December 3, 2022

Ron Paul – “The World Will Abandon The Dollar As The Global Reserve Currency”

In August Ron Paul accused the U.S. Treasury “guilty of counterfeiting dollars” by virtue of its monopoly power on money in America.  Paul noted that the expanding role of the Federal Reserve in monetizing government debt has resulted in a massive debasement of the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar.

Continued reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve and massive government deficits will ultimately result in the loss of confidence by holders of  U.S. dollars.  Ron Paul sees the U.S. dollar inexorably losing its status as global reserve currency unless the dollar is backed by precious metals or commodities.

Evidence of the horrendous loss of purchasing power by the U.S. dollar is not hard to understand.  The average citizen sees it everyday as higher prices and lower incomes relentlessly lower our standard of living.   The systematic destruction of the U.S. dollar’s purchasing power can be seen in a chart published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

How Long Will the Dollar Remain the World’s Reserve Currency?

By: Congressman Ron Paul

We frequently hear the financial press refer to the U.S. dollar as the “world’s reserve currency,” implying that our dollar will always retain its value in an ever shifting world economy.  But this is a dangerous and mistaken assumption.

Since August 15, 1971, when President Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of our remaining 280 million ounces of gold, the U.S. dollar has operated as a pure fiat currency.  This means the dollar became an article of faith in the continued stability and might of the U.S. government.

In essence, we declared our insolvency in 1971.   Everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets.

Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it– not even a pretense of gold convertibility! Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC in the 1970s to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence backed the dollar with oil.

In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement helped ignite radical Islamic movements among those who resented our influence in the region. The arrangement also gave the dollar artificial strength, with tremendous financial benefits for the United States. It allowed us to export our monetary inflation by buying oil and other goods at a great discount as the dollar flourished.

In 2003, however, Iran began pricing its oil exports in Euro for Asian and European buyers.  The Iranian government also opened an oil bourse in 2008 on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf for the express purpose of trading oil in Euro and other currencies. In 2009 Iran completely ceased any oil transactions in U.S. dollars.  These actions by the second largest OPEC oil producer pose a direct threat to the continued status of our dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a threat which partially explains our ongoing hostility toward Tehran.

While the erosion of our petrodollar agreement with OPEC certainly threatens the dollar’s status in the Middle East, an even larger threat resides in the Far East.  Our greatest benefactors for the last twenty years– Asian central banks– have lost their appetite for holding U.S. dollars.  China, Japan, and Asia in general have been happy to hold U.S. debt instruments in recent decades, but they will not prop up our spending habits forever.  Foreign central banks understand that American leaders do not have the discipline to maintain a stable currency.

If we act now to replace the fiat system with a stable dollar backed by precious metals or commodities, the dollar can regain its status as the safest store of value among all government currencies.  If not, the rest of the world will abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency.

Both Congress and American consumers will then find borrowing a dramatically more expensive proposition. Remember, our entire consumption economy is based on the willingness of foreigners to hold U.S. debt.  We face a reordering of the entire world economy if the federal government cannot print, borrow, and spend money at a rate that satisfies its endless appetite for deficit spending.

Ron Paul – “U.S. Treasury Guilty of Counterfeiting Dollars”

When Ron Paul retires after his current term in Congress, one of the most notable voices for a sound currency and protection of civil liberties against a despotic government will be gone from the official Washington scene.  Although Paul was never able to rein in a government that assumes more power over our lives with each passing minute, his warnings gave Americans the opportunity to understand the threats to their financial future and personal liberties.

What may be one of Ron Paul’s last legislative efforts is his campaign to allow competing currencies in the United States in order to break the monopoly on money by the Treasury and Federal Reserve.

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.

Ron Paul is routinely dismissed as a naif by the Federal Reserve and Treasury.  Yet a quick look at the  chart of the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar (published by the St. Louis Fed) proves the legitimacy of Ron Paul’s concerns.  Federal Reserve policies have resulted in the systematic destruction of the purchasing power of the consumer dollar.

