Tag Archives: Finance

Gold is Good Money

ron paul

Last year the Chairman of the Federal Reserve told me that gold is not money, a position which central banks, governments, and mainstream economists have claimed is the consensus for decades.  But lately there have been some high-profile defections from that consensus.  As Forbes recently reported, the president of the Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) and two highly-respected analysts at Deutsche Bank have praised gold as good money.

Why is gold good money?  Because it possesses all the monetary properties that the market demands: it is divisible, portable, recognizable and, most importantly, scarce – making it a stable store of value. It is all things the market needs good money to be and has been recognized as such throughout history.  Gold rose to nearly $1800 an ounce after the Fed’s most recent round of quantitative easing because the people know that gold is money when fiat money fails.

Central bankers recognize this too, even if they officially deny it.  Some analysts have speculated that the International Monetary Fund’s real clout is due to its large holdings of gold.  And central banks around the world have increased their gold holdings over the last year, especially in emerging market economies trying to protect themselves from the collapse of Western fiat currencies.

Fiat money is not good money because it can be issued without limit and therefore cannot act as a stable store of value. A fiat monetary system gives complete discretion to those who run the printing press, allowing governments to spend money without having to suffer the political consequences of raising taxes.  Fiat money benefits those who create it and receive it first, enriching government and its cronies.  And the negative effects of fiat money are disguised so that people do not realize that money the Fed creates today is the reason for the busts, rising prices and unemployment, and diminished standard of living tomorrow.

This is why it is so important to allow people the freedom to choose stable money.  Earlier this Congress I introduced the Free Competition in Currency Act (H.R. 1098) to permit people to use gold as money again. By eliminating taxes on gold and other precious metals and repealing legal tender laws, people are given the option between using good money or fiat money. If the government persists in debasing the dollar – as money monopolists have always done – then the people would be able to protect themselves by using alternatives such as gold that are both sound and stable.

As the fiat money pyramid crumbles, gold retains its luster.  Rather than being the barbarous relic Keynesians have tried to lead us to believe it is, gold is, as the Bundesbank president put it, “a timeless classic.”  The defamation of gold wrought by central banks and governments is because gold exposes the devaluation of fiat currencies and the flawed policies of government.  Governments hate gold because the people cannot be fooled by it.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul – Legalize Competing Currencies

ron paul

I recently held a hearing in my congressional subcommittee on the subject of competing currencies.  This is an issue of enormous importance, but unfortunately few Americans understand how the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department impose a strict monopoly on money in America.

This monopoly is maintained using federal counterfeiting laws, which is a bit rich.  If any organization is guilty of counterfeiting dollars, it is our own Treasury.  But those who dare to challenge federal legal tender laws by circulating competing currencies– at least physical currencies– risk going to prison.

Like all government created monopolies, the federal monopoly on money results in substandard product in the form of our ever-depreciating dollars.

Yet governments have always sought to monopolize the issuance of money, either directly or through the creation of central banks. The expanding role of the Federal Reserve in the 20th century enabled our federal government to grow wildly larger than would have been possible otherwise.  Our Fed, like all central banks, encourages deficits by effectively monetizing Treasury debt.  But the price we pay is the terrible and ongoing debasement of our money.

Allowing individuals and business to use alternate currencies, especially currencies backed by gold and silver, would expose the whole rotten system because the marketplace would prefer such alternate currencies unless and until the Fed suddenly imposed radical discipline on its dollar inflation.

Sadly, Americans are far less free than many others around the world when it comes to protecting themselves against the rapidly depreciating US dollar.  Mexican workers can set up accounts denominated in ounces of silver and take tax-free delivery of that silver whenever they want.  In Singapore and other Asian countries, individuals can set up bank accounts denominated in gold and silver.  Debit cards can be linked to gold and silver accounts so that customers can use gold and silver to make point of sale transactions, a service which is only available to non-Americans.

The obvious solution is to legalize monetary freedom and allow the circulation of parallel and competing currencies.  There is no reason why Americans should not be able to transact, save, and invest using the currency of their choosing.  They should be free to use gold, silver, or other currencies with no legal restrictions or punitive taxation standing in the way.  Restoring the monetary system envisioned by the Constitution is the only way to ensure the economic security of the American people.

After all, if our monetary system is fundamentally sound– and the Federal Reserve indeed stabilizes the dollar as its apologists claim–then why fear competition?  Why do we accept that centralized, monopoly control over our money is compatible with a supposedly free-market economy?  In a free market, the government’s fiat dollar should compete with alternate currencies for the benefit of American consumers, savers, and investors.

As Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained, sound money is an instrument that protects our civil liberties against despotic government. Our current monetary system is indeed despotic, and the surest way to correct things simply is to legalize competing currencies.

Fractional Reserve Banking, Government, and Moral Hazard

ron paul

Last week my subcommittee held a hearing on fractional reserve banking and the moral hazard created by government (taxpayer) insured deposits.  Fractional reserve banking is the practice by which banks accept deposits but only keep a fraction of those deposits on hand at any time. In practice, nearly 100% of deposits are loaned out, yet depositors believe that they can withdraw the full amount of their deposit at any time. Loaned funds are then redeposited and reloaned up to the limit of the bank’s reserve requirements, compounding the effect.

As Murray Rothbard put it, “Fractional reserve banks … create money out of thin air.  Essentially they do it in the same way as counterfeiters. Counterfeiters, too, create money out of thin air by printing something masquerading as money or as a warehouse receipt for money. In this way, they fraudulently extract resources from the public, from the people who have genuinely earned their money. In the same way, fractional reserve banks counterfeit warehouse receipts for money, which then circulate as equivalent to money among the public. There is one exception to the equivalence: The law fails to treat the receipts as counterfeit.” *

While mainstream economists extol this “money multiplier” as a nearly miraculous process that results in a robust economy, low reserve requirements actually enable banks to create trillions of dollars of credit out of thin air, a process that distorts the structure of production and gives rise to the business cycle. Once the boom phase of the business cycle has run its course and the bust commences, some people will naturally look to hold cash. So they withdraw money from their bank accounts in order to hold physical currency. But bank deposits consist of a huge amount of credit pyramided on top of a small of amount of original cash deposits. Each dollar of cash that is withdrawn unwinds the multiplier, resulting in a contraction in credit. And if depositors en masse attempt to withdraw more funds than are available in reserves, the entire of house of cards comes crashing down. This is the very real threat facing some European banks today.

Since the amount of deposits always exceeds the amount of reserves, it is obvious that fractional reserve banks cannot possibly pay all of their depositors on demand as they promise – thus making these banks functionally insolvent. While the likelihood of all depositors pulling their money out at once is relatively rare, bank runs periodically do occur. The only reason banks are able to survive such occurrences is because of the government subsidy known as deposit insurance, which was intended to backstop the stability of the banking system and prevent bank runs. While deposit insurance arguably has succeeded in reducing the number and severity of bank runs, deposit insurance is still an explicit bailout guarantee. It thereby creates a moral hazard by encouraging bank deposits into fundamentally unsound financial institutions and contributes to instability in the financial system.

The solution to the problem of financial instability is to establish a truly free-market banking system. Banks should no longer have a government backstop of any sort in the event of failure. Banks, like every other business, should have to face the spectre of market regulation. Those banks which engage in sound business practices, keep adequate reserves on hand, and gain the confidence of their customers will survive, while others fall by the wayside.

Banking, like any other financial activity, is not without risk – and the government should not continue its vain and futile pursuit of trying to eliminate risk. Get government out of the way and allow the market to function. This will result in a more stable system that meets the needs of consumers, borrowers, and investors.

* Murray N. Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, 2nd ed. (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), p. 98.

The Day of American Austerity: What Will It Look Like?

In the United States, the belt-tightening has just begun

By Elliott Wave International

Since the start of the European sovereign debt debacle, the word “austerity” has been bandied about a lot.

It wasn’t an everyday word, and may send some people to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines “austerity” this way: enforced or extreme economy.

But even knowing this definition might leave one wondering how “austerity measures” relate to Europe’s debt crisis. The Associated Press (5/13) provided this overview:

Austerity has been the main prescription across Europe for dealing with the continent’s nearly 3-year-old debt crisis, brought on by too much government spending. But what does it mean for the average European? Imagine paying sales tax of 23 percent or more. Or having your wages cut by 15 percent. Austerity comes in many forms: higher taxes, fewer state benefits, more job cuts, working longer until retirement, you name it.

How about America? Will austerity measures be imposed on the world’s largest economy? Well, a Marketwatch columnist says “America’s new Age of Austerity is already here…Yes, America is already in a depression.” (5/29)

We agree. In fact, Robert Prechter said as much in the September 2011 Elliott Wave Theorist:

Bulls say the economy is in recovery, albeit a weak one. Bears are calling for a “double dip” recession, like the back-to-back recessions of 1980 and 1982. But, as is often the case, we disagree with both camps: The economic contraction of 2007-2009 was not a recession; the respite since then is not the start of a new economic expansion; and the economy is not going to have another “dip” into recession. The economy has been sliding into depression.

