Introduction: Andrew ("Andy") Hoffman, CFA joined Miles Franklin as marketing director in October 2011. For a decade, he was a US-based buy-side and sell-side analyst, most notably as an II-ranked oil service analyst at Salomon Smith Barney from 1999 through 2005. Since 2002, his focus has been entirely on precious metals, and since 2006 has written free missives regarding gold, silver and macroeconomics under the moniker "Ranting Andy." Prior to joining the company he spent five years working as an investor relations officer or consultant to numerous junior mining companies. An archive of Andy's "RANTS" can be found on the Miles Franklin Blog.
Daily Bell: Hi. Biographies about you are hard to find. Give us a sense of where you came from, how you ended up at Miles Franklin and what you do for them.
Andy Hoffman: I guess it's because I'm so SECRETIVE. Just kidding. I've been writing publicly about precious metals for nearly a decade and am very candid about my beginnings. I'm from Long Island, New York but moved to Denver five years ago. I received my CFA 15 years ago, and worked on Wall Street from my first internship at Paine Webber in 1989 until I left the business for good in 2005. I was a bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald for three years, a buy-side analyst/trader for two years and a sell-side analyst covering oilfield service stocks for seven, the last six at Salomon Smith Barney, where my team was one of the industry's top-ranked for four straight years.
Fed up with Wall Street's corruption – which I experienced first-hand at Salomon and its parent, Citigroup, and already 100% invested in precious metals (since 2002), I worked as an investor relations officer or consultant to several dozen junior miners for five years. All along (starting in 2003), I was writing FREE missives helping to educate people on the COLLAPSING global financial system, with my "Ranting Andy" moniker coined by Bill Murphy of GATA circa 2009.
In 2011, Miles Franklin's founder – David Schectman – came across my writings and asked me to join his firm – one of the nation's largest bullion dealers – as head of marketing. It is my calling in life and I love every aspect of the position.
Daily Bell: As director of marketing are you wedded to the idea of honest money or are competitive currencies a good step toward private monetary freedom?
Andy Hoffman: As noted above, I have been 100% invested in the sector since 2002, and over the past few years have converted ALL my mining shares to PHYSICAL bullion. It took me this long to fully understand that ONLY PHYSICAL gold and silver meet the criterion of "money," as PROVEN by the fact that EVERY fiat currency in history has collapsed. Today will be no different, other than that we are in the ONLY period of history where ALL currencies are fiat. Thus, the implosion will be cataclysmic.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Greenbackerism? Public banking generally?
Andy Hoffman: I had not heard that term until now, but by Googling it, it confirmed my initial view. As you can imagine by what I wrote above, I believe FIAT currency to be the root of nearly ALL the world's economic woes, starting with the partial abandonment of the gold standard at Bretton Woods (in 1944) and ending with its total desertion (in 1971).
"Banks" used to play a useful role in society, but thanks to lobbying have liberated themselves from "rules" and now DESTROY capital via casino investments and ownership of the MONEY PRINTING Fed. Banks have always taken over the governments of FIAT currency based economies – and DESTROYED them – and the situation is no different today. Banks no longer lend, but speculate and steal.
Daily Bell: What about Georgism and mutual or social credit? Both have more adherents these days.
Andy Hoffman: I had to look this one up as well, defined in Wikipedia as the belief that people should own what they create, but that things found in nature, most importantly land, belong equally to all. This is a very generic definition, but doesn't pose any real red flags to me. That said, I can see how it could be "interpreted" as endorsing socialism, a dangerous precedent when central planners start playing Robin Hood.
Daily Bell: There are some among mutual creditors who believe price inflation is a monetary good. Your take?
Andy Hoffman: Where are the "other mutual creditors"? They should be reading the DICTIONARY, which defines price inflation as a monetary phenomenon. Yes, there are specific instances where price inflation is caused by demand – such as iPhones or sold-out concert tickets. However, nearly ALL other instances are caused by excessive MONEY PRINTING. This has been PROVEN throughout history, including in the US – where we had essentially ZERO inflation before creation of the Federal Reserve.
