Using Silver Dollars – Part I

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars are money. They are US Legal Tender – Congress says so. But, as far as I know, nobody uses them in money transactions. Nobody uses them for everyday commerce.

I’d like to change that!

Silver Eagle Coin

Since last summer, I’ve been working on software and manual systems to allow everyone to use Silver to do all the things we take for granted today with paper or plastic. I’m almost done – and almost ready to start looking for customers – and I thought I’d share some of the basics with you, in a series of posts explaining both the benefits and the mechanics of how it would work.

Introduction

While official money in the US includes Federal Reserve Notes and coins of various denominations and compositions, Americans are an innovative people. Unofficial money substitutes abound, including:

  • Personal & Business Checks
  • Bank Checks & Cashiers’ Checks
  • Travelers Checks
  • Credit, Debit, and Gift Cards
  • One-Pass and other Transponder Systems
  • Manufacturers & Store Coupons
  • Berkshire (MA) Bucks, Subway Tokens, & California Scrip

While nobody is required to accept any of these (or other) money substitutes, most are accepted somewhere. The Market Values and fees charged for each depend on the Free Market.

Many gas stations have one price for paper and a different price for plastic. Manufacturers Coupons return a premium from the manufacturer to the merchant when they are redeemed. At one time, Travelers Checks traded on FOREX markets for more than the equivalent paper Dollar rate.

Some businesses, notably Coin-Star, even have built a business model around charging a fee to exchange official US coins for US paper money! And, speaking of machines, vending machines have been making change for bills – with or without a purchase – for years.

So, under existing law, there is no reason why Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars cannot be used in everyday commerce. Until now, the only thing standing in the way has been the lack of a system for handling it. Such a system would need to facilitate purchases, sales, and several other types of transactions. I am building the following modules into my software/manual system:

  • Exchange
  • Asset Depository
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll
  • Bill Pay
  • Point of Sale
  • Investments
  • Wealth Management

I will go through the list during this series of posts, explaining both how each would work and why you would bother using Silver Dollars.

Exchange

Today, you can’t get a Silver Dollar directly from the US Mint, and certainly not in exchange for a $1 paper Dollar. The authorizing law was worded to allow the government to treat the newly minted Silver Dollars as numismatic coins (USC 5103,5111,&5132), so that Uncle Sam can sell them to Official Dealers for the cost of the Silver content, plus a markup/profit.

The Official Dealers sell them to individuals/coin dealers, and the Silver Dollars then are freely available for purchase or sale in the secondary market. The Buy and Sell prices, and the spreads between them vary widely from dealer to dealer. (See www.comparesilverprices.com.) These dealers are businesses trying to make a profit – I wish them good luck. However, the disarray in the Market hinders regular exchange of Silver Dollars.

My Exchange Module will set a “Base Rate” around which I will Exchange (I’m not a coin dealer!) Paper Dollars and Silver Dollars for a fee (I plan on 2%). Plastic Dollars also may be used, but the fee would be higher to cover the Credit Card charge.

The Base Rate would be freely available and would fluctuate during the day as the Market dictates. Initially, the Exchange will take place within other Modules of my system, but eventually, I expect to have numerous local public outlets.

Asset Depository

You can keep your Paper Dollars in a Bank. They take your money and lend it out hoping to make a profit. While Banks generally don’t go bankrupt, it does happen – every year. In some years, like during and after the 2008 credit crisis, Bank failures ran rampant.

Recent changes in the law have endangered depositors. Your money no longer is your money. Instead, you now are considered to have lent the Bank your money – unsecured. If the Bank goes belly up, you’re last in the line of creditors to be paid! And, the law now says that to “save” the Bank, your money can be taken outright to recapitalize the Bank. That’s what the term Bail-In refers to.

Still, most people are comfortable keeping money in the Bank (yes, even I have a checking account). And, for now, on average, they’re fine for keeping Paper Dollars. But, suppose you wanted to have them hold your Silver Dollars in an account for safe-keeping? I expect that many Banks would accept your $1.00 Silver Dollar deposit and would credit your account with $1.00. Of course, if you later wanted to withdraw the money, you’d get a Paper Dollar back.

But, if you came to me, I would accept your Silver Dollar for deposit and would return a Silver Dollar to you if you wanted it. Now, I’m not a Bank – and I don’t want to be. But, I will keep your Silver Dollar safe (for a nominal fee) in an account from which you could pay for things. You won’t get interest, but then again, I won’t be lending your money out and putting it at risk.

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As I said at the beginning, I’m almost ready to Beta Test my system, and then start looking for customers. As you read these explanations during this series, if you have any interest in becoming a customer or franchising my system for your local area, please let me know at Bob@US-Issues.com . (The business web site still is to come.)

Ten Investor Warning Signs for 2016

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

Wall Street’s proclivity to create serial equity bubbles off the back of cheap credit has once again set up the middle class for disaster. The warning signs of this next correction have now clearly manifested, but are being skillfully obfuscated and trivialized by financial institutions. Nevertheless, here are ten salient warning signs that astute investors should heed as we roll into 2016.

  1. The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping rates and a barometer for worldwide commodity demand, recently fell to its lowest level since 1985. This index clearly portrays the dramatic decrease in global trade and forebodes a worldwide recession.

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Why Cash Will Be King

By Bill Bonner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

WHERE is that old and tattered “Crash Alert” flag? asks Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.

Many times since the start of the rally in US stocks in 2009, we hoisted it. And many times has it failed to give us a useful signal.

