Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The End of Consumer Credit as We Know It

When businesses borrow to make investments, those investments generate returns which enable the principal and interest to be repaid. When individuals borrow to consume, no investment is made and the loans can only be repaid out of reduced future consumption. As a result, business loans, especially when collateralized by real assets, are likely to be repaid, while consumer loans, collateralized by nothing but a promise to consume less in the future are much more likely to end in default. As lenders finally figure this out, consumer credit will dry up, and the American economy will enter a prolonged and severe recession. Unfortunately, an economy that lives by consumer credit will die by it as well. Hopefully a more viable economy will eventually rise in its place.
You'll have to read the whole article to see
the case Peter Schiff makes for this assertion.