Ron Paul and HR 1098: Free Competition in Currencies


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It seems painfully obvious to me that given events that are shaping the future for the US Dollar, we are headed for a currency crisis. Most pundits in the financial media, at least the ones who dare to discuss this topic, usually point to two options - default on the debt or monetize the debt. Either option will eventually yield the same result - extreme pain for America and the destruction of the US dollar. It is an event which is going to wipe out what's left of the American middle class and most of the upper middle class as well.

There is a bold solution [not (tm) Herman Cain], however, which would offer Americans a means to preserving their wealth and weathering the storm. I present to you Ron Paul's Free Competition in Currencies Act of 2011 to repeal the legal tender laws, to prohibit taxation on certain coins and bullion, and to repeal superfluous sections related to coinage:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ‘Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011’.


(a) In General- Section 5103 of title 31, United States Code (relating to legal tender), is hereby repealed.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for subchapter I of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 5103 and inserting the following new item:

‘5103. [Repealed].’.


(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law--

(1) no tax may be imposed on (or with respect to the sale, exchange, or other disposition of) any coin, medal, token, or gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or rhodium bullion, whether issued by a State, the United States, a foreign government, or any other person; and

(2) no State may assess any tax or fee on any currency, or any other monetary instrument, which is used in the transaction of interstate commerce or commerce with a foreign country, and which is subject to the enjoyment of legal tender status under article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution.

(b) Effective Date- This section shall take effect on December 31, 2011, but shall not apply to taxes or fees imposed before such date.


(a) In General- Title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking sections 486 (relating to uttering coins of gold, silver, or other metal) and 489 (making or possessing likeness of coins).

(b) Conforming Amendment to Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 25 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the items relating to the sections stricken by subsection (a).

(c) Special Rule Concerning Retroactive Effect- Any prosecution under the sections stricken by subsection (a) shall abate upon the taking effect of this section. Any previous conviction under those sections shall be null and void.

That's it. It's less than a page long. It holds the key to future wealth preservation and prosperity. Ron Paul introduced this bill thusly:



of texas

in the house of representatives

Tuesday, March 15, 2011​

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Free Competition in Currency Act. Currency, or money, is what allows civilization to flourish. In the absence of money, barter is the name of the game; if the farmer needs shoes, he must trade his eggs and milk to the cobbler and hope that the cobbler needs eggs and milk. Money makes the transaction process far easier. Rather than having to search for someone with reciprocal wants, the farmer can exchange his milk and eggs for an agreed-upon medium of exchange with which he can then purchase shoes.

This medium of exchange should satisfy certain properties: it should be durable, that is to say, it does not wear out easily; it should be portable, that is, easily carried; it should be divisible into units usable for everyday transactions; it should be recognizable and uniform, so that one unit of money has the same properties as every other unit; it should be scarce, in the economic sense, so that the extant supply does not satisfy the wants of everyone demanding it; it should be stable, so that the value of its purchasing power does not fluctuate wildly; and it should be reproducible, so that enough units of money can be created to satisfy the needs of exchange.

Over millennia of human history, gold and silver have been the two metals that have most often satisfied these conditions, survived the market process, and gained the trust of billions of people. Gold and silver are difficult to counterfeit, a property which ensures they will always be accepted in commerce. It is precisely for this reason that gold and silver are anathema to governments. A supply of gold and silver that is limited in supply by nature cannot be inflated, and thus serves as a check on the growth of government. Without the ability to inflate the currency, governments find themselves constrained in their actions, unable to carry on wars of aggression or to appease their overtaxed citizens with bread and circuses.

At this country's founding, there was no government controlled national currency. While the Constitution established the congressional power of minting coins, it was not until 1792 that the U.S. Mint was formally established. In the meantime, Americans made do with foreign silver and gold coins. Even after the Mint's operations got underway, foreign coins continued to circulate within the United States, and did so for several decades.

On the desk in my office I have a sign that says: ``Don't steal--the government hates competition.'' Indeed, any power a government arrogates to itself, it is loathe to give back to the people. Just as we have gone from a constitutionally-instituted national defense consisting of a limited army and navy bolstered by militias and letters of marque and reprisal, we have moved from a system of competing currencies to a government-instituted banking cartel that monopolizes the issuance of currency. In order to introduce a system of competing currencies, there are three steps that must be taken to produce a legal climate favorable to competition.

The first step consists of eliminating legal tender laws. Article I Section 10 of the Constitution forbids the States from making anything but gold and silver a legal tender in payment of debts. States are not required to enact legal tender laws, but should they choose to, the only acceptable legal tender is gold and silver, the two precious metals that individuals throughout history and across cultures have used as currency. However, there is nothing in the Constitution that grants the Congress the power to enact legal tender laws. We, the Congress, have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, but not to declare a legal tender. Yet, there is a section of U.S. Code, 31 U.S.C. 5103, that purports to establish U.S. coins and currency, including Federal Reserve notes, as legal tender.

Historically, legal tender laws have been used by governments to force their citizens to accept debased and devalued currency. Gresham's Law describes this phenomenon, which can be summed up in one phrase: bad money drives out good money. An emperor, a king, or a dictator might mint coins with half an ounce of gold and force merchants, under pain of death, to accept them as though they contained one ounce of gold. Each ounce of the king's gold could now be minted into two coins instead of one, so the king now had twice as much ``money'' to spend on building castles and raising armies. As these legally overvalued coins circulated, the coins containing the full ounce of gold would be pulled out of circulation and hoarded. We saw this same phenomenon happen in the mid-1960s when the U.S. government began to mint subsidiary coinage out of copper and nickel rather than silver. The copper and nickel coins were legally overvalued, the silver coins undervalued in relation, and silver coins vanished from circulation.