Daily Bell: Is there such a thing as deflation? Or as Murray Rothbard believed, deflation is merely the outcome of a kind hyper-inflation?
Andy Hoffman: Per above, the opposite of inflation (an increase in the money supply) is deflation (a decrease in the money supply). It is possible in a REAL MONEY standard, but not a FIAT one, which by definition is a PONZI SCHEME that MUST grow larger to continue existing. Hence, "QE to Infinity."
That said, in a contracting economy (in a fiat system where money supply continues to grow), only items one NEEDS to live on rise in value in real terms, while those that people simply WANT decline in real terms. And by the way, the latter category includes HOUSES, which one does not NEED to own. All you NEED is shelter, which can be obtained by RENTING. I wrote an article describing this dichotomy a few months back, titled "WANT VERSUS NEED".
Daily Bell: Who invented money? Greenbacker Ellen Brown believes the state did.
Andy Hoffman: Again, ONLY PHYSICAL gold and silver meet the full definitions of "money," with all other imitations failing over time. No one "invented" it; mankind just figured out that only gold and silver create a stable monetary system. As for fiat, the Chinese invented it perhaps 1,000 years ago, the first of many governments that have destroyed their societies with worthless paper.
Daily Bell: There is a whole mythology about money now – that gold and silver belong to so-called money lenders (a euphemism) and that history is a struggle between these money lenders and those that want the state to control money with or without interest. Are you aware of this and do you have any comment if you are?
Andy Hoffman: I am not aware of a specific conspiracy, but the fact remains that BANKERS have used their "leverage" in the economy for thousands of years, negotiating positions of power in government as we have today. And EVERY TIME they have destroyed society, forcing its monetary system to "reboot."
Daily Bell: Arguments are made, for instance, that Rome under Caesar and England under Elizabeth were successful states because the state issued currency, not private moneylenders. Our idea is that those who believe in paper money issued by the state are in some sense attracted to authoritarianism. Your response?
Andy Hoffman: These are very deep questions, but more importantly I do not have the FACTS to determine what happened during those specific periods of history. That said, the Romans – in general – famously destroyed their currency by "clipping coins"; that is, taking what was once REAL MONEY (gold and silver coins) and turning them into worthless ones, whose supply became governed by Emperors. The result was the same then, as always. In Olde England, if their currency survived for long periods of time, you can bet it was because they were using REAL MONEY, not fiat.
Daily Bell: A small state is better than a large state, but the bothersome thing about these arguments is that they encourage statism. These arguments propose a small state instead of no state and by doing so, they implicitly or explicitly endorse state power. Isn't it better to delineate what the state is without endorsing it?
Andy Hoffman: I am sorry if I'm a bit out of my element here, as politics are neither my expertise nor an area of great interest for me. That said, I am 100% against BIG GOVERNMENT of all types, as the bigger they get, the more damage they cause. ALWAYS!
Daily Bell: Let's talk about some issues you've written on recently. Explain what a negative interest rate is and how it is coming to pass.
Andy Hoffman: When I was a student, textbooks (college finance and the CFA) didn't even discuss such an inane topic. Can you imagine paying the bank to hold your money? Let alone, TODAY'S INSOLVENT, CRIMINAL BANKS? Per my recent RANT, "NIRP VS. GOLD," "negative interest rate policy" represents, in my view, the final phase of economic collapse. In other words, an essentially "impossible" situation created solely by MONEY PRINTING, MARKET MANIPULATION, and PROPAGANDA. How long have we been told by PM bashers – who have been wrong for 12 years – that we shouldn't own gold and silver because they pay no yield? Well, guess what? Gold and silver now pay MORE yield (at 0%) than many banks and sovereign nations – with VASTLY less risk.
Daily Bell: At FreedomFest 2012 you ran into Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network. What did you tell him about the secondary market?
Andy Hoffman: Kerry is a good friend and a great financial mind, and Miles Franklin is proud to sponsor his website. We discussed many things, particularly our ongoing belief that LACK OF SUPPLY will define the "end" of the PM bull market. Just as in late 2008, when PHYSICAL supply was GONE during a time of major crisis – yielding EXPLODING premiums and delivery wait times – we will see it again. Only this time, the crisis will be VASTLY worse, and NOT able to be quelled by new MONEY PRINTING. In other words, if you don't have your metal when the END GAME commences, you may NEVER get it.
