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The Great Government Gold Heist of 1933

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Yesterday marked the anniversary of the great government gold heist of 1933 ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On April 5, 1933, the president signed Executive Order 6102. It was touted as a measure to stop gold hoarding, but it was in reality, a massive gold confiscation scheme. The order required private citizens, partnerships, associations and corporations to turn in all but small amounts of gold to the Federal Reserve in exchange for $20.67 per ounce.

The executive order was one of several steps Roosevelt took toward ending the gold standard in the US.

With the dollar tied to gold, the Federal Reserve found it difficult to increase the money supply during the Great Depression. It couldn’t simply fire up the printing press as it can today. The Federal Reserve Act required all notes have 40% gold backing. But the Fed was low on gold and up against the limit. By stealing gold from the public, the Fed was able to boost its gold holdings.

EO 6102 followed on the heels of an order Roosevelt issued just weeks before prohibiting banks from paying out or exporting gold. Just two months after the enactment of EO 6102, the US effectively went off the gold standard when Congress enacted a joint resolution erasing the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.  Then, in 1934, the government’s fixed price for gold was increased to $35 per ounce. This effectively increased the value of gold on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet by 69%. By increasing its gold stores through the confiscation of private gold holdings, and declaring a higher exchange rate, the Fed could circulate more notes. In effect, the hoarding of gold by the government allowed it to inflate the money supply.

President Richard Nixon put the final nail in the coffin when he slammed the “gold window” shut in 1971, severing the last ties the dollar had to gold. Nixon uncoupled gold from its fixed $35 price and suspended the convertibility of dollars into gold by foreign governments and central banks.

Today, the Fed doesn’t have to worry about backing its notes with gold. It can increase the money supply with no restraints at all, thanks to the efforts of Roosevelt and Nixon.

When he announced the closing of the gold window, Nixon said, “Let me lay to rest the bugaboo of what is called devaluation,” and promised, “your dollar will be worth just as much as it is today.”

This was a lie.

According to the Consumer Price Index data released by the Bureau Labor of Statistics, the dollar has lost more than 80% of its value since Nixon’s fateful decision. Meanwhile, the dollar value of gold has gone from $35 an ounce to over $1,500.

As Peter Schiff points out in his Classic Gold Scams report, despite hefty fines and long prison terms, the government did little to enforce Roosevelt’s so-called confiscation order.

Even in the heat of Roosevelt’s confiscation scheme, government troops did not break into people’s homes… Ironically, all the gold actually collected by the Treasury was willfully surrendered in a wave of misguided patriotism, while many ‘law-breakers’ simply kept their gold.”

As Tom Woods explained in an article on the subject, Americans generally went along with the scheme because “the paper currency they were receiving in exchange for the gold had always been redeemable in gold in the past, so few saw anything amiss in this coerced transaction, and most trusted the government’s assurances that this was somehow necessary in order to combat the Depression.”

That’s an important point to keep in mind when coin dealers try to convince you that only their gold coins will remain safe in the next wave of confiscation. Fears of confiscation in today’s world are blown far out of proportion and should not dissuade you from protecting your wealth with highly liquid gold and silver coins.

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