L. Neil Smith's
Number 302, January 16, 2005

"We now return you to your regularly scheduled agitation."

The Fed versus the Backseat Boys
by George F. Smith

Exclusive to TLE

My friend and I stood in a light mist watching a lady instill the fear of God in her three boys. A fight had erupted when someone's book bag ventured into someone else's face as they were climbing into her SUV, and she was not about to put up with it.

"I think you'll be challenged," my buddy observed.

"More likely killed," I said.

I had bet him ten dollars I could convince the first stranger we saw that abolishing the Federal Reserve and adopting a genuine gold standard would in some way improve that person's current circumstances. Proof of my success would be getting him or her to sign a petition.

He leaned close, as if confiding. "A soccer mom. Not even the slightest interest in the Fed. The issue's too remote."

"Not if she understands it's robbing her blind."

I crossed the street to her driveway. The oldest boy saw me approaching. "Hey, look!"

The lady, who bore a resemblance to actress Cathy Moriarty, had been leaning over the front passenger seat lecturing the gang in back. She stepped out and greeted me with a frown.

"Hi," I said.

One of the backseat crew mumbled something and set off a burst of snickering.

"Excuse me, guys. I'd like to talk to your mom for a second."

"She's our grand-mom!" the youngest shouted. At least I had erred in the right direction.

"Not now," she said, slamming the passenger door.

I followed her to the other side. "I just need a minute. I wanted to bring an important issue to your attention."

"Do I have to call 911?"

"She means it, mister," the middle ranger assured me.

"Tell her the government's robbing her blind."

"Hey, grand-mom—"

"She heard him!"

She pulled the driver's door open and nailed me with a dark look. "One minute."

I gathered my nerve and began. "We hear in school that we're the land of the free. But how free are we if we can't choose what to use for money?" I took a dollar out and held it up. "Paper. Printed by the government's bank, the Federal Reserve—the Fed, for short.

"We have no choice about using the Fed's paper for money—it's forced on us by law. We once chose gold for money, but government took that away from us a long time ago, in 1933.

"Now notice: It's a lot easier to print paper dollars than it is to find, mine, and mint gold. This makes it tempting to print lots of money so that government can buy things with it and banks can loan it out at interest.

"Increasing our supply of money does not increase our wealth. Wealth are the goods that help us live better. If you and your boys lived on a desert island would you feed yourselves by printing dollars? Of course not. You'd look for food or try to grow your own crops.

"But in our economy the government can buy food or whatever it wants by printing more dollars. It's called counterfeiting, a clever form of robbery. Real money has someone's hard work behind it. No one's work is behind the printing press money government spends. Like any counterfeiter, government uses the money to swipe the goods it wants and leaves us with the rest, which then rise in price.

"We say that someone is robbing us blind when a person steals from us in a way that's deceitful and very thorough. This is what the government is doing through the Federal Reserve's paper money—pretending to make us better off but in reality stealing our goods. I want people to demand that government put a stop to it and let us have our gold back."

The oldest boy interrupted: "Would gold bring our mom home?"

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"Their mother hangs out with friends and does drugs," grand-mom said. "The boys stay with me."

"You're raising them?"


"I don't know what would bring your mom back, son. But money is so important that if you get rid of a dishonest one like the Fed's paper and replace it with an honest one like gold, it could help us all live better lives, including your mom."

"We're late for school," she said. She seated herself behind the wheel.

"One second, please!" I called out. I unfolded a sheet of paper and handed it to her, then held out a pen. "Would you sign? It's a petition to abolish the Fed and go back to gold."

The oldest boy leaped forward. "I wanna sign it!" His brothers echoed him.

"Signing it won't bring her back," their grand-mom said.

"It's better than doin' nothin'," the boy said.

Then the youngest proclaimed, "Let's go get that gold and find out!"

They were still carrying on about gold and their mom as they backed out of the driveway. The ten dollars was nice, but the four signatures were my real winnings.


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