Daily Bell: You wrote about a global crash recently. What's the timeline, in your view?
Andy Hoffman: I am 1,000% sure it is coming, and have been for years. However, I have been far more vocal in the past year; and thus far, PROVEN correct at every turn. The only reason it hasn't happened yet – although if you live in Greece or Spain you might disagree – is the aforementioned MONEY PRINTING, MARKET MANIPULATION and PROPAGANDA. It is the ONLY arrow left in TPTB's quiver and, as you can see, it is NO LONGER WORKING. Banks and sovereign bonds are collapsing and ALL global economies are in recession – with some already in DEPRESSION. If "the system" is still intact a year from now, I will have to be defibrillated.
Daily Bell: Are banks running out of money? Why haven't US banks issued the money that has been printed for them by the Fed?
Andy Hoffman: "Running out" is the understatement of the century. They are COMPLETELY, UTTERLY insolvent, with the doors only held open by fraudulent accounting (see BAC and JPM's recent earnings, as well as the 2009 FASB rule changes allowing banks to arbitrarily value balance sheet assets) and the Fed's "ZIRP" program. In other words, the Fed PRINTS MONEY and gives it to banks to keep them from announcing bankruptcy. That's why the banks no longer lend, and why they'd rather hold dead real estate properties than sell them and realize actual losses. They WILL all die, likely together – although weak links will start to go first, such as the Morgan Stanleys, Credit Agricoles, and Royal Bank of Scotlands of the world.
Daily Bell: What is the "world's most dangerous wildcard"?
Andy Hoffman: Governments – painted into corners like trapped rates – issuing draconian, rights-stealing orders and initiating deadly, hyperinflationary wars.
Daily Bell: You have written about the real truth as you see it of America's devastating wars, citing incriminating details not published in US "Ministry of Truth" textbooks. What is this truth?
Andy Hoffman: The TRUTH is that unchecked governments ALWAYS abuse their power, especially in fiat currency systems where the banks infiltrate their ranks. This is now the case EVERYWHERE on Earth – care of the aforementioned GLOBAL fiat currency system – and will only get worse until the system COLLAPSES and "reboots."
Daily Bell: Give us your take on the wars in the Middle East. Is the "youth rebellion" real or a CIA concoction?
Andy Hoffman: I have no idea what the CIA is doing, although I assume most if it is counterproductive and likely destructive. The "Arab Spring" was based on years of repression plus SOARING food prices care of Western Central Bank-generated INFLATION. Anti-West sentiment is rising – care of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and soon-to-be Iran and Syrian attacks – and now, care of one of the worst droughts EVER, food prices are HIGHER than they were at the time of the Egyptian, Tunisian and Algerian revolutions. Just wait until the Saudi revolution occurs (like Apartheid South Africa, the rulers are in the minority), if you really want to see war and inflation.
Daily Bell: We've led the way with the analysis that Western powers are actually trying to create an Islamic crescent in the Middle East – creating a further, false Islamic enemy, in other words. Your response?
Andy Hoffman: Again, this is reaching further into politics than I like to go. There are many "conspiracies" out there, which I refuse to agree or disagree with, as there is not enough PROOF. That said, the Western political actions of the past decade – starting with the 9/11 aftermath, where AMPLE PROOF is available to disprove the "official version" – depict leaders intent on creating a mythical enemy on which to blame future, draconian acts. The current war drums in Iran and Syria are a perfect example – based on the same flawed assumptions as in Iraq – and this time around, World War III is the penalty for pushing the envelope too far.
Daily Bell: You are known for confronting the PM community on various issues. What are they, generally?
Andy Hoffman: My primary area of focus is spreading word of the suppression of PMs via PAPER naked shorting by the government and its henchman banks, such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. It has enabled the "dollar standard" to destroy the world, and the longer it goes on, the worse the final economic conflagration will be – not that it matters anymore, as we are LONG PAST the point of no return. Additionally, I DESPISE "analysts" and "newsletter writers" who pretend to be PM bulls but say and write things that not only don't PROTECT readers but INJURE them.