These actions also give rise to the most pernicious effects of inflation. Most of the merchants and peasants who received this devalued currency felt the full effects of inflation, the rise in prices and the lowered standard of living, before they received any of the new currency. By the time they received the new currency, prices had long since doubled, and the new currency they received would give them no benefit.

In the absence of legal tender laws, Gresham's Law no longer holds. If people are free to reject debased currency, and instead demand sound money, sound money will gradually return to use in society. Merchants would have been free to reject the king's coin and accept only coins containing full metal weight.

The second step to reestablishing competing currencies is to eliminate laws that prohibit the operation of private mints. One private enterprise which attempted to popularize the use of precious metal coins was Liberty Services, the creators of the Liberty Dollar. Evidently the government felt threatened, as Liberty Dollars had all their precious metal coins seized by the FBI and Secret Service in November of 2007. Of course, not all of these coins were owned by Liberty Services, as many were held in trust as backing for silver and gold certificates which Liberty Services issued. None of this matters, of course, to the government, who hates to see any competition.

The sections of U.S. Code which Liberty Services is accused of violating are erroneously considered to be anti-counterfeiting statutes, when in fact their purpose was to shut down private mints that had been operating in California. California was awash in gold in the aftermath of the 1849 gold rush, yet had no U.S. Mint to mint coinage. There was not enough foreign coinage circulating in California either, so private mints stepped into the breech to provide their own coins. As was to become the case in other industries during the Progressive era, the private mints were eventually accused of circulating debased (substandard) coinage, and with the supposed aim of providing government-sanctioned regulation and a government guarantee of purity, the 1864 Coinage Act was passed, which banned private mints from producing their own coins for circulation as currency.

The final step to ensuring competing currencies is to eliminate capital gains and sales taxes on gold and silver coins. Under current federal law, coins are considered collectibles, and are liable for capital gains taxes. Short-term capital gains rates are at income tax levels, up to 35 percent, while long-term capital gains taxes are assessed at the collectibles rate of 28 percent. Furthermore, these taxes actually tax monetary debasement. As the dollar weakens, the nominal dollar value of gold increases. The purchasing power of gold may remain relatively constant, but as the nominal dollar value increases, the federal government considers this an increase in wealth, and taxes accordingly. Thus, the more the dollar is debased, the more capital gains taxes must be paid on holdings of gold and other precious metals.

Just as pernicious are the sales and use taxes which are assessed on gold and silver at the state level in many states. Imagine having to pay sales tax at the bank every time you change a $10 bill for a roll of quarters to do laundry. Inflation is a pernicious tax on the value of money, but even the official numbers, which are massaged downwards, are only on the order of 4 percent per year. Sales taxes in many states can take away 8 percent or more on every single transaction in which consumers wish to convert their Federal Reserve Notes into gold or silver.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, allowing for competing currencies will allow market participants to choose a currency that suits their needs, rather than the needs of the government. The prospect of American citizens turning away from the dollar towards alternate currencies will provide the necessary impetus to the U.S. government to regain control of the dollar and halt its downward spiral. Restoring soundness to the dollar will remove the government's ability and incentive to inflate the currency, and keep us from launching unconstitutional wars that burden our economy to excess. With a sound currency, everyone is better off, not just those who control the monetary system. I urge my colleagues to consider the redevelopment of a system of competing currencies and cosponsor the Free Competition in Currency Act.

Lawrence White, Professor of Economics at George Mason University testified before Congress:
Chairman Paul, Ranking Member Clay, and members of the subcommittee: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my views on HR 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011 (hereafter “the Act”). As an economist specializing in monetary systems I have studied and written for many years about the role of free competition in currency. ...


Ron Paul has been proposing this bill every session of Congress for many years now. It always languishes in committee, just like his Audit the Fed bills.

If this bill is going to see the light of day, it's going to take an awakening among the voters to push their representatives just like the tea party groups helped pressure Congress to pass an Audit the Fed measure.

Have you contacted your Congressional Representative about this bill? Ask them whether they will support it or even better co-sponsor it? I urge you to do so:

Ron Paul is the only man in Washington D.C. who is truly championing economic liberty for America. If you would like to get involved in grassroots efforts to support him, I highly recommend joining the multi-hued melange of liberty lovers at the Ron Paul Forums (RPF)
I agree that Ron Paul is really the only candidate who could fix this mess our country is in. Even with Ron Paul, we would still go through a lot of a lot of turbulence and pain.

But, he gets it. Honest money. He is very truthful (by political standards anyway).

And he does not have any problems with liberty of owning gold, in fact he is aggressive in recognizing gold's roles as wealth protector and liberty protector.

Still, if he cannot win the nomination I would rather have a Romney or a Gingrich than the current president. But, I think that anybody BUT RP is more part of the problem than part of the solution.
Every word that Ron Paul speaks is about returning power to the people, reducing government and government spending, practicing sound monetary policy, and a return to the constitution. A document, that I think, Americans take for granted, even though it is supposed to be the guideline for our government and the direction we are to take as a people.

I think if people who didn't know the first thing about Ron Paul would just get on youtube and watch his recording on "Mutually Assured Respect", they wouldnt' need another word from him on anything else. Ron Paul is the first politician that actually makes me feel HOPE, and I'd love to be able to tell him that in person.

Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!
I agree that Paul, and the good ideas of his like this one, are the best hope we have to avoid the disaster we are trying to prepare for. I'll second PMBug's endorsement of RPF as well, it is a great site with an amazing array of people, opinions, and insights.

I do wonder how things would actually work with such legislation enacted.

If gold and silver were again allowed to function as they should, and the paper/digital FRNs we have now still exist, what would the transition look like?

If it happened tomorrow I could see many people, like all of us, who would basically take our paychecks straight to the coin dealers. Over time I would think that metals will become more popular, as they already are, resulting in higher metals prices in terms of dollars.

At some point I think people would realize that getting paid in dollars is not good enough since their value would have been so greatly reduced that trading paper for metal would become rather difficult.

Would businesses start paying wages in metal? Would employers increase the dollar wages until some breaking point (like losing employees to competitors who pay in metal)?

How would the mechanism for paying employees work with metal as currency? I could see it working with the bank acquiring metals from its customers and depositing it in a bank of some sort. Then it could electronically issue claims tickets for certain amounts of metal that could be redeemed in person (like in the old days) or electronically (transfer said metal to account/deposit box in employee's name). I would love for my boss to hand me a bag of coins at the end of the week, but some folks like the ease of direct deposit.

I would think that it would not work to denominate the employees' compensation in dollars to be redeemed in metals since the purchasing power of dollars will vary wildly. That variation could be wonderful or disastrous for the bank, the employer, and/or the employee in different circumstances. This brings up a bigger question in my mind that would be best served by a standalone thread.

Here's what my paycheck should look like ---->:gold:
If this act were made in to law, nearly every single piece of "paper" out there becomes instantaneously worthless on its face. Think about the ramifications of the elimination of leverage for a minute. While I am a firm believer in real money, gold and silver would have to be valued exponentially higher to support the "value" of all paper contrtacts that currently support the world financial paradigm.

Now suppose for a minute we incrementally re-value PM's to support that mountain of garbage. Gold and silver would be unobtainable by the common man.

It's kind of a catch 22 right now. Unless we have a rapid and disorderly collapse of the current system, such that there remains zero faith in fiat, we cannot step in to a PM based system, because there is simply not enough of it to support the worlds population. We would be talking in terms of a milligram of gold being worth a hundred dollars. You would have to mint base metal medallions with a tiny drilled out center point, with a miniscule amount of precious metal inserted.

That said, if TSHTF, which I believe to be happenning in slow motion as I type this, then it all becomes moot, and PM's rule by default.
Mr. Franco is among several supporters who say the law’s most important feature may be that it eliminates state capital gains taxes on the sale of gold and silver, a move he thinks will prompt individuals and large scale investors outside the state to move their gold and silver to Utah. But federal capital gains taxes would still apply.
He who has the gold...
Ron Paul said:
The Fed's latest actions in cooperating with foreign central banks to undertake liquidity swaps of dollars for foreign currencies is another reason why Congress needs enhanced power to oversee and audit the Fed. Under current law Congress cannot examine these types of agreements. Those who would argue that auditing the Fed or these agreements with central banks harms the Fed's independence should reevaluate the Fed's supposed independence when the Fed bails out Europe so soon after President Obama promised US assistance in resolving the Euro crisis.

Rather than calming markets, these arrangements should indicate just how frightened governments around the world are about the European financial crisis. Central banks are grasping at straws, hoping that flooding the world with money created out of thin air will somehow resolve a crisis caused by uncontrolled government spending and irresponsible debt issuance. Congress should not permit this type of open-ended commitment on the part of the Fed, a commitment which could easily run into the trillions of dollars. These dollar swaps are purely inflationary and will harm American consumers as much as any form of quantitative easing.

The Fed is behaving much as it did during the 2008 financial crisis, only this time instead of bailing out politically well-connected too-big-to-fail firms it is bailing out profligate government spending. Citizens the world over deserve better than this. They deserve sound money that cannot be manipulated and created out of thin air by central planners who promise printed prosperity. Fiat money caused this European crisis and the financial crisis before it. More fiat money is not the cure. The global fiat currency system has proven itself a failure, we need real monetary reform. We need sound money.
The question is why, if the Federal Reserve and the system of fiat money are so superior to sound money, has our country been in such a pickle these past few years. The Fed has tried every trick in the book and some that aren’t in the book. Yet so far the economy seems impervious to its monetary ministrations. It has met neither of its dual mandates of stable prices and employment. The Fed chairman did acknowledge that his institution failed at crucial moments, most notably in his view in the Great Depression, when it “did not use monetary policy to prevent deflation,” as he put it yesterday. But what about its failures in the current time, when it has run the value of the dollar down to a level that was once unthinkable and millions are still out of work?

It’s always possible that Mr. Bernanke will confront these questions in the remaining three lectures he is scheduled to give at George Washington, but given the preview yesterday, it looks unlikely. The full accounting of the Fed is going to have to come from the body that created it in the first place. We are less than two years away from the centenary of the institution, and there will be plenty of legislation around which this accounting could take place. One bill, H.R. 1098, would establish a free competition in currency and end the system centered on making legal tender out of the kind of scrip that Mr. Bernanke circulates. No doubt it will be a long battle, and it wouldn’t be surprising to us were some of the bright-looking students to whom Mr. Bernanke spoke yesterday to end up in the lists.


