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In 2005, when Peter Schiff came up with the idea for his book, Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, he struggled to find a publisher. No one wanted to believe his story of a housing bust. Schiff is the president and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc. in Darien, Connecticut

What was it like being the voice of gloom? I had been the lone voice for many, many years. CNBC started calling me "Dr. Doom" in 2004. I said our economy was a house of cards, that there was a disaster looming, and that people needed to protect get their money out of the U.S., out of dollars, out of U.S. bonds and stocks, and out of real estate. And people just thought it was amusing, and they snickered or they laughed. They rolled their eyes. But, you know, that was the reaction I expected.

Why do you think others didn't see the catastrophe that you saw? Everybody owned homes. I was renting, so I could see it. But nobody wanted to believe that their house was going to lose value. People believed this myth because it was nice-the idea that you can own a house and it's going to appreciate, that you can live in it, that you can wear it out, yet somehow it's magically going to be worth more money than when it was brand new. This is all nonsense.

Was there a eureka moment for you? I rented a house in 2002 in Newport Beach, California, where I was paying $5,000 (U.S.) a month. I could have bought the house for $1 million or $1.1 million, which I thought was insane. It was a little townhouse with no land. Two years later, when I moved out, the same houses were selling for over $2 million. Prices were doubling and tripling. I was renting a house, and my housekeeper owned hers.

What would you do if you had to switch places with Ben Bernanke? I would try to get in front of Congress and speak to the American public and deliver the bad news. We've squandered our wealth. We're going to have to accept the fact that housing prices are too high, and they have to go down. We're going to have to respect the fact that a lot of Americans who are retired are going to have to go back to work. What the Fed can do is raise interest rates and stop facilitating all of this-force responsibility down the throats of American politicians.

Isn't what you're proposing-tighter money and tough fiscal medicine-a recipe for massive deflation? Look, there's no way around falling asset prices, because they got too high. Real estate prices in this country have to come down. And ultimately it's a good thing. People have to be able to afford to buy a house. But there's no way that consumer prices are going to fall in this country. That's impossible.

When was the last time you were bullish? I'm still bullish. I'm bullish on Asia-China and Japan and Hong Kong. I'm bullish on natural resources. Ultimately, if the world comes to its senses and allows America to collapse, stops buying our bonds, stops sending us their products, I think there's going to be a giant global renaissance.

How much further will U.S. stock prices fall? In real terms, I think they're going to fall dramatically. In terms of U.S. dollars, it's really hard to say. We might go down to 7,000, 6,000, 5,000, 4,000 on the Dow. I don't know. Right now, the Dow is worth 10 ounces of gold. In 2000, it was worth 43 ounces of gold. I think next year, the Dow could be worth seven ounces of gold. The year after that, five ounces. The year after, three ounces.

How much gold do you own personally? A lot.

Do you own real estate? No. I rent my house. The only thing I own in the U.S. is mining companies and energy companies. That's it.

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