Will Ron Paul be successful in his quest to legalize a competing U.S. currency?  Let’s look at Paul’s track record.

Of the 620 bills that Paul had sponsored through December 2011, over a period of more than 22 years in Congress, only one had been signed into law – a lifetime success rate of less than 0.3%.   The sole measure authored by Paul that was ultimately enacted allowed for a federal customhouse to be sold to a local historic preservation society (H.R. 2121 in 2009).

Although Ron Paul’s crusade against corrupt government and the Federal Reserve is a losing battle, the value of his message is invaluable.   Ron Paul has seen the future of constant U.S. dollar debasement and positioned his personal portfolio heavily into gold and silver – something that the average American should think about.

Have Gold Investors Become Too Bullish? Ask The Same Question At $5,000

Have too many investors gotten overly bullish on gold?

After a stunning advance of almost $200 per ounce from last year’s closing price, some are asking if gold has gotten ahead of itself.  After advancing almost nonstop since the beginning of the year, gold sold off sharply, dropping by $32.50 to close in New York trading at $1725.90.

Analyst Mark Hulbert, who tracks investor sentiment as reported in the Hulbert Gold Newsletter, reports that bullish sentiment on gold has become extreme.  At the end of 2011, short term gold timers were completely out of the gold market.  The Hulbert Gold Newsletter Sentiment Index (HGNSI) registered 0.3% on December 29th compared to 51% today.  Mr. Hulbert sees the rapid return to bullishness by gold investors as a worrisome signal and notes that the HGNSI never got as high as it is today when gold previously traded at current price levels.

Mr. Hulbert notes that his indicator can be early as was the case last year.  In early December Hulbert noted that bearish sentiment was reaching extreme levels but gold subsequently plunged from $1,752 on December 1st to $1,574.50 on December 30th.

One indicator of gold sentiment that does not seem to be signaling an imminent sharp correction in gold is the CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index (Gold VIX) which measures gold volatility based on SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) options trading.  As bearish put positions on the GLD increase, the VIX rises as it did last August prior to a sharp correction in the price of gold.  After peaking at 40 last year, the VIX is currently at 22.

CBOE Gold VIX (GVZ) - courtesy cboe.com

 

Could the price of gold correct in the short term? Yes.  Should long term investors who hold gold as a safe haven against a government that has an official policy of debasing the currency be worried?  No.

A short term correction is nothing more than a buying opportunity for long term investors.  Why would one care if gold corrects to $1,600 on its way to $5,000?  Here are a few items for consideration by those worried about a “correction” in the price of gold.

The U.S. has accumulated debt obligations and promises that are mathematically impossible to repay.  Neither future economic growth nor tax increases will be sufficient for the government to meet its obligations without debasing the value of the dollar.  The government is spending $1.60 for every $1.00 collected in revenues, half of all families receive some type of government payment and half of all wage earners pay no taxes.

The government’s “solution” for too much debt remains the same – more debt.  Here’s what Treasury Secretary Geithner said when he asked Congress to raise the debt limit in August 2009 when government debt totaled “only” $12.1 trillion.

“Congress has never failed to raise the debt limit when necessary. Because members of both parties have long recognized the need to keep politics away from this issue, these actions have traditionally received bipartisan support. This is clearly a moment in our history that calls for continuation of that tradition.”

As the debt burden approaches the day of reckoning, the proportion of the population actually working continues to decline.

Investors late to the party attempting to diversity into gold may find that it’s too late – gold may not be available at any price.

Gregor Macdonald notes that global gold production over the last decade has been below the average of the past 110 years.  Normally, higher prices will  result in higher supplies as producers rush to capitalize on higher prices.  Despite the fact that the price of gold has increased every year for the past decade, gold production has barely increased – there is simply not that much gold left which hasn’t already been mined.

 

Global gold production - courtesy gregor.us

A looming price correction in gold?  Bring it on!