Bravo NY Sun!
Follow up to Bernanke's propaganda tour at George Washington University:
Chairman Bernanke’s first lecture in the series included a long discussion of gold. This is as it should be because up until forty years ago global money was always backed in some way, shape or form with precious metals. Since 1971 the Fed and other central banks have been the monopoly issuers of currencies that have not been exchangeable into gold. We will not spend time here recounting what we have already taken 150,000 words over the last five years to discuss. Suffice to say US dollars and all the world’s currencies are backed by the full faith and credit of treasury ministry authority to have their central banks manufacture even more money. The question before us today is: how many new paper currency units are necessary to secure banking systems and protect against deflation? To which we answer: probably somewhere around 15 trillion new dollars and about 75 trillion new dollar-equivalent currencies across the world.

Our business, as fiduciaries, is allocating capital based on relative value within the macroeconomic environment we see as likely. In our opinion Mr. Bernanke’s lecture last Monday perpetuated bad or unimportant data, implied impossible outcomes, and was quite self-serving in its conclusions. His description of history was incomplete, his extrapolations were baseless, and his arguments were quite weak. (Ultimately we believe Fed policy will migrate -- or be suddenly reversed -- to meet the consequences of its current policies.)

As we pointed out only a few weeks ago following Warren Buffett’s unsolicited gold comments, (“Golden Boy”), and in December 2009 following Nouriel Roubini’s assertion that a gold bubble was about to pop (“Roubini Rebuttal”), gold is simply money - a savings (not investment) vehicle, a means of storing purchasing power in a time of paper money dilution. That’s it. Central banks compete directly with gold ownership because they manufacture competing savings vehicles in the form of baseless paper money. For the past twelve years global wealth holders have been converting their savings in increasing amounts from paper media of exchange (or financial assets denominated in them) to gold and natural resources. Why? Because central banks must dilute the purchasing power of their currencies to de-leverage the global banking system.

More (including point by point rebuttal to Bernanke's presentation):
FreedomWorks, Dick Armey's attempt to hijack the original tea party movement, is apparently on board with HR 1098!

Dear FreedomWorks member,

As one of our million-plus FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011. Introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the bill would repeal federal legal tender laws and tax laws that penalize the use of gold and silver coins as money. The Free Competition in Currency Act would help restore sound money by allowing Americans to choose a currency among competing currency that works best for them.

Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution clears states that “No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Unfortunately, Congress passed unconstitutional lender tender laws in 1965 which force Americans to use Federal Reserve Notes issued by the Federal Reserve. These legal tender laws have granted the central bank a monopoly on currency. This is problematic since the Federal Reserve has significantly devalued the currency that we are forced to use.

Americans should be free to use whatever currency they desire. The Free Competition in Currency Act would make it legal to use commodity money in personal economic transactions. Choice is good because it allows for currency competition. The paper dollar would have to compete with other forms of currency. The prospect of Americans using alternative currencies would encourage the Federal Reserve to stop inflating the money supply.

People must be free to use a currency that they trust. This is the first step to restoring sound money in America. I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act today.


Matt Kibbe
President and CEO

Link to send a letter to your Congresscritter:

The Fed: Mend It or End It?

Last week I held a hearing to examine the various proposals that have been put forth both to mend and to end the Fed. The purpose was to spur a vigorous and long-lasting discussion about the Fed's problems, hopefully leading to concrete actions to rein in the Fed.

First, it is important to understand the Federal Reserve System. Some people claim it is a secret cabal of elite bankers, while others claim it is part of the federal government. In reality it is a bit of both. The Federal Reserve System is the collusion of big government and big business to profit at the expense of taxpayers. The Fed's bailout of large banks during the financial crisis propped up poorly-run corporations that should have gone under, giving them a market-distorting advantage that no business in the United States should receive. The recent news about JP Morgan is a case in point. JP Morgan, a recipient of $25 billion in bailout money, recently announced it lost another $2 billion. If a corporation shows itself to be a bottomless money pit of "errors, sloppiness and bad judgment," the Fed shouldn't have expected $25 billion in free money to change that or teach anyone a lesson in fiscal discipline. But it determined that this form of deliberate capital destruction was preferable to one business suffering bankruptcy. Clearly, some changes need to be made.

Several reforms for the Fed were discussed at the hearing. One was a call for the full employment mandate to be repealed, in order to allow the Fed to focus solely on stable prices.

Another reform calls for changes to the composition of the Federal Open Market Committee. Still another proposal was for outright nationalization of the Fed or of its functions. But if what the Fed does now is bad and inflationary, allowing the Treasury to print and issue money at-will would be even worse, and could possibly lead to a Weimar-like hyperinflation.

The problems and advantages of the gold standard were discussed at the hearing. The era of the classical gold standard was undoubtedly one of the greatest eras in human history. For a period of several decades in the late 19th century, the West made enormous advances. However, the gold standard was still run by government. The temptation to suspend gold redemption reared its head again with the outbreak of World War I. Once the tie to gold was severed and fiscal restraint thrown to the wind, undoing the damage would have required great fiscal austerity. Instead, the Western world proceeded to set up a gold-exchange standard which lasted not even a decade before easy money led to the Great Depression.

While returning to the gold standard would certainly be far better than maintaining the current fiat paper system, as long as the government retains the power to go off gold we may end up repeating the same mistakes.

The only viable solution is to get government out of the money business permanently. The way to bring this about is through currency competition: allow parallel currencies to circulate without receiving any special recognition or favor from the government. Fiat paper monetary standards throughout history have always collapsed due to their inflationary nature, and our current fiat paper standard will be no different.

