I’m going to buy some real money today.
It’s something I do most weekends. I visit my local coin dealer and buy a few 1 ounce pure silver rounds. And it’s something I kind of enjoy doing, too… it always gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I’m done.
Because I know I’ve made a good long term investment. And I’ve beaten Helicopter Ben at his game. You know, Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve who’s known to have said he could drop money out of helicopters to stimulate the economy.
And then there’s social aspect of the transaction. I always kid the coin shop owner as I pay him for the real, hold in your hand silver – as I hand him paper dollars. I tell him I feel bad about trading him worthless pieces of paper for silver. And he good-naturedly listens to this every time. It’s a standing joke we have.
But I don’t feel that bad – certainly not bad enough to stop. It’s the federal government who should feel bad about foisting their worthless pieces of paper on us in the guise of money and something of value.
After all, this type of activity is normally called counterfeiting. Except when the government does it, of course.
Now you may think I am being overly harsh in my criticism, but read on because I’m going to support this with a story about how machines used to be smarter than counterfeiters, an interesting man named Merrill Jenkins, detecting and preventing counterfeiting, how he was duped by a federal agent, and the Federal Reserve in St. Louis.
Oh, and real money too.
Because you see, money used to be real money not so long ago.
Coins actually had 90% silver in them. And silver is something of real and scarce value. So when someone gave you a silver coin, you had real hold in your hand value. Right then and there. The transaction was complete. It wasn’t a promise that someone would give you value just because they believed it was money. It had value all unto itself whether someone believed it was money or not.
And similarly, paper dollars had the same value. They weren’t a note promising to pay. They were a silver deposit certificate, redeemable upon demand for silver.
What’s the difference, you ask? Well, a note is a loan. A note is only as good as the other person’s ability to pay. And our paper money today has the word ‘note” on it – as in loan, promise to pay – in something, not exactly sure what.
But a deposit certificate is not a loan. It means you own something that is being physically held for you. So for all intents and purposes, it’s the same as the real hold in your hand silver, because someone is holding that dollars’ worth of silver, right now, for you. You can exchange your certificate for it any time you choose.
And because they have to hold that silver for you, they can’t just go out and print more dollars on a whim or to cover a government spending spree. They can only print as many dollars as they have silver on deposit. Which means the dollars hold their value. And the government has to control its spending.
So with that background in mind I was quit interested in a video I viewed recently about Merrill Jenkins who wrote a book called Money: The Greatest Hoax On Earth – Inflation Expose’. It was an interview of him in the 70’s, before he passed away.
And of all things it was held in St. Louis, Missouri. The interview was conducted by Betsy Bruce of Channel 4 news back then, so being formerly from St. Louis myself, it caught my attention.
But St. Louis has more significance than just old memories. Because one of the branches of the Federal Reserve is located right in downtown St. Louis. Indeed, I often ate lunch in a private park located on their premises back then.
And Betsy had paired Merrill up with a member of that branch of the Federal Reserve to keep things interesting. Because, as you can imagine, they had strongly differing points of view.
In the real money corner was heavyweight Merrill, whose point was that the Fed was engaged in foisting counterfeit money on the American public. And of course, the Fed’s point was that the money was perfectly sound.
But besides having a solid set of counterfeit money arguments, Merrill had some real hands-on experience to back him up.
You see, he had spent years in the vending machine business – working with the mechanisms that accept your change when you want to buy something.
So his focus was always on detecting worthless slugs from the true coins of the day that contained 90% silver. You might say he earned his living detecting counterfeit money. He made the machines smarter than people – the counterfeiters, that is.
Until a time he ruefully recalls, when he was duped by the federal government. You see, a federal agent visited him and showed great interest in how he made his machines to detect worthless slugs made of inferior metal.
Merrill, trusting the agent, showed him all of his secrets.
A few years later he regretted that meeting when the government started issuing silver clad coins.
In other words, slugs.
Because he realized he had shown them how to counterfeit the money of the American people in a way that would fool all of his vending machine safeguards.
They might as well have started issuing wooden nickels. And I think this may have goaded him into seriously studying money. Because he did just that, and became an expert at it. His thoughts are interesting and important to us all.
Particularly as I write this story years later. Because the Federal Reserve has issued well over a trillion dollars in recent years with its quantitative easing programs.
All of this, of course, to stimulate the economy. All to devalue our dollars to pay for an unsustainable debt. And all with total disregard for the soundness of our monetary system.
And that fact, today, rings in contrast to one of the final statements of the Federal Reserve agent way back then in the St. Louis interview with Merrill and Betsy. Because he assured them that “the government will not abuse its power to print too much money…”
Which is why I am going to buy some real money today. Some real, pure, silver coins.
Because his reassurance from way back then rings hollow like a wooden nickel.
And there’s a helicopter flying overhead.
What do you want to bet that it’s Helicopter Ben?
To your health and prosperity – John Roberts
P.S. You can view the interview here at this link -
P.P.S. Here’s an important excerpt from his book – you’ll want to read this. http://livelearnandprosper.com/money-the-greatest-hoax-on-earth-excerpt
P.P.P.S. And although the book is out of print, you can get a paperback copy at Amazon. It’s a bit pricey, but probably well worth the money – whatever the money is worth, that is…
Here’s the link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007ALU3E