Ah, wealth! Clink of golden-colored dollars keeps us fooled, satisfied

The two golden-colored U.S. coins on the right are base metal, like the quarter. But the Indian princess coins are dressed up to look like gold. The three coins on the left are much closer to being honest. The Morgan dollar is a real dollar containing silver. The two half-ounce gold Liberty coins are of known fineness and thus a safe repository for value in an age of inflation, debt and bankruptcy.

You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put into a bag with holes.

— Haggai 1:6

If I am anxious this Veterans Day about the future of the American people, it is because of the clinking sound in my righthand pants pocket.

The noise from two golden-colored Sacagawea F$1 coins is light, a tickling dingling note when I woggle my fingers in the pocket.

If you have real dollars in your pocket and vibrate your fingertips, the sound is quite different. I carry a wireless phone in my pants pocket. Next to it I tote a small zippered coin purse. Inside the purse I carry the requisite quarters, dimes and pennies for regular commerce. I also carry a couple of well-circulated Morgan dollars, which honor the U.S. constitution’s money provisions. In need of a penny, I pour all my change into a palm. “Wow, what is that?” the cashier says, agog at the hefty silver coin that flashes at him.

Real money sounds different from the usual fare of Sacagaweas and dimes. Silver makes a heavy, thudding clink, a clank nearly. Denser coin, denser jingle.

Means of ‘total confiscation’

My chatty economics mini lesson, like the varying notes of monetary music, is directed to the clerk, but also to myself. I remind myself of my status. I am an American deprived of real money in which inhere freedom, privacy and wealth. My coins clink this way or that. But the chain around my ankle, also a base metal, thungs and rattles. My servitude is secured by the national economy’s chief lender, the Fed, and its collection agent, the U.S. government, and its uneasy retainers, state governments.

Uncle Sam’s creation of unbacked dollars since 1964, when the U.S. abandoned honest money, has so wrecked the dollar as a means of exchange that it takes F$7.46 today to buy the same goods in the marketplace as $1 used to, according to the U.S. bureau of labor statistics. The real picture is far worse. If you want to buy $1,000 (real money) you have to spend at least F$20,000 to obtain it. ‡  (F = Federal Reserve paper money, with its odd lightness.)

The Sacagawea dollar is made of copper, and its golden sheen is a polished manganese brass. It looks like a rich and valuable piece of money. The coin has been produced by the U.S. Mint since 2000, and is as unpopular as the silver-colored Susan B. Anthony dollar that preceded it. Compared to a comparably sized gold bullion coin, it is feathery, emits a cheery ching sound when dropped onto a countertop.

“[T]he present monetary provisions of the United States Code demonstrate that official Washington, D.C., has no conception of what a ‘dollar’ really is,” says Edwin Vieira Jr., a monetary expert.

The reason for this self-imposed ignorance is obvious. By reducing the “dollar” to a political abstraction, the national government has empowered itself to engage in limitless debasement (depreciation in purchasing power) of the currency. A “dollar” that contains — and must perforce of the Constitution contain — 371.25 grains of fine silver cannot be reduced in value below the market exchange value of silver for other commodities. A pseudo-“dollar” that contains no fixed amount of any particular substance per “dollar” can be reduced in value infinitely. As debasement of currency amounts to a hidden tax, Congress’ silent refusal to recognize the constitutional “dollar” amounts to the usurpation of an unlimited power to tax through manipulation of the monetary system. Thus, modern “money” has become a means for the total confiscation of private property by the government.

The excitement of national ruin

You’re not a coin collector, and neither am I. My interest in coins extends as far as they express a moral system and worldview. Honest money arises from a godly perspective, inflationary money from the grandees who put holes in your bag. The circumstances Mr. Vieira explores in his important works are not amenable to change by whomever is elected president.

The only national figure who understands the painful reality we face is Ron Paul, the candidate humiliated by Republican party machinations and sleights of hand. He and his son Rand understand the money question. Yet they have not been given by God to save U.S. Inc. from bankruptcy.

When the Philistines killed King Saul, they destroyed his household, even his son Jonathan, a godly man who was King David’s friend. God works through covenants, and even the innocent perish when a house is judged. An expression of this perspective comes from David Fowler of the Family Action Coalition of Tennessee. He recognizes God’s hand of judgment against Americans, though I doubt he would acquit Christians as innocent.

Am I depressed about the election? Not really. I really don’t know that there would have been any change in our final course even had Romney won and the R’s captured the Senate. When God looses his judgment, there is nothing we’re going to do to turn it back other than repent and we’re not ready to repent so long as we think we can elect the right people and divert the consequences of our rebellion. Washington and both parties are broken and the difference between Tuesday’s results and what I’d hoped for was, for me, like the difference between dying of a massive heart attack (maybe the “fiscal cliff”?) and dying of congestive heart failure. Both conditions are fatal. I know that’s not too cheery, but if we think of brokenness leading to repentance, then the sooner we “break,” the sooner the healing can come.

Mr. Fowler recognizes that a spirit of brokenness in you, or in me, won’t by itself bring redemption or rescue to the country. What he has in view is the work of the Holy Spirit, starting with none other than professing Christians, the visible church in its hundreds of factions and divisions, from the great to the small, from the reformed to the weak.

‡ I put the F in front of the common dollar to help you avoid the confusion between honest money and the private issue notes of that central bank, the so-called Federal Reserve Note or “dollar bill.” I picked up this designation from years of reading The Moneychanger newsletter, published out of Westpoint, Tenn.


Edwin Vieira Jr., “What is a ‘Dollar’? An Historical Analysis of the Fundamental Question in Monetary Policy,” National Alliance for Constitutional Money Inc. (New York)

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