Fix the Money, Fix the Government

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In the midst of all this incredible political and economic chaos, I was tasked with packing up my mother’s things to prepare for her move to assisted living. It’s a gravely emotional experience for anyone, as I’m sure you know.

I adore that woman, and going through her house offered ten thousand reminders. The house held 100 years or more of family history. All this stuff takes up space. With everyone on the move, it’s hard to find a good home for things anymore. My brother and I had to make some hard choices.

Along the way, I opened a small safe and found a lockbox, and opened it. It was my father’s collection of coins. What was in there hadn’t been seen by anyone for perhaps 25 years (he died rather young). It was startling and amazing to see. It was like finding buried treasure. There were coins from all over the world, gold, and silver. I’m not sure that I knew that he was a collector.

There were all the usual gold and silver bullion coins from all lands, all worth the price of their metal content. All are vastly up in value from when he bought them. There were also hundreds of silver dimes. And there were plenty of numismatics too and because I don’t know my way around this world, I’ll let the experts determine their value.

I won’t tell you the total value for reasons of privacy but I will say that he made a very good investment. Stocks are fun and swing this way and that but these coins are stable, true, and always faithful. Dad knew that. He was right.

And thumbing through the collection always reminded me of his personal values. Yes, he was old-fashioned, you could say. He rallied around faith, family, honesty, hard work, productivity, great art, hard history, big books, deep learning, prayer, community service, caring for others, all those things.

He was not only an astute investor, preferring value over speculation. This is why he was drawn to hard money. You can tell the history of the world through coins. There is an element of tragedy here too, looking through coins from a time when money was sound, government was small, and Americans believed in liberty and independence. The Constitution was taken seriously: gold and silver were minted as money.

The coinage suggested that too. The dimes were silver. The nickels were larger because they had less silver and more… nickel. Dollars were silver from the old Spanish world Thaler. The half dollar was… half a dollar. What does this suggest? It suggests that government did not create money; it inherited it from the long history of commercial enterprise, dating even back to the late Middle Ages.

Then there is the gold. Dad must have loved the American Eagle coin because it suggested hope. Instead of banning gold ownership, the U.S. Treasury started in 1984 minting the coins for the people to own (stamping a dollar value on them was an odd choice that made them useless as legal tender). Dad could not buy enough.

But he also loved gold coins from all over the world. I found memos alongside some, in which he explained why he liked this one or that.

These coins symbolize hope even today, a look back and a reminder that such times did exist. It is not in our imagination. Citizens used to carry truth and honesty in their pockets! Trade was calculated in something unchanging and valuable independent of government control. A government that mints and distributes sound money trusts its people with their own lives. They also make inflation as we know it essentially impossible.

The Fed is a good printer. It is a terrible alchemist. So if you want to get rid of inflation once and for all, there is a way. Get rid of the Fed and make the dollar good as gold again. Make the dimes silver. Forget this embarrassing baloney-sandwich stuff we use today. Let’s get back to truth. Not lies, like the Inflation Reduction Act or whatever they call it.

Think of it this way. State governments don’t have central banks. That’s why they have to balance their budgets. Without federal subsidies, the size and scope of their power would be strictly limited. The Fed, on the other hand, hands the U.S. Congress blank checks that cannot bounce and invites Congress to write on them any amount they want.

Get rid of that power and Congress would be forced to balance its book, simply because otherwise the bond markets would add an intolerable risk premium to U.S. debt. Indeed, the United States would risk default unless it got its fiscal house in order. That mechanism of restraint is far better than a new spending rule or even a constitutional amendment because it does not depend on political will.

What are the chances for such fundamental reform? The 1984 Republican platform included a call to restore the gold standard. It was weak but there: “The Gold Standard may be a useful mechanism for realizing the Federal Reserve’s determination to adopt monetary policies needed to sustain price stability.”

Could that happen today? It’s doubtful. The government is in too much debt and the people are too dependent on inflationary meddling. Leviathan would be impossible under a sound money regime. And tragically today so much of American life is about the perpetuation of Leviathan. The Fed is the magic money machine that makes it all possible.

On the other hand, perhaps the crisis is so intense that people are ready for big changes. With a gold standard, would the CDC be permitted to run roughshod over American rights and liberties? Would the United States so blithely jump into global political conflicts? It all comes down to resources. With the Fed, they are unlimited. Without the Fed, the government would have to balance its accounts. A real Inflation Reduction Act would abolish the Fed and make the dollar good as gold.

People everywhere these days are asking what they should do with their money because there seems to be few ways of making it without losing it. That’s how inflation works. You have to earn a high return above the inflation rate to feel good. It’s a rat race, even if it is a necessary one. But you know what’s not a rat race? Getting a safe, a cotton bag, and filling it with coins, a bit at a time. Keep them for years, decades, generations.

It’s a truism in the investment world that you buy gold and silver not for its short-term return but for long-term security. What does this mean? Over time, gold keeps its value. But more than that, it symbolizes what it means to keep our values, as people, as societies, as nations. They are physical objects but more than that, they embody a philosophy of living.

Think about this. One day your children or grandchildren will be rifling through your stuff and they might come across your collection of gold and silver. Do you think their esteem for you will rise? Absolutely it will. It shows that you thought about the very long term, not just the next investment cycle or election but lifetimes and generations.

In a world of fleeting values and ceaseless and often pointless change, here we have something that we can both believe in and own. It’s real wealth, wealth for the ages, stuff we can carry in our pockets. Now we carry “smartphones” that have become spying devices for government.

Packing up my mother’s things was an emotional experience. Mostly I will never forget the smile on her face when she saw all my father’s coins for the first time in decades. She remembered what a great man he was and how much she loved him.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Jeffrey A. Tucker


Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently “Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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