And now for kicker #1: gold is up due to "fraud and misinformation" - oddly there is no mention of the fraud accompanying the Keynesian ponzinomics that the world is fighting tooth and nail to preserve:
The market price of gold has risen for more than a decade propelled by low interest rates, the hype of the bullion dealers (holding large inventories) and no doubt the normal amount of fraud and misinformation accompanying asset price bubbles. The Financial Times has reported that the precious metals industry expects the price to increase by a further 11 per cent over the next year.
So here is Truman's modest proposal: take the gold, convert it to linen, and use it to patch up just over 2% of US debt. Brilliant
Meanwhile, the US Treasury holds 621.5m fine troy ounces of gold. The government has been sitting on that gold since the Great Depression, receiving no return. At the current market price of $1,300 per ounce, the US gold stock is worth $340bn. The Treasury secretary, with the approval of the president, has the power to sell (and buy) gold on terms that the secretary considers most beneficial to the public interest. Revenues from sales must be used to reduce the national debt.
If the US were to sell its entire gold stock at the current market price, it would reduce the gross government debt by 2¼ per cent of gross domestic product. Based on the average interest cost from 2005 to 2008, this reduction in debt would trim the budget deficit by $15bn annually. Thus, the Obama administration would be doing something about the US fiscal debt and deficit without reducing near-term support for the ailing economy.
Kicker #2: Truman had graduated from economist to financier, recognizing the importance of buying (or confiscating as the case may be) low and selling high:
This proposal has several other benefits. First, the US would be obeying the maxim to buy low and sell high. Second, it would be performing a socially useful function. Demand for gold exceeds normal production, driving up the price. To the extent that the gold craze is being fed by concern (rational or irrational) about government policies, public welfare would be enhanced by giving citizens something tangible to hang around their necks or place in safe deposit boxes. Third, if the price is a bubble, as seems likely, the sooner it is burst the better for the average investor.
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