Peter Schiff -- Purveyor of Libertarian Principles ... When Convenient

September 26th, 2010 12:46 PM

For the past several years, we’ve heard the doom-and-gloom prognostications coming from perma-bear Peter Schiff: The Federal Reserve is the root of all evil. Inflation will be the United States’ undoing. Invest in gold and overseas because the American stock market is toast.

Perhaps that’s a legitimate view, but Schiff argues a more libertarian approach to prevent these supposed calamities. He argues for a different way of handling monetary policy, less spending by the federal government and a rethinking of how regulation is handled. Yet, when a political campaign is waged in the halls of Congress by a partisan member against one of his competitors, he turns a blind-eye to the abuses of government power.

“You know, I have my own gold company and it bothers me what they're going to do,” Schiff said to CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” fill-in host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on the Sept. 24 broadcast. “I think that companies like, you know, like Goldline, you know that are basically marking up their gold coins 67 percent or whatever – it's outrageous. I mean, most companies mark-up 2 or 3 percent, which is what I do. These type of companies give the whole industry a bad name. What I’m afraid of is we're going to have a lot of regulation.”

Caruso-Cabrera asked Schiff in these circumstances if it was a case of buyer beware. However, Schiff suggested it was fraudulent for coin companies to charge these prices for what by any measure of the law would be a legal transaction if a consumer chose to purchase coins from such a company.

“If there's fraud, it's not buyer beware,” he continued. “But what I'm afraid of is I don't want government regulating the coin industry so that people like me have to raise our prices to cover all the extra cost of regulation.”

But assuming Schiff’s assumption were correct, wouldn’t he has a competitor be able to move in on the market and offer the same product for a lower price? Isn’t that how the free market operates? Schiff conceded that point, but complained he was getting beat because he couldn’t afford the advertising.

“I mean, I think the free market should ferret out these companies that are grossly overcharging people who don't know any better. You know, that's the problem. People haven't bought gold in so long and see how well it's doing and get conned by these commercials that are all over television. But most gold companies like mine, we can't afford to run commercials because we're not charging that much.”

Schiff makes regular appearances on all the cable news networks, with his firm’s logo Euro Pacific Capital on the backdrop and raised more than $3 million for his failed effort to win the Connecticut Republican U.S. Senate nomination. So is it fair to complain about his firm’s inability to market its products, if indeed they’re at lower prices than the competition’s products.