this. But the title and subtitle are very misleading. It is not mostly about the crash, and it is virtually not at all about "how to save yourself", other than the suggestion perhaps to vote for Ron Paul or others like him.
Peter has already won many over. For the vast majority of readers they fit that description, making the book fairly pointless. Unfortunately he is less interested in nuts/bolts investing advice these days than the politics surrounding the issue.
Not a worthless purchase, but for me it was a big disappointment.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SCARY....,
This review is from: The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country (Hardcover)Some of the negative criticisms of this book claim that Schiff is recycling material from previous books. That may very well be the case but -- as I have never read any of his previous books -- that was no concern to me.
The central thesis of this book is that the crash of 2008 was not the "real" crash that Schiff had predicted. That crash is coming and its effect on America will be as bad or worse than the Great Depression.
Schiff is a Libertarian and many of his arguments are quite convincing. He focuses on our expanding 16-trillion-dollar debt and how neither political party is going to do anything about it. He points out that America's answer to everything is to simply inflated the dollar and one day the dollar-bubble -- like all other bubbles -- will burst.
His advice is tough but it is pretty consistent with Libertarian thinking: end entitlements and end the minimum wage. Americans should save more, produce more, and consume less.
His personal financial advice is a bit harder to accept. I'm suspicious of investing in gold. Also, he recommends buying ammunition. That seems a bit silly to me. I'm reading another book on finance that points out that, if we are in a Mad Max future where the police force no longer provides protection, your stock portfolio will be the least of your problems.
115 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and Productive!,
165 of 202 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can lead a horse to water.....,
60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hang on for the ride.,
I have read each of his books, multiple times, and listen to his radio show on a daily basis, and have spent the past four years unlearning all the nonsense we are taught in public schools. The message is clear, to the point and given in a manner that anyone should be able to understand. Peter is a great American as well as his dad, Irwin Schiff who has his own library of books that are must reads.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blueprint of How to Save the Economy,
In the first few chapters Schiff examines what he sees as the root problems of the US economy, which are mainly the enormous national debt that can only be serviced due to the artificially low interest rates. The main argument is that interest rates will be raised sooner or later. It's rather naïve to expect interest rates to remain at near zero levels forever. The reason for the rise in interest rates could be the change in perception of investors who will no longer view US bonds as a safe haven, or it could be a spike in inflation due to all the money printing done by the Fed to keep the rates low, which in turn will force the Fed to raise them. Nonetheless, higher interest rates are coming. And when they do, the national debt will be unserviceable, which will push the US government into default.
According to Schiff, an outright default is unlikely; a more likely scenario is that the Fed will intentionally try to keep inflation high in order to inflate the debt away and to keep the banks afloat.
After laying down the problems, Schiff goes on to tackle what he views as the main obstacles to recovery. Firstly, Schiff proposes that the US declares bankruptcy, which is coming sooner or later. Therefore, we might as well face this problem now rather than later. Second, letting the market set interest rates and not the Fed. Thirdly, reform Social Security, Medicare, etc. All in all, the underlining theme is to cut back government involvement as much as possible.
Schiff's ideas are nothing new to people who believe in small government, however, he has to ability to convey ideas in a very enjoyable and simple way. Even if you disagree with some of the ideas put forward, it is always useful to be aware of some "unconventional" ideas, especially in such uncharted times.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU WON'T WANT TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN UNTIL YOU FINISH IT!!!,
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent synopsis of the free-market problems; limited on personal solutions,
This review is from: The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country (Kindle Edition)Schiff has a good history of predicting and understanding our financial situation. He doesn't just "claim" he knew what was coming in 2008. It's well documented. He was also recognized in an economics paper by Bezemer as one of only a handful who accurately documented the situation prior to its occurrence.
That doesn't mean he is completely right in his predictions, of course, but it certainly makes him worth listening to. He does a nice job in this book of providing examples of how a free-market system would not have allowed such enormous errors to build up unchecked (bad ideas fail eventually if there is no other force to prop them up). His solutions are very logical and need to be closely examined, especially by anyone who thinks the government can change reality by legislating it away.
However, I think the likelihood of his solutions being implemented are small: simply because they include acknowledging living through a few years of pain. Politicians that recognize reality won't stay in office, so our pain is coming in a more sudden and violent way (violent meaning figuratively, not necessarily literally).
Therefore I would have liked to have seen more in-depth discussion of personal investment protection. Particularly, I would like to hear him comment on how the situation might be different if China is not in as good of condition as he thinks they are. I'm guessing that weaknesses in China would change the inflation expectation, but wish Peter would have commented on this.
82 of 106 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No new information than what was offered in Crash Proof 2.0,
People are looking for specifics to take action and when you dig deep and look at what he breaks out for his 3 points, it's still too high level for the lay person to go investigate or take action. I can get over that he's pitching his company too. However, the lack of real substance, specifics just annoyed me. I really felt like the joke was on me that I would buy another one of his books. Don't worry, I've learned my lesson, never again.
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The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country by Peter D. Schiff (Hardcover - May 22, 2012)