Of the innumerable evils which usually brings the decadence of kingdoms, principalities, and republics, the four greatest are, in my opinion: war, immorality, infertility of the land, and the debasement of money. For the first three, the evidence is obvious. But for the fourth, which concerns money, except for a few men of intellect, few people ever see it. Why? Because it is not in one fell swoop, but gradually, by a somewhat latent character, it ruins the state.
If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%. Whereas the currency, the honest sort provided by the Constitution pays nobody but those who contribute in some useful way. It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the People.
–Thomas Alva Edison
Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.
No state shall emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, coin money.
–Article One, Section Ten, United States Constitution
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
— Frederic Bastiat, The Law
Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effective than that which deludes them with paper money.
You have to choose [as a voter] between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.
–George Bernard Shaw
The directors of such companies (joint-stock corporations), however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own …. Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less in the management of the affairs of such a company?
–Adam Smith, The Wealth on Nations, 1776
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. –Thoms Jefferson in 1802 in a letter to then Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin
Fair dealing leads to greater profit in the end.
Thou shalt not steal.
The boom produces impoverishment. But still more disastrous are its moral ravages. It makes people despondent and dispirited. The more optimistic they were under the illusory prosperity of the boom, the greater is their despair and their feeling of frustration.
–Ludwig von Mises
The authors of the Constitution were very much aware of the dangers of inflation and the need for commodity money. Destruction of the continental dollar was vivid in their minds. The journals of the Continental Congress noted that “paper currency… is multiplied beyond the rules of good policy. No truth being more evident, than that where the quantity of money. . . exceeds what is useful as a medium of commerce, its comparative value must be proportionately reduced.” Further, inflations “tend to the depravity of morals, and decay of the public faith, injustice to individuals, and the destruction of the honor, safety, and independence of the United States.”
–R. Paul, End The Fed, The Constitutional Case, p. 165
If you are in debt, you are a slave to that debt.
The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt. . . Lying rides upon debt’s back.
Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value—zero.
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.
If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash.
To emit an unfunded paper as the sign of value ought not to continue a formal part of the Constitution, nor even hereafter to be employed; being, in its nature, pregnant with abuses, and liable to be made the engine of imposition and fraud; holding out temptations equally pernicious to the integrity of government and to the morals of the people.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. This issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of the moneyed corporations which already dare to challenge our Government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.
–John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence it came, where it went – 1975, p15
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. . . This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.
–Alan Greenspan, Gold and Economic Freedom
The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government … are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it. –Andrew Jackson
I am one of those who do not believe that a national debt is a national blessing, but rather a curse to a republic; inasmuch as it is calculated to raise around the administration a moneyed aristocracy dangerous to the liberties of the country. –Andrew Jackson
Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves.
The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. –John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence it came, where it went – 1975, p29
Is there any reason why the American people should be taxed to guarantee the debts of banks, any more than they should be taxed to guarantee the debts of other institutions, including merchants, the industries, and the mills of the country? –Senator Carter Glass,
Author of the Banking Act of 1933
I see in the near future a crisis approach which unnerves me and cause me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations (of banking) have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic destroyed.
History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.
All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.
The gold standard has one tremendous virtue: the quantity of the money supply, under the gold standard, is independent of the policies of governments and political parties. This is its advantage. It is a form of protection against spendthrift governments. . . The gold standard did not collapse. Governments abolished it in order to pave the way for inflation. The whole grim apparatus of oppression and coercion, policemen, customs guards, penal courts, prisons, in some countries even executioners, had to be put into action in order to destroy the gold standard. –Ludwig von Mises
I’ll tell you what I think about the way
This city treats her soundest men today;
By a coincidence more sad than funny,
It’s very like the way we treat our money.
The noble silver drachma that of old we were
So proud of, and the recent gold coins that
Rang true, clean-stamped and worth their weight
Throughout the world, have ceased to circulate.
Instead the purses of Athenian shoppers
Are full of shoddy silver-plated coppers
Just so, when men are needed by the nation,
The best have been withdrawn from circulation.
—Aristophanes, The Frogs, 400 BC
Give me control of a nation’s currency and I care not who makes the laws.
With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people.
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalistic System was to debauch the currency. . . Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million can diagnose. –John Maynard Keynes
We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people.
–Daniel Webster, speech in the Senate, 1833
You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out.
–Daniel Webster (upon evicting from the Oval Office a delegation of international bankers discussing the Bank Renewal Bill, 1832)