Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Prince of Paper Ascends the Throne

by Morgan Reynolds

(sorry, I don't have a link to this article so I had to post the whole thing)

Name the three most important issues in politics: War in Iraq? Abortion? Domestic spying? None of the above. Nothing is more important than money, money, money - its quality and who controls it. We all know it in our gut - money means our livelihoods, our retirements, the life-blood of commerce plus an obese Government feasting on newly printed moolah daily. Money is “the most important thing in the world,” as playwright George Bernard Shaw said, yet it is wrapped in mystery because politicians and the Fed do not want the people to understand it.

On February 1st, Ben S. Bernanke, prince of paper, succeeds Alan Greenspan on the throne at the Federal Reserve Board, the cabal that has mismanaged US money and banking since 1913. Bernanke has the power to screw things up royally and he is off to a fast start: gold has gone up nearly $100 an ounce since Bush nominated him.

Bernanke’s resume is unmarred by real-world experience, so he is perfect for the job. He will be a disaster because he is wrong about virtually everything. He claims devotion to “long-run price stability” and “continuity” with the policies of the Greenspan Fed. He cannot be both. Greenspan’s inflationary policies have boosted the government’s consumer price index by 67%. That is the opposite of “long-run price stability.” Consumer prices have risen every year for a half-century. I detect a pattern here; it’s called a rip-off.

Before B.S. Bernanke is done, he will make Greenspan look like a tight-money man. Bernanke’s paper trail tells us because he fears falling money prices as the biggest risk of all, so he stands ready with “an invention called the printing press” to combat this evil. He promises faster inflation in response to the next financial crisis, supplying the “liquidity” the system needs. “Helicopter Ben” has even promised to drop money from the air, but he won’t drop any on you or me. Insiders get it first.

Mr. Ph.D. does not understand why a bust happens. That makes him extra dangerous. Every bust is caused by the preceding boom and its excesses. The bust is curative. And what caused the credit boom? The Fed! Its artificial pumping of money and credit through the banking system induces boom-bust cycles. When Bernanke fights the market by injecting new credit in the next crisis he will sustain unsound debt, weak debtors and lousy companies, prolonging depression. That’s the opposite of “putting it behind us.”

Sound money is the fount of prosperity yet the Fed was created to supply an “elastic currency” for the nation and coordinate expansion of cheap bank credit on behalf of Wall Street and bankers. The Fed was designed to flee from sound money. It is an inflationary menace to everyone and we are on the verge of a dollar crack up. Voltaire said every currency returns to its natural value. For paper money, that is nothing.

How can you protect yourself? First, shift investments toward hard assets like silver, gold, oil, timber. Second, shift from the prince’s paper toward hard money in your transactions. Hard money has meant silver and gold since the dawn of civilization. We want good money and we want it now, before the greenback tanks. The easiest way to use gold and silver today is to rely on the competitive marketplace to supply it, like the Liberty Dollar, because it is .999 fine silver, readily available, and functions 1:1 with Bernanke’s paper.

Fed Ex arose to challenge the government’s postal monopoly and now competitive money suppliers like Liberty Dollar have a huge opening. Competition from the private sector is the only way we’ll get high-quality money and put the people back in charge. Government separated gold and silver completely from its unbacked paper dollars, so we have the freedom to use the money we want. It’s all voluntary. There is no legal barrier to using silver or gold, in specie, real paper or electronic currencies that are 100% redeemable in silver and gold.

We need a bottom-up, inflation-proof, market-driven money, not top-down, debt-based money controlled by the power elite. Let the competitive market in money roar. With each individual choosing what currency to use, the superior money will triumph.

* Morgan Reynolds is a PhD economist, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University and the former Chief Economist, US Department of Labor 2001-2002.


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