If you search on YouTube “Peter Schiff was right” you will find compilations and collections of video clips of Austrian economist Peter Schiff before 2007 warning economists and the public about the impending 2008 financial crisis.
Very few economists in the mainstream media have publicly predicted the Great Recession and Peter Schiff was one of them. A lot of the fame that he has accumulated now is because of the allegations he has made about the U.S. economy in the past.
Let me be clear, I like Peter Schiff, and while I do not agree with everything he says, I do believe that there is a need for diversity among economists especially greater emphasis on free-enterprise economists who offer well-structured criticism against the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and increasing government economic policy which, if done sloppily, stagnates growth.
That being said, something I noticed about Mr. Schiff is that in nearly every interview or segment he participates in, he points to his accomplishments pre-2007 about accurately predicting the Great Recession. This, in my opinion, detracts from his arguments today about the current issues the economy is facing because by only citing his past success at catching economic trends and offering little other arguments, this leaves him prone to criticism that detracts from his fantastic arguments.
The Broken Clock fallacy, based off the phrase “even a broken clock is right twice a day”, assumes that just because someone is right once or twice (possibly by chance) they will be right again. To connect the Broken Clock to Mr. Schiff’s credibility argument, he could have just been lucky that time he predicted the economic crash in 2008. I am, in no way, saying that he was lucky, but I am saying that it is insufficient in convincing people of other views to not offer more concrete evidence.
It would be nice if, instead of constantly pointing to his past triumphs, he could focus on the specific issues that trouble the American economy today. To be fair, he does that. He criticizes the Federal Reserve and talks about why their monetary policies will fail the American public, he talks about the problems government policies cause for the economy, but those arguments need to be emphasized when he talks about the economy to convince people from different political ideologies.
There is not a doubt in my mind that Mr. Schiff already has plenty of support from the libertarian and conservative demographic. When he wants to appeal to others, particularly liberals or left-wing audiences, he needs to stress the real problems with corporatism, hyperinflation, and unemployment and how government is relating to (or perhaps causing) those issues.
This is all in the interest of promoting economic literacy among people, particularly on the left, who assume that markets are constantly failing them and more government is required to save them from this. But that’s a much more complicated conversation we will have another day.