Monday, January 14, 2013

Testing their mettle metal

I'm not a fan of all the vacuous 'petition drives' people have started lately on the White House website.  The unserious nature of the vast majority of them simply underscores the fact that most of the 'electorate' has no business mucking around with public policy.  If that makes me an 'elitest,' then so be it.

But this... this is a petition I could get behind:
As of 12/31/2012 the US Treasury claims to hold 261 million ounces of gold at Denver, Fort Knox, West Point and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This bullion was last subjected to a full physical audit in 1953. The gold bars need to be assayed and weighed. Once the gold is verified the paper trail must be audited to determine who really owns the gold; i.e. how much has been loaned to bankers and dealers and sold or swapped to non-Treasury entities including foreign governments. The audit must include professional auditors outside of the Mint, Treasury, GAO, Inspector General and Federal Reserve system.

Even if the petition received the requisite number of signatures, I highly doubt any outside audit will be allowed to take place.  Before retiring from Congress, Ron Paul tried many times to get that body to force an audit of the reserves, as well as the operations of the Fed.  Does anyone really believe either could stand up to the spotlight of scrutiny?

Let's suppose, however, an audit did take place and confirmed the claimed holdings of the Treasury Department.   First of all, their reported "book value" tries to maintain the fiction that each ounce of gold held is worth about $50.  If they were to sell any of the reserves for that price, it would be monumental foolishness, since the market spot price for an ounce of gold is currently in the range of $1660!

So let's be kind, and evaluate the alleged holdings at actual market value:

261,498,926.247 ounces of gold holdings claimed, 
times  $1,660 dollars per ounce  =

$434,088,217,570.02  total value of U.S. gold reserves

Sounds impressive, no?  Who wouldn't like to have $434 billion in the bank?
But consider this:  at the rate our government has been deficit spending over the past few years, Uncle Sam is borrowing about $4 billion EVERY DAY.  

That means that roughly every 100 days we add to our total national debt an amount equal to our TOTAL PHYSICAL GOLD RESERVES.  In fact, in order for us to pay our national debt (currently closing in on  $16.5 trillion) with our physical gold assets, gold would have to be selling for $63,100 AN OUNCE!

...and that doesn't even include the value of "unfunded entitlements" that are kicking in at an accelerating rate.

Bankrupt?  We blew past that sign a long, long time ago...

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