Creating Sound Money

This entry is part 8 of 50 in the series 2011A

Part 2 in this Series

An increasing number of people, including economists, politicians, pundits, bloggers etc are coming to the realization that something needs done to create a sounder dollar and money system.

Here are some of the steps that are put forward.

(1) Put us back on the gold standard. Those who support this are far from being united as there are several camps on this:

(A) A purist gold standard with no fiat money.

This was the standard through parts of ancient history, the Dark Ages and attempts were made toward this goal on and off up to about 100 years ago.

(B) A gold standard with fiat money, but with redemption. This usually consists of fiat money created on a 10:1 basis.  That is for every once of gold on deposit there would be ten ounces worth of money in circulation.  Under this system the consumer can redeem his money for gold, unless there is a run on the system that depletes the gold supply.

(C) A gold standard with fiat money, but with no redemption. This is basically what we had from FDR to Nixon. The value of the dollar was set at an arbitrary value assigned to gold which was $35 an ounce, but a citizen could not possess monetary gold with the exception of rare coins.  Other nations and some banks were allowed to exchange money for gold.

(2) Eliminate the Federal Reserve. These advocates may or may not want a return to the gold standard.

(3) A balanced budget amendment. This sounds like it should be a no-brainer, but is it?  Why hasn’t Congress ever taken this seriously?

(4) If we do not have a balanced budget amendment then something needs put in place where borrowing and spending is kept within reasonable boundaries.

(5) Grow the economy through low taxes and business incentives.  A healthy economy strengthens the dollar.

(6) Reduce the trade deficit. We have had a trade deficit since 1975.  Should we be worried?  Some are more concerned than others.

(7) Secure energy independence.  This is another no-brainer but the problem occurs in execution.  The Left and the Right have conflicting ideas of how to achieve this.

(8) Expand alternative currencies.  These are already in play to a degree.  Examples are Time Dollars and Ithaca Hours which are community currencies.  Then companies are issuing their own form of monetary credits that are used like money. Many want the monetary laws changed to allow for the creation of private currencies that directly compete with the dollar. The belief is this would strengthen our currency as a whole.

(9) Barter. Barter has been sold as an alternative to authorized currency. Some claim barter strengthens the financial position of the individual. Barter companies became popular in the Sixties and Seventies.  One reason for this was that many were under the illusion that they didn’t have to pay taxes on items gained through Barter. However, the IRS had different ideas and went after many of them and now there are few bartering companies left.

Here is the IRS rule on Barter: “Barter dollars or trade dollars are identical to real dollars for tax reporting. If you conduct any direct barter–barter for another’s products or services–you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return.”

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html

If you have to treat gain through barter as regular income then one might as well deal with cash and get more leverage with currency.

Even so Barter is far from dead thanks to Crag’s list and other internet sources.  Many are now doing barter on a one-to-one basis through classified ads.  Participants must be warned, however, that they are still not beyond the reach of the taxman as they comb through internet sources to find barterers who may be trying to escape taxes and do go after them.

Even though small businesses and individuals are limited today in their use of barter big business and even countries are using it on grand scale.  These two entities exchange goods and services on a scale of which the average person is completely unaware.

(10) Restoring the power to create money to our elected representatives, as specified in the Constitution, instead of farming this out to private enterprise.

Next we’ll expand on some of these points and see if any of them offer hope to take us out of this financial malaise.

Read This entire series. Here are the links.

Copyright 2011 by J J Dewey

Copyright by J J Dewey

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9 thoughts on “Creating Sound Money

  1. JJ, Thank you for this. I admit to ignorance on most money issues. Though my brother and I decided today to study the stock market – a couple alley cats sniffing around behind the mansion. I can see huge problems with our money and with our government but I never understood the underlying principles well enough to feel confident about any one solution. However, I feel like I already learned a lot and got my thinking much better organized just reading what you already said here about the nature and principles of money so far. I can hardly wait to read your remaining analysis. I can see you set a goal to thoroughly understand money and then advocate for a well balanced and practical solution. I’m very eager to see where you go with this and I will probably get on board when you finish to support your solution. I feel that way about your whole book. All the parts you published on the Keysters and now here impressed me well with your down-to-earth and understandable teaching method and your practical solutions. I think you are producing a blue-print for revolution that will magnetize many diverse groups to rally together and accomplish some common sense in our government. I love the fact that, while many badmouth our system – kinda like cussing at the deck chairs, you take action to strengthen and build upon the freedoms and successes we already enjoy. May light and understanding bless our minds and hearts and hands to serve the cause of love and liberty.

    Your brother,
    Larry Woods

  2. Bartering may sound like a good idea, but in my experience it works out poorly in reality. Money motivates and when people think they are getting something for free or not getting paid their attention goes elsewhere… usually towards their paying clients.

  3. JJ Quote from the Archives

    “As you put ATTENTION on the work to be done and send energy to it, it may seem that nothing is happening for a period of time. But when the point of tension is reached an almost miraculous materialization will occur.