You Know Paper Currencies Are In Trouble When Investors Flock To The “Safety” Of The Yen

Investors in paper currencies are running out of safe havens.  As Europe totters on the brink of a debt implosion and the Dow routinely plunges 1,000 points every other week, holders of paper wealth are desperately searching for a store of stable value.

Ironically, the two currencies viewed as the least risky are the Japanese yen (issued by the country with the highest debt/GDP ratio in the world) and the U.S. dollar (issued by the country with the largest amount of debt in the world).

Investors in U.S. dollars remain forever at risk to the Fed’s policies of dollar debasement and money printing, but to seek safe haven in the yen seems like an even more foolhardy proposition.  Consider It’s 1987 Without the Bubble In Japan for insights into the fundamental weakness of the economy backing the paper yen.

Japan’s labor force shrank last month to its smallest size since October 1987, when the nation’s stock-market benchmark was 185 percent higher and land prices were 85 percent greater than today.

Employers cut payrolls by 160,000 and a further 200,000 workers retired or abandoned efforts to find a job, leaving the seasonally adjusted number of employed at 59.4 million, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. Separate figures showed industrial production rose 0.8 percent from the previous month, less than all but three of 28 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.

The data deepen concern that Japan’s recovery from the March earthquake will be stunted by manufacturers shifting operations abroad because of gains in the yen, a deterioration in consumer confidence and prospects for higher taxes at home. The challenges add to the burden of an economy already beset by a shrinking and aging population.

The yen traded at 76.59 as of 12:11 p.m. in Tokyo, less than 1 percent from the post-World War II record high of 75.95 on Aug. 19. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed at 8,723.12, compared with the peak of 38,915.87 when it closed out 1989, capping a four-year run when it soared almost 200 percent.

Japan has been in a contained depression for two decades, propped up by massive deficit spending and BOJ money printing.  A double dip world recession will send Japan’s economy into a nosedive since exports account for 15% of GDP.

In order for Japan to service its crushing debt burden, they need rapid economic growth and and a large expansion of their labor force.  Will this happen?  In a word, no.  The world economy has been in a downward spiral since 2007  and massive stimulus efforts by governments and central banks have failed to contain the ongoing depression.  Making matters even worse for Japan is the fact that the Japanese are slowly exterminating themselves.  The birth rate in Japan has been plunging since the early 1970’s and has now gone negative.  An economy with a dwindling labor force and an aging population has little hope of servicing a massive debt burden.

Japan population growth: Courtesy google.com

 

The appreciation of the yen is forcing Japanese companies to fire domestic employees and move operations overseas in order to remain competitive.   The Japanese government has intervened numerous times in the currency markets, trying to force the yen lower without success.  Despite the weak fundamentals of the Japanese economy and a suffocating level of debt, the yen continues to appreciate, suggesting that investors perceive other currencies to be riskier than the yen.   The yen has gained the dubious distinction of being the cleanest shirt in the dirty laundry.

 

Yen - courtesy stockcharts.com

There is no way of predicting how long the value of the paper yen can defy economic reality.  Markets will eventually price to fundamental values and investors will question the value of all paper currencies.  At this point, gold will rightfully be perceived as the only currency with real value.  What price level gold will soar to during the chaos of collapsing currencies cannot be predicted – what can be predicted is that holders of gold will be the only ones left holding a currency with any value.

 

 

 

 

A Perspective On The Plunge In Gold and Silver

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke set the world on fire this week as his latest scheme to “twist” long term interest rates lower pleased no one and triggered a 737 point drop in the Dow.  In addition, the Fed panicked investors by admitting that there were “significant downside risks to the economic outlook”.

Virtually every asset class except U.S. treasuries went into full scale meltdowns.  The U.S. stock market registered its worst weekly drop since the dark days of October 2008 when the  U.S. banking system was collapsing.