It is imperative that the American people be educated on the dangers of the Fed and the importance of restoring sound money. The laying of the groundwork must begin today, so that the American people will be prepared for the day when the mirage the Fed has created evaporates completely. The full hearing footage is available on my website and I would encourage every American to take a look.
Congratulations are in order for Congressman Ron Paul, whose long campaign for a full audit of the Federal Reserve has finally passed the House in what the Washington Times, in a dispatch linked on the Drudge Report, calls “a move that serves as a capstone” to the Texan’s career. The measure didn’t just pass the House. It was approved by a bi-partisan vote of 327 to 98, sending the bill to the Senate in which the majority leader, Harry Reid, supports an audit, at least in theory. Yet the Wall Street Journal reports that there are no plans, at least at the moment, to bring up the measure in the Senate.

The lesson of this saga is to redouble the drive for an audit. ...

... What is shaping up is a historic opportunity for the Congress to open up the question of the Fed, the whole question of the dollar, on the eve of the centenary of a central bank on whose watch the value of a dollar has collapsed to less than a 1,600th of an ounce of gold or less than a 77th of what it was when the Fed was created. The audit isn’t the only process through which Congress is starting to assert its monetary powers in the Constitution. Congressman Kevin Brady has a bill, the Sound Dollar Act, that would, among other things, repeal the misguided Humphrey Hawkins Act, which requires the Fed to conduct monetary policy with an eye to employment and return it to a goal of price stability. Congressman Paul himself is pressing the Free Competition in Currencies Act, which would end legal tender and permit the introduction of privately issued money. ...
Ron Paul said:
Paul Subcommittee to Examine Sound Money and Parallel Currencies

Congressman Ron Paul, Chairman of the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee, announced today that the subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine sound money and parallel currencies.

“The American people have suffered for decades from the declining purchasing power of the dollar. The Federal Reserve has abused its position as the monopolist issuer of currency to enrich Wall Street and impoverish Main Street,” stated Chairman Paul. “The Fed can effectively create money out of thin air with impunity, while creators of gold and silver currencies face jail time. This is a travesty. The only way to stabilize the economy is to return to monetary freedom by legalizing Constitutional money. Until the American people are free to choose the money they want to use, and not what the government forces them to use, the economy never will be truly stable and any recovery will be illusory.”

The hearing, entitled “Sound Money: Parallel Currencies and the Roadmap to Monetary Freedom,” will be held on Thursday, August 2nd, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Witnesses scheduled to testify:
  • Dr. Richard Ebeling, Professor of Economics, Northwood University
  • Nathan Lewis, Principal, Kiku Capital Management LLC, and Author, Gold: The Once and Future Money
  • Rob Gray, Executive Director, The American Open Currency Standard

The witnesses submitted some written documents for the hearing:




Link to live stream (supposedly):
Sound Money subcommittee hearing starting now...
United States House of Representatives

Committee on Financial Services

Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy

Hearing on Sound Money: Parallel Currencies and the Roadmap to Monetary Freedom

August 2, 2012

Congressman Ron Paul

Statement for the Record​

One of the most pressing issues of our time is the push for monetary freedom. The only sound monetary system is one which protects sound money and allows consumers, businesses, and investors the freedom to transact in the currency of their choice. The importance of sound money is summed up nicely by Ludwig von Mises: “It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments.” It is no wonder that governments fight tooth and nail against sound money, as sound money protects the well-being of the middle class and the poor while preventing the expansion of government.

Governments throughout history have sought to monopolize the issuance of money, either directly or through the creation of central banks. The growth of central banking in the 20th century allowed governments to monetize their debt in an indirect manner while still ensuring a ready market for government debt. And central banks' slow but sure debasement of the currency allowed governments to repay their debts in devalued money. What debtor would not want such a sweetheart deal?

Indeed, the 20th century witnessed a revolt by governments against the strictures of sound money. In some countries such as Weimar Germany the revolution came quickly and the results were both immediately apparent and instantaneously disastrous. In other countries such as the United States, the revolt came more gradually, with the destructive effects of money printing only recently becoming apparent to more and more Americans.

Over the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve has continually pumped new money into the economy, resulting in a 96 percent devaluation of the dollar. This devaluation does not affect everyone equally, as the banks who receive this new money first benefit from using it before prices rise, while average Americans suffer the price rises first and receive only a trickle of money well afterward. In this way the Fed enriches Wall Street while impoverishing Main Street, leading to a growing disparity of wealth.

The wealthy are always able to protect the value of their assets against inflation to an extent that the middle class and poor cannot. Anyone with enough money and resources can set up a foreign bank account denominated in euros or Hong Kong dollars, or purchase gold and silver that will be safely stored in London or Singapore. The rich are best able to purchase precious metals, the only ones able to invest in high-yielding hedge funds, and the ones most able to shelter their assets from punitive taxation.

All the legislation and regulation that ostensibly protects the average American from losing money in fact does exactly the opposite. It keeps the average American from being able to defend against inflation by investing in precious metals, forces him into mediocre investment opportunities that do not even keep up with inflation, and leaves him at the mercy of the taxman. Compared to their counterparts in other countries, the average American has far fewer financial options available to them.

Mexican workers can set up accounts that are denominated in ounces of silver, and can take delivery of that silver whenever they want, tax-free. In Singapore and some 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 their gold and silver to make point of sale transactions, a service which is only available to non-Americans. In short, Americans have far fewer options to protect their wealth than citizens of many foreign countries do.