Daily Bell: Let's talk of some current events. Where is the euro headed?
Andy Hoffman: Against the dollar, who knows, as both are worthless fiat toilet paper. On an ABSOLUTE basis, however, I expect it to be disbanded or fragmented to the point of CHAOS, likely within a year. Greece will be the first to go (voluntarily or not) and afterwards, others will do the same. Gold priced in euros is nearly at an all-time high – and when it breaks the Cartel cap and takes off, I believe TENS OF MILLIONS of Europeans will flee the euro into REAL MONEY, shattering the "Euro Zone" into pieces.
Daily Bell: Is the EU headed for breakup?
Andy Hoffman: Per above, YES! It will be cataclysmic and hyperinflationary, likely resulting in WAR.
Daily Bell: Where is Russia headed?
Andy Hoffman: Russia is now one of the world's richest nations – not that its citizens see that wealth – run by one of the shrewdest, most anti-US leaders on the planet. They will wisely ally with those still standing – such as China and Germany – and help bring the overleveraged West to its knees.
Daily Bell: Give us a rundown on the rest of the BRIC economies.
Andy Hoffman: It ain't pretty.
Daily Bell: India?
Andy Hoffman: The Bank of India may be the world's worst-run central bank – quite an accomplishment given the competition, particularly the Fed, ECB, Bank of England and Bank of Japan. They have succeeded in DESTROYING the currency of one of the few growing economies, despite having a nation of gold loving, rupee hating citizens. Today, the Rupee is sitting near its ALL-TIME LOWS in an environment of rampant inflation – and the idiots running its central bank are trying to discourage public ownership of gold while ramping up MONEY PRINTING. It won't end well for the bankers – it NEVER does.
Daily Bell: Brazil?
Andy Hoffman: I have less knowledge of Brazil, so I will not pontificate. I will say they have kept interest rates higher than most nations – a major positive – and I have not seen as many negative economic stories. That said, the whole, global economy is now intermingled – and ALL CURRENCIES FIAT – so there is NO WAY they will escape the carnage. If they're lucky it will be minimal, relative to others.
Daily Bell: China?
Andy Hoffman: China is on the verge of ALL-OUT COLLAPSE. The economic carnage will be less than the States, but spread over 1.5 billion people the social unrest will be catastrophic. They may have taken the world's manufacturing base through low wages, but by pegging the yuan to the dollar have caused MASSIVE internal inflation and left themselves with TRILLIONS of depreciating dollar reserves. They are DESPERATELY selling those dollars to buy REAL ITEMS OF VALUE like gold and commodities, but will not be able to keep up with the fiat collapse.
When the system "reboots," they will likely be the world's largest gold owner and thus the new economic superpower. But until then, their economy – led by a massive, bursting property bubble – will likely COLLAPSE.
Daily Bell: What's your take on Argentina and South America, generally?
Andy Hoffman: South America has more socialist, inflation-loving despots in control than anywhere else –Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, you name it. The recent nationalizations and capital controls in Argentina are terrifying – and ominous. Argentina's history is littered with monetary crises, and it will be no different when the current, GLOBAL fiat currency system collapses.
Daily Bell: Okay. Let's take a look at the US. The US drives the world's economy. Is it headed back into a depression and if so, why?
Andy Hoffman: I'd argue it ALREADY is in a massive recession, which started five years ago and has only worsened. Only fraudulent accounting and economic statistics enable it to be considered more stable than Europe or South America, but the PROPAGANDA is slowly being worn away by REALITY. Given the US's above average standard of living – care of having the soon-to-be-gone "reserve currency" – it has the furthest to fall. It has already lost its entire manufacturing base, unemployment is soaring and its debts (of all kinds) are the largest in history. In my view, the 1930s depression will one day be viewed as the "good old days" compared to what's coming in the States today.
Daily Bell: Are the powers-that-be trying to create a worldwide depression?
Andy Hoffman: Again, a "conspiracy theory" with no proof. And frankly, I don't attribute enough brain power to the current crop of so-called "elites." They certainly don't appear to be in control today, and we're supposed to believe they're planning to control billions of people?