The rush to liquidity and forced margin selling sent precious metal prices into a tailspin. London silver plunged by $7.07 or 18%, to $32.90, the biggest decline since 1987.  Gold, as measured by the closing London PM Fix Price, dropped $105 on the week to $1,689, the largest weekly decline since 1983.  Spot prices for both gold and silver continued lower in New York afternoon trading with gold settling at $1658.20 and silver at $31.03.

Platinum dropped by $147 on the week to $1,651 and palladium dropped by $73 to $659 for losses of 8.18% and 9.97%, respectively.  Silver, with 60% of its demand relating to industrial use,  took the largest plunge in the precious metals group as economic indicators pointed to a rapidly slowing economy worldwide.

Precious Metals Prices Sept 23
9/23PM Fix Weekly Change
Gold $1,689.00 -105.00 -5.85%
Silver $32.90 -7.07 -17.69%
Platinum $1,651.00 -147.00 -8.18%
Palladium $659.00 -73.00 -9.97%

Although the sharp declines in gold and silver are unsettling, the fundamental reasons for owning gold and silver remain intact.  The rapid price increases in gold and silver since July attracted large investment flows from hedge funds and other short term speculators, who rapidly liquidate large positions based on short term technical sell signals.

Despite this week’s panic selling, long term gold investors have seen their investment rise from $1,405.50 at the beginning of the year, for a gain of $283.50 (20.2%).  Silver, despite this week’s painful sell off, is still higher by $2.23 or 7.3% from the beginning of the year, as measured by the closing London PM Fix Price.

For additional perspective on the relative performance of the gold and silver markets, here’s the record for various stock indices and the 10 year bond since the beginning of 2011.  (Note that the 10 year bond shows yield, not price.)

Asset Performance - courtesy schwab.com

Meanwhile, as the global financial system rapidly moves towards the precipice, faith in the ability of governments to contain the crisis is quickly eroding.  2011 is not a replay of the 2008 financial meltdown – it’s much more dangerous.  The sovereign governments that “saved the system” in 2008 incurred massive amounts of debt which have brought them to the brink of insolvency.  The bankruptcy of one country could ignite a financial firestorm that world governments cannot contain.

The inability of European leaders to effectively act in concert to resolve the Euro debt crisis has drawn the United States into the center of the crisis.  According to The New York Times, the U.S. is pushing Europe to mount a massive bailout to avoid financial Armageddon.

The Obama administration, increasingly alarmed by the spillover effects of Europe’s financial crisis, has begun an intensive lobbying campaign to persuade Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and other leaders to ramp up efforts to stem any contagion from the debt crisis in Greece.

In phone calls and meetings over the last week, President Obama urged Mrs. Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to take coordinated measures — including spending billions in additional funds to bail out Greece and bolster European financial institutions — to prevent Greece’s debt woes from spreading to its neighbors.

“The biggest single risk to the United States today is that the European situation will spiral out of control,” said Edwin M. Truman, a former Treasury official who is now at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Europe is not going to save the U.S. economy, but it could be the straw that breaks it.”

Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economist who has written about the history of financial crises, puts Europe’s effect on the United States in blunt political terms. “The downside scenario is awful,” he said…

American officials have also emphasized the Fed’s outsize role in responding to the financial crisis here and urged Europe to view the Fed as a model. It made trillions of dollars in loans so that investors remained able to buy and sell a wide range of financial products.

Given the risks to the United States economy from a banking collapse and sovereign defaults in Europe, anyone who thinks that the United States will not be getting deeply involved in the financial bailout of Europe is delusional.  The “rescue” of Europe will ultimately involve the same techniques (zero interest rates and money printing) used by Bernanke in the United States.  The resulting negative interest rates and worldwide debasement of paper currencies will ultimately send gold soaring to new highs.

Ron Paul Goes All In On Gold and Silver

Rep. Ron Paul, a long time critic of the Fed and advocate of the gold standard, is all in on gold and silver.  Ron Paul has consistently warned of the dangers of a Fed gone wild on easy money and a Government that has borrowed itself into financial oblivion.

