Apr 042011

Federal prosecutors are trying to seize $7 million in silver in the case of Bernard von NotHaus, who began issuing Liberty Dollars in 1998 to compete with the U.S. dollar.

(Liberty Dollars are composed primarily of silver.  I guess he has this crazy idea that money should have intrinsic value.  What a nut, right?)

Thing is, the feds’ case seems to be that von NotHaus is trying to pass these off as official U.S. currency, and it seems very clear to me that he’s doing exactly the opposite.

U.S. attorney Anne Tompkins has called this “a unique form of domestic terrorism.”  A spokesman for the all-but-worthless-anymore Southern Poverty Law Center is tossing around “radical right” and “anti-government patriot movement” in description of this effort.


I’m not going to get too deeply into monetary theory here, but the U.S. dollar is fiat currency.  Basically, that means it’s valuable because the federal government says it’s valuable, not because it’s of actual material worth.  So how’s the federal government’s financial stewardship?  Are you filled with faith in said government’s word?

Have you read Charles Krauthammer’s piece on exactly how the Obama administration is claiming Social Security is solvent through 2037?  Did you know it’s essentially IOUs, issued by one part of the government to another?  It’s exactly like when our joint checking account “owes me” $100.  Is that a relationship, or potential transaction, that has any meaning outside my family finances?  Is that of value to a creditor of mine?

Did you know that the percentage of U.S. dollars held by foreign governments as reserve currency has steadily declined since 2005?

We’ve got to get over this notion that this interest in precious metals—even interest extending to in-use alternate currencies—is a radical concept.  What is it but concern borne of responsibility?  In a larger sense, what is it but an opening to a sorely-needed conversation about really solving our country’s ongoing financial crisis?

I know a fellow who makes a good living providing a (legal) service.  I last saw him about two years ago, and he told me then that he had moved largely to accepting bullion and “junk silver” (the common term for older, typically circulated, U.S. coinage that is numismatically worthless but remains valuable for its silver content) as payment.  I said “interesting.  Do you still take cash at all?”  He chuckled, took a tug on his whiskey, and said “yeah, but it takes a hell of a lot of it!”

Now he’s just that sort of guy to me—a pleasant acquaintance, not really a friend friend—so I didn’t get too much into his personal business.  But I suspect what he does is deal with U.S. currency just enough to get groceries and keep the lights on.  I’d bet 90+% of his savings are physical assets, and I’d bet 90+% of those would fit in a briefcase.  Is he a kook?

Or just ahead of the curve?

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  2 Responses to “Full faith and credit!”

  1. I collect antibiotics and sock yarn.

  2. I’m going to be the clock repair guy in Seesterstan.

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