    Some have wondered why I put so much attention on this list at the sacrifice of delaying the Immortal books, but a large part of the reason is to create a point of tension with the group so higher creation can take place. The group has only had a couple winds of the propeller and there are many more to go, but, if we do not release our attention and energy, a miraculous creation awaits on the horizon.”

    http://www.freeread.com/writings

    Copyright 1999 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved

  4. lwk said, “It would seem to me that some form of Balanced Budget Amendment is definitely called for.”

    Larry Woods says,

    I think Larry is right. However, our legislators face a huge problem. They already locked in many programs which depend upon deficit spending. They fear to cut these programs because anyone running against them would say they acted hard hearted. This is a huge problem. Right at this moment interest rates are extremely low. This is the only thing that mitigates our monster deficit. But when the wheels turn to jack up interest rates, our deficit will become an unbelievable burden. What will our Congress do then?

    Ronald Reagan policies brought interest rates down significantly. Also, because RR won the cold war, our vast military requirements dropped way down – like half. Bill Clinton inherited both of these known as the “peace dividend”. So, although Clinton grew the federal government far larger than it was when he came in, he claimed to have shrunk it by citing the number of total federal employees; but that number included the gigantic lay-offs from the military. He took the money that had been spent on the military and spent it on more social control programs and payola in other parts of the government. Bill Clinton squandered the peace dividend.

    At the same time he did not face the real brunt of our overwhelming deficit because RR had successfully lowered interest rates. So Clinton further side-stepped the brunt of our deficit by shifting our debt from long term instruments to short term loan money. This made our payments slightly lower. Clinton then bragged about how well he handled our economy. Since then our economy has generally gone downhill. Now, with our current “pay the piper” economic crisis, the Fed has taken interest rates down even further. But most all our national debt, beginning with Clinton who initiated this policy, has now been shifted to short term money. Our next big problem will come when the Fed announces, ‘We must raise interest rates to keep our money credible worldwide.’ This will prove devastating. Many institutions now underwriting home loans and business loans at extreme low rates will fail. American manufacturers, already reeling because of competition which does not face the same costly taxes and governmental business controls, will face ever higher costs due to the cost of money. At the same time, their consumers will have less money to spend because the companies they work for lay off workers and lower wages to cope with these same problems. Unemployment will go to 50%. Times will get rough. Riots. Government assistance will grow out of control. States will cut off assistance programs because they simply run out of money leaving tens of thousands without food or lodging creating a huge pool of pissed off homeless nothing-to-lose activists.

    It seems to me that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. This will not only paralyze our recovery, it will send us into a deadly tailspin. Many politicians will continue, as they always have, ignoring deficit problems and consequences. Their head-in-the-sand attitude will not solve the problem. Did you ever hear of an alcoholic “hitting bottom” before they could finally face their problems realistically? Maybe this is where we must go? Maybe the red Ray of destruction will wipe all the legos off the table so we can start rebuild starting with a sturdier foundation? Maybe this is what it will take to get people’s head out of the a– sand?

    Your brother,
    Larry Woods

    1. Larry W. wrote:

      ” our legislators face a huge problem. They already locked in many programs which depend upon deficit spending. They fear to cut these programs because anyone running against them would say they acted hard hearted.”

      That is why I think we desperately need a Balanced Budget Amendment. If that was in the Constitution then legislators could claim they have no choice but to cut spending. Perhaps part of that amendment could be legal cover for cutting programs that are supposedly “locked” as you describe them.

      The thing is that such an amendment could never get passed in normal times. The only way such a measure could be passed is in a time of dire emergency. I think that time is approaching when most regular Americans will see that something has to be done and will support it. Of course many will complain once their favorite programs get cut, but hopefully there would at that point not be enough support to repeal a Balanced Budget Amendment. Once the results came in, that is, the economy improved and jobs started coming back then it would probably be impossible to repeal it.

      But again, it will take dire straits to make these kind of changes happen.

      lwk

  5. It would seem to me that some form of Balanced Budget Amendment is definitely called for. Such an amendment could easily allow for deficit funding in times of war and emergency – it would simply have to require a significant majority in Congress to approve.Normally a law requires a simple majority (except to override Presidential vetoes). Simply require that deficit budgets require a two thirds majority, easy enough to get in times of war and real emergency I would think.

    It should be a no-brainer for most rational people that it is not ok to pass huge debts on to our children. Obviously some means has to be created to keep the government from printing huge amounts of fiat money. History has proven any number of times that cannot work.

    The real problem seems to be a lack of courage in our representatives. They always hope that they can pass the problem on down the road to someone else to solve. Perhaps one of the most important things we could do is find a way to implement term limits. Maybe our represetntatives would have more courage if they knew for a fact they couldn’t be re-elected. Then maybe they would be able to face the facts and make the hard decisions.

    lwk

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