Daily Bell: Who are the powers-that-be? Are they trying to create one-world government?
Andy Hoffman: I have no idea if they exist, and care not. I don't have the time to follow conspiracy theories about the Bilderbergs, Rothschilds and other sundry banker jerks. I am too busy protecting people to GUESS about such things.
Daily Bell: Out of chaos order?
Andy Hoffman: Only in movies, unless you call the aftermath of bloody wars and revolutions "order."
Daily Bell: How high will gold and silver go?
Andy Hoffman: In TODAY'S DOLLARS, simply calculating the PUBLISHED money supply and PUBLISHED US gold reserves, gold should be $15,000-$20,000/oz. Of course, the government PRINTS far more than it publishes, and the gold is likely ALL gone. Each dollar they print raises my estimate of gold's ultimate destination. As for silver, given that essentially ALL the silver ever produced has been consumed, I believe the gold:silver ratio will fall to AT LEAST its historic ratio of 15: 1, possibly much lower.
Daily Bell: When will this bull market in commodities end?
Andy Hoffman: When a REAL gold standard is inevitably created, at a FAIR VALUE equating gold supply to money supply. It could take years or be done overnight.
Daily Bell: What should people be doing now to protect their wealth?
Andy Hoffman: GET OUT of FIAT CURRENCY, BANKS and "PAPER SECURITIES" like stocks, bonds and CDs. DO NOT speculate in anything, such as real estate, and PREPARE for hyperinflation, unemployment and life necessities. Only REAL MONEY will hold its value – i.e., PHYSICAL gold and silver – and likely DRAMATICALLY gain real value as the manipulation holding them below the aforementioned targets is BROKEN.
Daily Bell: Is the US society becoming increasing fascist? Should people try to get out?
Andy Hoffman: It's not "becoming" fascist; it IS fascist – and getting worse each day. I fear for America but also for many of the other nations of the world – all tied by the common ANCHOR of fiat currency. Per my RANT, the "PROTECTION CONTINUUM," be VERY careful as to such decisions, as often the beast you know is less dangerous than the one you don't.
Daily Bell: Who will be the next US president?
Andy Hoffman: Mitt Romney has ALL the Wall Street money, just as Obama did in 2008 and Bush in 2004. Particularly with the economy CRASHING, I don't think Obama has a prayer. That's why so many people are predicting near-term "false flag attacks." That said, who cares who wins? They're both EVIL, BANKER PUPPETS.
Daily Bell: What is your feeling about the Ron Paul campaign?
Andy Hoffman: I was on Ron Paul's Denver campaign committee in 2008 and was privileged to watch him speak this year. He will NEVER win – even if the system crashes this summer – but is the ONLY man with true, non-political common sense in the presidential race (although I don't know enough about Gary Johnson to comment). I recently penned a RANT titled "RON PAUL, AMERICA'S GREATEST MAN."
Daily Bell: Is the Internet making a difference in educating people?
Andy Hoffman: Yes, it is the ONLY reason TPTB have lost control so fast. The Internet is unquestionably the greatest communications tool in history!
Daily Bell: If there is a one-world conspiracy, will the Internet help counteract it?
Andy Hoffman: The question is too open-ended to intelligently answer. I'm not sure what a "one-world conspiracy" really entails, although many speak of it like it's a simple concept. For example, does anyone really believe the Chinese, Indians, Russians and Arabs – who cumulatively represent more than half the world's population – could care less what a bunch of Western bankers want?
Daily Bell: Any other comments you want to make?
Andy Hoffman: Only to PROTECT YOURSELF, and do it now – and that "MILES FRANKLIN, PROTECTION PROVIDER" can help!
Daily Bell: Literature you want to recommend?
Andy Hoffman: Miles Franklin was built on a philosophy of FREE education of customers and potential customers. I publish a lengthy blog each day, as does the firm's founder, David Schectman – with contributing commentary from associate writer Bill Holter. Not only do we write about the TRUTH in the economy and markets, but compile articles from others that do the same.
Daily Bell: Thanks for your time and good luck to you!
Andy Hoffman: And the same to you. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!