Chapter 13. The Light at the End of the Tunnel: How to Make It Shine on You

The musical number whose title I purloined for my opening chapter, "Let's Do the Time Warp Again," has a lyric that goes, in part, "Madness takes its toll." How aptly those words set the tone for this closing chapter.

Astonishingly, amid $140-a-barrel oil, a collapsing auto sector, soaring food prices, massive foreclosures, empty restaurant tables, failing retailers, and insolvent banks, our government, as I write this in June 2008, assures us we are not in a recession and our economy is fundamentally strong, its resilience demonstrated yet again by GDP growth accompanied by low inflation and low unemployment. Having read the preceding chapters, you know you have to take government economic information with a grain of salt. But I still find it fascinating that in the face of such dramatic evidence to the contrary, the government persists in using selected technicalities and creative statistics to assure us all is well.

Government statistics are blatantly and deliberately manipulated, not because some sinister conspiracy perceived uniquely by Peter Schiff is afoot, as some TV hosts are fond of alleging, but because they have to be if the Federal Reserve wants us to believe it can simultaneously fight inflation and pursue a stimulative monetary policy, a contradiction in terms. Chairman Bernanke calls it his "dual mandate," but that sounds to me like gobbledygook. With an unbalanced economy, and under political ...

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