The solution to this problem 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 in the currency of their choosing. Unfortunately, decades of government restrictions and regulations have hampered and prevented the circulation of parallel currencies and destroyed the familiarity of Americans with any sort of money aside from Federal Reserve Notes or bank deposits denominated in U.S. dollars. The thought of introducing parallel currencies undoubtedly scares many people who understandably wish to minimize their financial risk.

All financial activity is fraught with risk. Most people understand the risks inherent in stock or bond investment, but the risk of holding savings accounts or cash is still drastically under-appreciated. Everyone is familiar with the maxim “Don't put all your eggs in one basket” and investors and savers are constantly urged to diversify their portfolios, yet the U.S. government continues to set roadblocks that force Americans to transact and save in dollars that continue to depreciate.

According to the government's official figures, price inflation runs around two percent per year which means that, since interest rates on savings accounts are near zero, the real rate of return on savings accounts is negative. Anyone holding a savings account or cash is losing nearly two percent of the value of his savings per year with this relatively mild inflation. Some private economists estimate that actual price inflation is running closer to nine percent per year, which would make the loss from holding dollars enormous.

Even greater danger comes during bouts of hyperinflation, such as during Weimar Germany and more recently in Zimbabwe. But when Zimbabwe's dollar became worthless, people began to use U.S. dollars, South African rand, and Zambian kwacha to conduct transactions. Similarly in Weimar Germany, many individuals resorted to using dollars, pounds, and precious metals. So despite the economic hardship wrought by hyperinflation, not all economic activity ground to a halt, largely due to the circulation of parallel currencies. Should the United States ever face a hyperinflationary crisis, which due to the Fed's quantitative easing is very possible, the only means of survival would be through the use of parallel currencies.

It is horribly unjust to force the American people to do business with a dollar that is continuously debased by the Federal Reserve. Forcing a monopoly currency with legal tender status onto the people benefits the issuer (government) while harming consumers, investors, and savers. The American people should be free to use the currency of their choice, whether 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.

Here's the full hearing:

AOCS guys testify before the House Committee

A lot of interesting things in this article, but this one strikes me:"When you say House Financial Services Domestic Monetary Services Subcommittee to me, it sounds important. First, the domestic economy is in shambles, and our monetary policy is at the very root of this issue. Maybe you don’t know enough to agree with me, but certainly the members of the committee DO (or at least should). 30 seconds before the hearing was scheduled to start, we were still unsure if the hearing was going to start. Why? Because, as Ron Paul explained, “We need at least one other committee member here to call the session to order.” I’m sorry? No one shows up for this stuff? And that’s okay? At the scheduled hour, almost on the dot, we were lucky to be joined by Congressman Luetkemeyer, and the meeting was called to order."
Thanks Benjamen. I appreciated getting a more detailed explanation for his testimony that legal tender laws were not an issue.
It’s going to be illuminating to see whether the government appeals the big ruling on judges’ pay that was handed down last week at Washington. The case is called Beer v. United States. ... The plaintiffs are Judge Peter Beer and a rainbow coalition of some of the most distinguished judges on the federal bench. They have just won a ruling that prohibits Congress from suspending a system of automatic pay increases designed to protect their honors from inflation.
The judges turn out to be a special case because it is unconstitutional ever to diminish their pay. This is American bedrock that was laid down by the Founders because of the British tyrant George III. The king made judges dependent “on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries,” as America’s revolutionaries put it in the Declaration of Independence. So it was written into the United States Constitution that the compensation of judges “shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

In Beer, the judges sued under that clause after Congress suspended automatic pay increases it had established to protect their honors from inflation. What the appeals court just ruled is that Congress, in suspending the automatic pay increases, diminished the judges pay, particularly because when Congress legislated the automatic pay increases, it also established limits on the outside income judges are permitted to earn.

More broadly, at least by our lights, the ruling says, in effect, that the legal tender laws don’t apply to judges’ salaries. That is, the court is suggesting that, at least in the case of judges, 100,000 dollar bills will not suffice in 2012 for a contract to pay $100,000 that was entered into in, say, 2000. The Appeals Court packed its opinion with some prime language from the founding era.

“[N] othing can contribute more to the independence of the judges than a fixed provision for their support,” the Court quoted Alexander Hamilton as writing in 79 Federalist. It noted that at the constitutional convention at Philadelphia, where the Founders sat that summer in 1787, James Madison urged that variations in the value of money could be “guarded agst. by taking for a standard wheat or some other thing of permanent value.”

Madison’s wheat gambit was rejected, the court noted, and Founders did not tie judges pay to “any commodity.” Quoth the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: “The framers instead acknowledged that ‘fluctuations in the value of money, and in the state of society, rendered a fixed rate of compensation [for judges] in the Constitution inadmissible.’” It was quoting 79 Federalist again. It noted that the constitutional convention voiced concerns “to protect judicial compensation against economic fluctuation.”

It turns out, though, that the historical record is clear what the Founders thought dollars were. They used the word “dollars” twice in the Constitution. By a dollar they meant 371 and ¼ grains of pure silver or a 15th as many grains of gold. That’s the way Congress defined a dollar in law under the Articles of Confederation and the way Congress defined it in law in the first Coinage Act of the constitutional era.