But we will bring it out again, if a bit sheepishly…and let it wave, in the warm Argentine air.

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The CPI and The Dollar

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The Year-Over-Year rise in the official CPI has turned negative, while the ShadowStats versions, using the BLS calculation methodologies used in 1990 and 1980, still show positive if lowered price increase rates. The 1990 methodology shows prices 3 1/2 % higher than a year earlier, down from a 5 1/2 % rise last year from the previous 12 months. The 1980 methodology shows a slowing of consumer price hikes to about 5% (YOY) compared to the previous year’s 10% (YOY) rate.

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Countdown To “Grexit”

By Andrew Hoffman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

After declining for an incredible 47 of the past 51 days, the Baltic Dry Index has officially breached its all-time low of 554 – set in 1986, 29 years ago. Sure, propagandists will try to blame tanker “oversupply” rather than plunging end user demand – just as they blame the catastrophic oil price plunge on “oversupply” of high cost oil, rather than said “under-demand.” However, the fact remains that both the Baltic Dry Index and oil price are freefalling – in both cases, catalyzing massive corporate and investment losses; layoffs; and defaults.

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Business Cycles and Government Decisions

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Economic conditions tend to run in cycles. Pressures build, official efforts are made to contain any perceived bad effects, and at some point, the pressures overwhelm all opposition. The cave-in frequently, but not always, sets pressures in motion in the opposite direction.

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Creating 35 Million New Jobs

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US has 156 million people 16 and over, who make up the civilian labor force – 8.7 million of these are out of work. If you add in those Americans who are working part time but want full time and those Americans who have given up hope of finding any job, there are closer to 35 million Americans either unemployed, work part time because they can’t find a full time job, or have given up hope of finding any job.

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Oil and World Politics

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Oil prices are falling. Since last summer, when crude oil was selling for $106 a barrel, black gold has fallen almost 40% to $66 and change. Is this good or bad, and what (who) is causing it?

I’ve been reading reports that the Saudis and OPEC have been ramping up production for several months, and they most recently refused to cut production to support the price. The reason being suggested is that they want to kill off competition from the oil sands industry and allow for future monstrous profits.

While there is a certain pizzazz that goes with this reasoning, it defies all economic logic. The Saudi oil costs next to nothing (yes, literally) to produce. If the are forcing the price down, then they and OPEC are foregoing Billions of Dollars of profits now.

OPEC

Their hope would be that the competition would be utterly destroyed. However, if oil sands production stops, what would keep it from restarting once price recovers? Nothing! Yes, the ownership of the wells might change hands due to bankruptcy of some companies, but the new owners already would have functioning wells that would need the figurative switch to be turned back to “ON.”

The Greens and their democratic vassals may be anti-energy, but how would making already cheap fossil fuels (compared to Wind and Solar) even cheaper be good for the Greens. As we’ve seen, when the price goes back up, so does oil sands production.

There are reports that Russia is being devastated by the low oil prices, since they rely so heavily on resource exports, chiefly oil and gas, to earn hard currency to pay for their imports. Again, it sounds plausible.

But, several facts show this is more nonsense. Recently, the Russian Ruble has fallen 35+% since last summer, so in Ruble terms, the Russians are getting the same price for their oil.

The Russians don’t need the “Hard” Dollars anyway; they have $165 Billion in treasuries sitting in their foreign reserves, which they’d like to get rid of. (They tried, and maybe that’s the real reason for US sanctions against Russia, and not Ukraine, which they used to own.)

And again, they don’t need the Dollars because they have been running massive trade surpluses in recent years. Maybe their balance of payments will shift closer to neutral, but things are much different than they were when the Soviet Union was run into bankruptcy over oil.

Russia recently inked a deal with Europe mostly for natural gas to keep the people in the Eurozone from freezing to death this winter, even though Europe is participating in the US declared sanctions. And Russia also inked a deal to send China the oil that they need.

Russia & China

Much of these exports either are being priced in Gold, or the Dollars paid are going for immediate purchase of Gold. Again, Russia hates the Dollar.

China definitely benefits from lower oil prices, since it imports most of the oil it needs. Aside from the Russian oil pact, China has been active making deals for natural resources all over the globe. It’s not unreasonable to think that an agreement with the Saudis included an incentive for them to allow oil prices to fall, damaging the United States.

The Chinese have been buying Gold with both hands for a decade, and various estimates put their holdings at perhaps 10,000 tons, which is 2,000 tons more than the (unaudited since 1954) US stash of Gold. Their recent bilateral agreements on trade specifically have avoided the use of the US Dollar.

The time may be here when the Chinese are ready, willing and able for the Renminbi (yuan) to replace the US Dollar as the world’s premier reserve currency. Explicit Gold backing for their money would improve their credibility, and probably will happen within 5 years.

When US Dollars cease being the reserve currency, and world trade starts to be denominated in Renminbi, Gold, or local currencies, then the $3+ Trillion of US Dollars held as foreign reserves by foreign Central Banks becomes much less (completely?) unnecessary.

A rush to sell Dollars around the world would herald a very difficult situation for the US Dollar and for the domestic US Economy. This appears to be inevitable, and we need to put our country’s economic house in order now, to moderate the bad effects as much as possible. Chief among what the US needs to do is:

  • Bring federal spending into balance (or surplus) with revenues
  • Allow the Free Market to set interest rates so that the real Price of Money can be used in business decisions
  • Stop shooting ourselves in the foot with stupid anti-energy policies and other over-regulation, which hinder US economic growth.