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Noted Economist Slated to Speak at Wheaton

Matt Kakley
The Sun Chronicle
February 17, 2012

NORTON - Renowned economist Peter Schiff will be in town Feb. 25 to give a free lecture on the Wheaton College campus.

Schiff will give a lecture at 3 p.m. in the school's Weber Theater, sharing with the audience his take on the economy, specifically how it will affect young adults and those still in college.

He gave a preview of what he will discuss with the crowd Wednesday, in a telephone interview with The Sun Chronicle.

"We are in serious trouble in this country," he said.

Schiff was among the minority of economists who, in the mid-2000s, warned that the country's housing market was a bubble primed to burst, something that happened in 2007. 

Now, with the country still in dire straits economically several years later, Schiff said the problems stem from government overspending, coupled with high taxes, which put an unfair burden on workers.

With Baby Boomers moving into retirement, Schiff said the responsibility to pay for programs like Social Security will fall on young workers who are fighting for the few jobs available.

"If they do get hired, they're not going to get paid as much," he said.

Schiff said he believes overtaxation will in turn lead many young people to simply emigrate from the United States.

"If they're going to try to pay it on the backs of the younger generations, they're going to leave," he said.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States benefited from mass immigration, filling labor markets with workers from other countries who were among the most dedicated and hard-working. 

"The people that were arriving here were the best," he said.

He said he expects the reverse to happen over the next 10 years, with the most educated and talented Americans leaving for job opportunities in places like Asia, South America or Australia.

"Those are the people who will leave," he said. "They're going to be the best and brightest."

Schiff said those who do choose to leave are hit with a $450 fee if they choose to renounce their United States citizenship.

"It's probably the most expensive form you'll ever have to fill out," he said.

When he addresses the Wheaton students and other members of the community, Schiff said he plans to focus on the problems he sees facing the country over the next several years.

"The real crisis is in our future, not in our past," he said.