The “Honest Money” essay on the Ron Paul website is an all time favorite explanation of how money and inflation work and has drawn almost 6,000 comments.

What, then, is fiat money? It’s exactly what we just talked about: money that can be inflated or increased at the push of a button at the say-so of a powerful person or organization. Nowadays most dollars are just blips on a computer screen and it’s extremely easy for the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air whenever they want to.

As you can see, inflation and fiat money are very seductive and beneficial to those at the top, and very dangerous to everyone else and the nation as a whole. That’s exactly what Henry Ford was talking about. He knew that every country that relies too much on fiat money is ruined sooner rather than later.

There is only one possible solution to the inflation problem: Stop creating money out of thin air. But we’re already in such a mess that the only way to have a real impact on the money supply is to increase interest rates so that people pay back their loans and borrow less money from the banks, which decreases the amount of money in circulation. However, higher interest rates might very well crash the economy. So the Fed’s current “solution” to overcoming inflation is… creating even more of it.

Fiat money is a dangerous addiction. Even if the Fed found a way to stop inflation, as long as the current system persists the temptation will always be there to resume pushing the easy money button. That’s why we need to get back on the gold standard and eliminate the Federal Reserve altogether.

In order to protect the purchasing power of his savings, Ron Paul has implemented the sound advice that he has been dispensing to America for many years.

As disclosed in Barron’s this weekend, Ron Paul’s top 10 holdings listed in required financial statement disclosures show that his portfolio is 100% in gold and silver mining stocks.  Ron Paul apparently also owns gold bullion, but the disclosure of asset holdings that may be considered as collectibles is not required.

Without getting into a discussion of the merits of a diversified investment portfolio, Ron Paul’s 100% investment allocation to gold and silver demonstrate his integrity.  If someone believes that the Government is persistently and continually debasing the value of the currency, why would you not invest exclusively in gold and silver?

Ron Paul has taken steps to protect himself from the disastrous affects that Federal Reserve policies will ultimately have on the value of the U.S. currency.  The average American would be well advised to follow his lead.

Here is Ron Paul’s portfolio as disclosed by Barron’s.

Ron Paul portfolio - courtesy Barron's

Ron Paul – The U.S. Is Already Defaulting On The Debt

Ron Paul, the embodiment of common sense and classic American values, spoke today about the U.S. debt crisis in an interview on The Daily Ticker.

Rep. Paul made the point that few people see any real value in U.S. government debt securities and are holding them only as a temporary place to keep their money.  “That’s why people are going to gold as a reserve and a place to put their money”.

Ron Paul said that Washington does not understand how dangerous a situation the Country is in and that “nothing will change”.  Default on the debt would be “a big deal” and Paul thinks that Congress will raise the debt limit and that all payments on U.S. debt will made.

Ron Paul noted, however, that governments like our “always default, the default is we pay our debts with money with less value.  Bernanke is actually working very hard at this, he wants the price inflation to go up so that the dollar goes down in value.  So we get to the point in two years or so that you can take the national debt of $14 trillion and turn it into $7 trillion or real value.  They want the dollar devalued – that’s how countries default.  So the default is ongoing and that is very dangerous…”.

Meanwhile, President Obama said “America is stressed out”.  Yes, Mr. Obama, the country is stressed out – by failed economic policies propagated by the elite political class and special interest groups in Washington who serve Wall Street and the Big Banks rather than the American public.

America has reached the tipping point from policies that have given us a crash in housing values, no job gains over the past decade, zero return on our savings, higher inflation, dollar debasement and a decline in real incomes.   Middle class households who have not allocated a substantial portion of their savings to gold or silver have seen their wealth decimated.

In a rare display of candor, Treasury Secretary Geithner admitted in an interview this week that  “It’s going to feel very hard, harder than anything they’ve experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come.”  Now if only the politicians would be honest with us,we might be able to establish a better plan for a path to recovery other than unlimited money printing.