The signs of an American austerity are becoming widely visible. And nowhere is this belt-tightening more evident than in state and local governments. Recent years have seen a multitude of stories that describe reduced services. And in the overall economy, we’re seeing a de-leveraging of debt. Unemployment remains relatively high. Here’s a CNBC headline from today (5/30):

Sign of the Times: 20,000 Apply for 877 Auto Job Openings

This story about a new automobile plant in Montgomery, Alabama is one of many like it that feature jobless or under-employed individuals standing in line.

Above I showed the September 2011 quote from Robert Prechter. Yet he actually foretold much of what is financially happening today in his 2002 book Conquer the Crash.

That’s right. Ten years ago, he described what this age of austerity would look like. Much of what he described looks just like what is going on today. But how about the rest of what’s described in Conquer the Crash?

Yes, there’s more. You see, Prechter pointed out much more than what unfolded in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Do yourself the biggest of favors and learn what he has to say. Be one of the few who are prepared vs. the majority who will be caught off-guard.

How? Right now, Elliott Wave International is offering a special FREE report with 8 lessons from Conquer the Crash to help you prepare for your financial future.

In this 42-page report, you’ll get valuable lessons on:

  • What to do with your pension plan
  • How to identify a safe haven (a safe place for your family)
  • What should you do if you run a business
  • Calling in loans and paying off debt
  • Should you rely on the government to protect you?
  • Money, Credit and the Federal Reserve Banking System
  • Can the Fed Stop Deflation?
  • A Short List of Imperative Do’s and Don’ts

It’s not too late to prepare yourself for what’s ahead. Get Your FREE 8-Lesson Conquer the Crash Report Now

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline The Day of American Austerity: What Will It Look Like?. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Position Yourself for the Rest of “Conquer the Crash”

The earlier you prepare, the better
May 23, 2012

By Elliott Wave International

To this day, I wonder why Robert Prechter’s book Conquer the Crash has not been more widely recognized. It described in advance much of what happened in the 2008 financial crisis.

Published in 2002, the book provided detailed descriptions of then-future economic scenarios. They were detailed vs. general. Prechter was specific in a way that would prove right or wrong; there was no gray.

This is from the book:

There are five major conditions in place at many banks that pose a danger: (1) low liquidity levels, (2) dangerous exposure to leveraged derivatives, (3) the optimistic safety ratings of banks’ debt investments, (4) the inflated values of the property that borrowers have put up as collateral on loans and (5) the substantial size of the mortgages that their clients hold compared both to those property values and to the clients’ potential inability to pay under adverse circumstances. All of these conditions compound the risk to the banking system of deflation and depression.

Conquer the Crash, second edition, (p. 179)

That’s just one excerpt about one topic in a 456-page text. Perhaps you see why I believe the book deserves more credit. Yet even that one paragraph from the book turned out to be a virtual mirror of what came to pass. And much of what he predicted is unfolding today: the JPMorgan trading fiasco, massive withdrawals at Greek banks, downgrades of Italian and Spanish banks and much more. Those are just a few headlines.

The broader point is that Conquer the Crash prepared its readers. Around the time the book’s second edition published in 2009, the Chicago Sun-Times remarked

And the credit implosion is still not over. Please take a look at the chart:

In the Conquer the Crash quote in the first part of this article, you’ll notice the last three words are “deflation and depression.”

The world has yet to completely pass through these economic valleys.


It’s not too late to prepare yourself for what’s ahead

Elliott Wave International is offering a special free report with 8 lessons from Conquer the Crash to help you prepare for your financial future. In this 42-page report, you’ll get valuable lessons on what to do with your pension plan, what to do if you run a business, how to handle calling in loans and paying off debt, a list of imperative do’s and don’ts, plus much more.

Get Your FREE 8-Lesson Conquer the Crash Report Now >>

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Position Yourself for the Rest of “Conquer the Crash”. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Credit Crisis: Are We Set Up for The Perfect Storm?

Robert Prechter discusses what’s backing your dollars
January 26, 2012

By Elliott Wave International

In this video clip, taken from Robert Prechter’s interview with The Mind of Money, Prechter and host Douglass Lodmell discuss “real” money vs the FIAT money system, and what is backing your dollars under our current system. Enjoy this 4-minute clip and then watch Prechter’s full 45-minute interview here >>

Watch the full 45-minute interview FREE

Get even more valuable insights as Mind of Money host Douglass Lodmell interviews Elliott Wave International’s President, Robert Prechter, about how to keep your money safe, the deflation versus inflation debate, and many more topics that are critical to your financial future.

Start watching the free 45-minute interview now >>