Going Back To What Works: Gold Is Money Again (Thanks To Utah)
As of today you really can pay your taxes, your credit cards, your mortgage, shop at Costco, and buy your groceries without so much as a bank account while using sound money.
The fact that Texas announced that it withdrawing its gold from Manhattan and is creating a state gold depository generated a good deal of interest because there would also be a way to transfer gold to others via said depository. So much interest that Texas received calls from all over the United States from folks that wanted to be part of such a system. The articles covering the future Texas depository cumulatively received millions of views. What was missed in all of this coverage is that a functional, and legal depository that allows anyone in the country to pay and save in gold dollars already exists. In Utah.
The United Precious Metals Association in Utah has gold and now separate silver accounts that act as checking accounts do at any bank or credit union. The way it works is that members deposit Federal Reserve Notes (or paper dollars) into their UPMA account which in turn translates them into golden dollars (or silver). The golden dollars are based off the $50 one ounce gold coins produced by the Treasury of The United States. They are legal tender under the law and are protected as such. So if I were to deposit $1,200 FRNs then I would have $50 golden dollars.
UPMA is the only institution in the country that I know of that doesn't have a buy/sell spread on their Golden Eagles or Silver Eagles. This means that all my $1,200 FRNs once converted to gold could be spent the next day without losing anything to any sort of premium. The price of a Gold Eagle is 5.8% above spot but when you 'cash out' you do so at 5.8% above gold spot. This effectively removes that barrier from sound money.
This year the UPMA released a gold backed debit card via American Express. The way it works is that a member may spend up to half of their gold or silver dollars in any given month period using the card. When I interviewed the founder of UPMA today, Larry Hilton, I learned that the way the card works is that they have made a contract with American Express so that UPMA members can use what are technically credit cards as a debit card anywhere American Express is accepted. The members are added on as 'employees'. Right now there are already hundreds of people around the country using this method of payment. They are literally spending gold on groceries without losing anything to premiums or in transaction fees to UPMA. In fact they get 1% cash back in gold.
This service is available to anyone in the United States and requires no credit check whatsoever. Using the billpay service online one can pay for what American Express can't such as credit card bills, property taxes, or your mortgage. The golden dollars are simply converted right back into FRNs and paid out. When asked Mr. Hilton affirmed that there are many people that don't store anything in the banks anymore thanks to this service. They are obsolete if you want to use sound money. There are no fees associated with the use of the card. Members that store more than $50 in golden dollars do pay a small storage/membership fee of 10 golden cents or $2.50 FRNs and an additional 0.25 FRNs for every additional $50. These $50 Golden Eagles can also be withdrawn and sent to you directly.
The United Precious Metals Association has the full backing of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes who also uses the service. The legal foundation was set up in 2010 and 2012 here in Utah where the vault is located. Many members of the board including General Counsel Larry Hilton are lawyers that specialize in law regarding the use of legal tender.
An elected board of members makes regular audits to assure that all of the gold and silver is there and reports to the general membership every year at the monetary summit. This year it will be held on October 17 in Salt Lake City. The vault is insured from theft and fraud via the Llyods of London. They hold a 100% reserve ratio.
And as UPMA summarizes, this is nothing new and it is not different this time...In fact we are going back to what works...
All very unmodern? The gold standard is not up-to-date only if we have a yen for running away from economic success in the form of stable prices and major growth. After Nixon went off gold in 1971, abrogating the conversion agreement with the foreign nations, and keeping gold-holding illegal in the United States, inflation did things that were unheard of. The price level leapt by 200% from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, a period also bedeviled by the economic sluggishness known as “stagflation,” where double-dip recessions came every few years and the long term growth rate sunk below 2%. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Fed returned to conducting monetary policy in view of the gold price, and sure enough the consumer price index stabilized at one-third the stagflation level and growth rebounded past 3.5% per year. The verification just kept on coming: key on gold stability – effectively making the dollar convertible on demand to gold at a fixed price – and watch prices stay the same and growth shoot the moon.
In the 2000s, we are witness to a Fed that has disdained the gold price now for a decade. The result has been the loss of that decade to economic growth, as well as stirrings in key commodities such as oil and food, if not the brutal comprehensive arrival of inflation. If the Fed decided today to target the price of gold as the pole star in its monetary operations, there is no historically conversant reason to believe that we would have unfold before us anything but yet another era of price stability and maximal economic growth. For this is the only thing that has ever resulted from gold standards and their approximations throughout our history.
The arc of time has revealed connections that we have the opportunity to re-forge today. The United States became the largest economy in the world in the 1870s, was two-and-a-half times larger than the second-place nation in 1913, boomed along with everyone else in the Bretton Woods era, and in the 1980s and 1990s did not succumb to the “Eurosclerosis” or any “Japan disease” that afflicted its major economic partners. In every episode of fantastic economic performance – in terms of both price stability and major growth – there was a commitment to gold.
Choice in currency is being recognized as a basic human right around the world. Utah was the first State to make gold and silver coins legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar on March 25th, 2011.