The idea that a dollar could be worth a different number of grains of silver or gold at the end of a contract than it meant at the beginning of a contract would have horrified George Washington and nearly all of the other Founders (Benjamin Franklin, a printer, had a vested interest in paper money). So would the idea that the dollar would be permitted to decline over a decade to but a sixth of the number of grains of gold at which it was valued at the start of a decade. That is what has just happened in America.

The court deciding Beer didn’t get into legal tender per se. But the legal tender question is the elephant in the courtroom, so to speak. If a dollar can’t be diminished for judges — that is, if the legal tender laws are not good enough for judges — why should they be good enough for the rest of us? If they are not good enough for the contract between the government and judges, why should they be good enough for contracts between private parties?

Or, to put it another way, the rest of us folk might as well be amici as the courts start to grapple with constitutional money. The diminishment of their salaries has driven the federal judges nearly to distraction, and understandably so, precisely because they are honest men and women. The chief justices — most recently Chief Justices Roberts and Rehnquist — have been warning about it for decades. The Great Scalia issued an impassioned warning about the problem here in New York just the other day.

We don’t know whether the Supreme Court will be asked to hear an appeal of Beer. If it is asked, it may decline. But if the nine are asked to take a final look at the case, the question for them to start thinking about is less the promises of Congress — although breaking such a promise is enough of a diminishment for us — and more about the meaning of money. The fact is that Americans are just as upset about the harm being done to them by fiat money as the judges are.
Forbes is really amping up the drum beats lately...
To that end, when he takes office, President Romney should urge Congress to pass a bill similar to that proposed by Ron Paul, the Free Competition in Currency Act, which would abolish all federal taxes on gold and silver bullion, as well as ban state and local taxes on them. It would explicitly allow gold-based monetary transactions and would remove the onerous reporting rules that now afflict gold and silver bullion buyers.
The tide is turning on this issue. On the national level we should do as Utah did in 2011: eliminate all taxes on transactions in gold and silver bullion. When you “purchase” a $20 bill for two $10 bills, you don’t pay sales tax. When you exchange dollars for euros, you don’t pay a government tax on the transaction. Utah decreed that U.S.-minted gold and silver coins are legal as currency.

An interesting historical fact is that until 1933 the U.S. government itself issued gold-based dollars that floated freely with currencies issued by numerous national banks.
NY Sun with another brilliant piece:
“We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80%.”

So said President Obama in the middle of the great debate in respect of foreign policy. We take it as one of the most maddening moments in the whole campaign. ... If Mr. Obama comprehends how bad it is for Iran that its currency has shed 80% of its value, why doesn’t he comprehend that about a dollar that has lost 50% of its value under his presidency alone?

The point seemed to go right by Mr. Romney. Gee, willikers, what is it going to take to get the Republican candidate to make an issue of the collapse of the dollar? Its value has plunged under Mr. Obama to less than a 1,750th of an ounce of gold from the 850th of an ounce of gold it was worth on the day Mr. Obama was sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. It may be that Mr. Romney doesn’t want to press that point for strategic reasons — under the last Republican president, after all, the dollar shed nearly as much of its value as the 80% the rial has lost. That is, the vallue of the dollar under President George W. Bush plunged to an 850th of an ounce of gold from a 265th of an ounce of gold.
Rep. Paul Broun Jr. of Georgia has introduced the "Free Competition in Currency Act of 2013" in the 113th Congress. This bill contains the same provisions as bills previously introduced by former Congressman Ron Paul, which seek to repeal legal tender laws and prohibit taxation on certain coins and bullion.

The newly introduced bill H.R. 77 ...
Rep. Paul Broun Jr. has also reintroduced Ron Pauls' legislation calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve. The bill H.R. 24 currently has five co-sponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on Financial Services.

Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed" bill had passed the House in the last session of Congress 327-98 with 274 cosponsors. The Senate failed to act on the bill before the end of the 112th Congress.

In a statement included in a press release, Rep. Broun indicated his desire "to pick up right where Congressman Paul left off."
All eyes will be on President Obama tomorrow when he fulfills his constitutional obligation to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” All sorts of topics are in the advance headlines, from jobs, to the budget crisis, to gay rights, to the war. All of them are worthy of attention by the President and the Congress.

Yet we haven’t seen in the headlines about the pending presidential palaver even one mention of the topic that, by our lights, rises above all the others. This is the state of the dollar. ...

This topic happens to be getting hotter by the week. The biggest development of late, in our book, was the decision of the Wall Street Journal to issue the op-ed piece by John Taylor warning that the supposedly stimulative monetary policy that Chairman Bernanke and his colleagues have been running is actually a drag on the recovery. That would be like a fire department discovering that the water with which it is hosing down a blaze is flammable.

So what in the world does the President think of monetary policy? Why has he been so all-fired mum on the subject? ...

The Federal Reserve, for the first time in its 100-year history, is on the verge of operating with just three governors, the New York Times is reporting this morning. It says that the “dwindling of its board” is “straining the Fed’s ability to manage its complex responsibilities.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s not yet clear whether Congress will rise to the occasion and — oh, say — audit the Fed to see what is going on there. This is a crisis that Senator Rand Paul, for one, wants to avoid wasting.

