I’m a tad too young to remember nickel Cokes, though I can remember when the drink cost a dime.
It’s tempting to say that in vending machines today, a Coke now costs $1. But the four quarters you’re shoving into the slot consist mostly of copper and contain not a smidgen of silver, so your mistake lies in believing those four copper sandwich slugs are worth a dollar.
Go to a pawnshop or coin store today and try to buy four battered, old “common-date” pre-1965 silver quarters. You’ll pay at least $29 in greenbacks, and that’s only because those four quarters collectively contain not a full ounce of silver, but only .72 ounces.
That means, compared to 1964, the buying power of a paper dollar is now three cents.
As the dollar approaches the value of the currency of Zimbabwe, Americans are going to need some alternative form of currency. Or did you think it was going to be easy to trade your services as a cocktail waitress to your dentist in exchange for getting a cavity filled?
Bernard Von NotHaus checked with the federal government to make sure there was nothing illegal about his plan to mint and sell one-ounce silver rounds. “No problem,” they told him. Then they arrested him, seized his silver and gold to a value of millions of “dollars,” and put him in prison, supposedly for counterfeiting.
Now, Coin World magazine reports anyone out there holding such a silver round may find it subject to confiscation. (http://tinyurl.com/42gsnk6)
Jill Rose, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. attorney’s office in Charlotte, N.C., told Coin World Aug. 24 that the Liberty Dollar medallions are contraband, even if they’re being exhibited for educational purposes.
Rose, who served as lead prosecutor in the Von NotHaus case, said “because Von NotHaus’ conviction included violations of Sections 485 and 486 of Title 18 of the United States Code, the Liberty dollar medallions were determined to be counterfeits, contraband and subject to seizure,” Coin World reported.
After all, because these rounds bear the legend “Liberty Dollar,” some poor sap might get duped into accepting one of these full ounces of silver in place of an old, pre-1935 U.S. silver dollar, each of which contains 0.7734 ounces of silver, and which don’t circulate anymore, anyway.
That’s right, leaving aside the numismatic value, which might lead a collector to pay you more for an uncirculated old silver dollar with an “S” or “O” or “CC” mint mark, the one-ounce Von NotHaus “dollars” contain more silver, and are thus worth more – not less — than the “real thing.”
Now, Von NotHaus was selling and redeeming his coins in some kind of multi-level operation that sought to establish a value for the things considerably above “melt.” Every multi-level sales operation I know about informs participants that the buyer is paying some premium, which flows “up-line” as commissions. This is perfectly legal, because no one is obliged to buy.
Von NotHaus had no power to require people to value his coins any higher than melt — unlike, say, the federal government, which has banned contracts calling for payment in gold or pretty much anything except their own increasingly worthless fiat greenbacks, the value of which melts away like sugar cubes in the rain, even as you wait for your creditor to pay you back.
A “counterfeiter” whose coins are purer than any ever minted for circulation by the U.S. government? You’ll pardon me if I thus presume this is a first step toward making it illegal for U.S. citizens to hold and use any currency other than the increasingly worthless green paper-and-linen trading stamps of the fraudsters at the Federal Reserve.
Give them time. Soon you’ll hear that our economic problems are being caused by speculators and hoarders attempting to salt away anything that could be of value during the forthcoming currency collapse. Like, oh, I don’t know … gold, guns and silver.
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Meantime, like the old carnival huckster of Oz, urging Dorothy and her pals to “ignore the little man behind the curtain,” the mainstream media and even followers of the Tea Party — who increasingly resemble a bunch of William F. Buckley neocons who’ve merely been mistaken for smaller-government Libertarians — do everything they can to marginalize GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul, pretending he reveals himself to be some kind of nutty professor when he keeps talking about our Monopoly-money dollar and the cabal of private bankers known as the Federal Reserve.
“Paul is not a serious candidate,” opined Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 9.
Paul, by the way, was given no chance to answer a question about the Federal Reserve — though the leading candidates were — at the Sept. 12 Tea Party debate in Tampa, Fla. What was more interesting, though, was the way he was initially applauded when he said a lot of money could be saved if America embraced a foreign policy of non-intervention, adding that the United States is in 130 countries and has 900 bases around the world.
But when Paul began to cite U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia and America’s policy on Palestine as being the causes of the Sept. 11 attacks, Jason M. Volack of ABC reports, “The audience booed him.” I get it. The murderers of 9/11 don’t need or deserve any justification.
But what does this tell us? Far from being the lynch-mob government slashers that the terrified Left says they are, the well-meaning but mathematically challenged Tea Party types turn out to be all-too-typical mainstream Americans, insisting they want smaller government and lower taxes, and then bridling at any suggestion that we phase out or cut back Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or a vastly expensive defense establishment that’s in the business of permanently occupying — and selectively bombing — scores of countries overseas.
“Just cut foreign aid,” they say. Yeah, and maybe the Tea-Tasters Board. That’ll get it done.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel “The Black Arrow” and “Send in the Waco Killers.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.