By MONEY MORNING STAFF REPORTS
A record breaking stock market is distorting a frightening reality: The U.S. is being eaten alive by a horrific cancer that will ultimately destroy the economy and impoverish the vast majority of its citizens.
That's according to Peter Schiff, the best-selling author and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, who delivered his harsh warning to investors in a recent interview on Fox Business.
"I think we are heading for a worse economic crisis than we had in 2007," Schiff said. "You're going to have a collapse in the dollar...a huge spike in interest rates... and our whole economy, which is built on the foundation of cheap money, is going to topple when you pull the rug out from under it."
Schiff says that, despite "phony" signs of an economic recovery, the cancer destroying America stems from a lethal concoction of our $17.2 trillion federal debt and the Fed's never ending money printing.
Currently, Yellen and The Fed are buying $65 billion per month of Treasury and mortgage bonds and will increase or decrease this number as they see fit.
According to Schiff, this "exit strategy" is not credible and will unravel.
Eventually interest rates will rise... and when they do, Schiff says, stocks will tank and bonds dip to nothing. Massive new tax hikes will be imposed and programs and entitlements will be cut to the bone.
"The crisis is imminent," Schiff said. "I don't think Obama is going to finish his second term without the bottom dropping out. And stock market investors are oblivious to the problems."
"We're broke, Schiff added. "We owe trillions. Look at our budget deficit; look at the debt to GDP ratio, the unfunded liabilities. If we were in the Eurozone, they would kick us out."
Schiff points out that the market gains experienced recently, with the Dow first topping 17,000 on its way to setting record highs, are giving investors a false sense of security.
"It's not that the stock market is gaining value... it's that our money is losing value. And so if you have a debased currency... a devalued currency, the price of everything goes up. Stocks are no exception," he said.
"The Fed knows that the U.S. economy is not recovering," he noted. "It simply is being kept from collapse by artificially low interest rates and quantitative easing. As that support goes, the economy will implode."
A noted economist, Schiff has been a fierce critic of the Fed and its policies for years. And his warnings have proven to be prophetic.
In August 2006, when the Dow was hitting new highs nearly every day, Schiff said in an interview: "The United States is like the Titanic, and I'm here with the lifeboat trying to get people to leave the ship... I see a real financial crisis coming for the United States."
Just over a year later, the meltdown that became the Great Recession began, just as Schiff predicted.
He also predicted the subprime mortgage bubble burst, nearly a year before the real estate market fully crashed.
His recent warnings, however, have been even more alarming. Will they also prove to be true?
In his most recent book, "The Real Crash" How to Save Yourself and Your Country", Schiff writes that when the "real crash" comes," it will be worse than the Great Depression.
Unemployment will skyrocket, credit will dry up, and worse, the dollar will collapse completely, "wiping out all savings and sending consumer prices into the stratosphere."
Schiff estimates this "cancer" could consume a trillion dollars from consumers this year.
"Today we're the world's greatest debtor nation. Companies, homeowners and banks are so highly leveraged, rising interest rates will be devastating."
According to polls, the average American is indeed sensing danger. A recent survey found that 61% of Americans believe a catastrophe is looming - yet only 15% feel prepared for such a deeply troubling event.
Despite its bleak outlook, Schiff's book has become a real wake-up call for millions of readers.
While Schiff's predictions can be grim, he also offers step-by-step solutions that average Americans can follow to protect their wealth, investments and savings.
According to Schiff, "the crash and what follows" can be beneficial. But only for those who understand beforehand what is happening and have time to prepare for the devastation.
"All we can do now is prepare for the crash," Schiff said. "If we brace ourselves properly and control the impact, we will survive it."