What precipitated the Times story is the pending departure of Governor Stein, who chairs two committees at the Fed. “He is also the only remaining member of those committees,” the Times’ Binyamin Appelbaum notes dryly. He also notes that three nominees to the Fed board are awaiting Senate confirmation but adds that “so are scores of other nominees to other offices.” He quotes Senate Democrats as saying there is a “real chance” that “no vote will be held before Mr. Stein departs at the end of this month.”
Enter the junior senator of Kentucky, Dr. Paul. He is warning the majority leader in the upper chamber, Harry Reid, that he will do his best to delay those votes unless the Democrats allow a vote on his Federal Reserve Transparency Act. The measure would redeem the campaign of Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul, to audit the Fed. ...
... the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014.” H.R. 5018 would, as Mr. Taylor describes it in his Web log, require the Fed to adopt a “rules-based policy.” The Fed would make the rules. It would then have to submit them to Congress, and be transparent about whether it is following them. ...

... The measure is all the more significant for the fact that it is part of the wider ferment going in in the 113th Congress over monetary policy. ... Among measures we’re watching:

Centennial Monetary Commission Act, or H.R. 1176, which is being nursed by the chairman of the House-Senate Jooint Economic Committee, Congressman Kevin Brady, to examine monetary policy since the creation, a century ago, of the Federal Reserve;

Sound Dollar Act, or H.R. 1174, another Brady project, which would, among other things, including on the Open Market Committee more presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks, get tougher with the International Monetary Fund, and focus monetary policy on price stability;

Free Competition in Currency Act, H.R. 77, which was introduced by a Republican of Georgia, Paul Broun, and would codify Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek’s idea of the deantionalization of money by ending legal tender status of United States fiat scrip and open the system to privately-issued competing currencies, and end any tax arising from the spending of gold or silver;

Sound Money Promotion Act, S. 768, offered by Senator Mike Lee of Utah, would exempt from taxation any gold and silver coins declared to be legal tender by either the federal government or any state government, extending nationally the most radical monetary measure to be enacted anywhere in recent years, the Utah Sound Money Act, which makes gold and silver coins legal tender in the Beehive State and removes state taxes arising from spending them.

Federal Reserve Transparency Act, or S. 209, offered by Senator Rand Paul, renews the drive to audit the Federal Reserve launched by the senator’s father, Ron Paul, to audit the Federal Reserve. His father’s measure passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in 2012 and is being offered by Mr. Broun in the lower chamber in the 113th Congress as H.R. 24.
Legal tender law takes away your ability to plan for the future. It replaces a hundred million individual decisions whether or not to have tea, with a giant high-pressure fire hose that blasts hot wastewater indiscriminately. No matter whether they open the spigot further, or close it slightly, the scalding deluge of Fed credit is not in any way equivalent to the individual planning, saving, and borrowing that would go on if we had a free market.
One of the main arguments The Fed and it's agents in D.C. use to undermine support for an audit of the Fed is that it would subject the Fed to political interference - that they are currently apolitical.

Moments after the "disestablishment" Ted Cruz (even if Goldman may have a lien or two on said disestablishmentarianism), was announced to be the winner of the Iowa Caucus, a most unexpected commentator appeared among the flood of the otherwise traditional Twitter drivel with what can only be classified as the pinnacle of polarizing political commentary.

What is most surprising is that the source of this commentary was none other than the entity that is, at least in theory, supposed to be the most apolitical organization in the US: the Federal Reserve, and specifically the Fed which spawned current Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, the San Fran Fed.

The tweet in question appeared at precisely 10:56pm Eastern, or 7:45pm Pacific, and it was the following:



As it happens, “X” correlates with Nixon shutting down the Bretton Woods gold standard in 1971 and the epic failure to get it fixed and restored in 1973. The drag, after a modest lag, filtered into the working economy. The rest is persistent stagnation for median families.

It was the destruction of the (dilute) gold standard which precipitated the death, or at least long coma, of the American Dream. That, in turn, caused the ensuing degradation “in our moral, social, political and economic values” as America turned Hobbesian.
Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve ... advocates a return to the gold standard as a way to create financial, economic and monetary stability:
Greenspan said:
“If we went back on the gold standard and we adhered to the actual structure of the gold standard as it existed prior to 1913, we’d be fine. Remember that the period 1870 to 1913 was one of the most aggressive periods economically that we’ve had in the United States, and that was a golden period of the gold standard. I’m known as a gold bug and everyone laughs at me, but why do central banks own gold now?”

The ZH bit links to a Bloomberg Surveillance show (embedded video on Bloomberg) that is 36 minutes long. I didn't watch it to see if ZH took Greenspan's comment out of context, but wow. It's been a while since I've caught wind of Greenspan saying anything that assertive about the gold standard. That last question reminds me so much of when Ron Paul questioned Ben Bernanke and asked him the same thing.


edit: original source is actually GoldCore:

They aren't prone to hyperbole or twisting facts in my experience.

edit #2: GATA says gold standard comments come at 18:25 mark in the video. Comments confirmed.
Al has always been a gold bug but once he was put in charge of the fed he had to support the $.

What is heartening is that it gets harder to argue that gold is a useless relic as more wake up to the fact that gold is the place of safety that the hedgies and the likes of Soros chose when things got difficult.

Can only be good for POG going forward (-:
What's up bugs?!?! Been a while since I've been on this site. When I saw this on zerohedge I had a sneaking suspicion there would be mention of it here. As mentioned in the above posts Alan has always been a goldbug but still good to show consistency. I don't think there is any plans to implement this but good to be recognized from a former fed leader and highly respected banker, if there is such a thing. Anyway hope you all are doing well, good to be back from my hiatus.
Hey w&y999, glad to see you are still around. :) This fool on the hill is still watching the world go 'round.
hey white n yellow
good to hear from you.

Did you buy gold around the time this little community first got together ?

and are you up, down or about even at this time ?
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