Ron Paul: Monetary Debasement Leads to Moral Bankruptcy

Ron Paul: Monetary Debasement Leads to Moral Bankruptcy
CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED via Wikimedia Commons

By Ron Paul, for Birch Gold Group

Increasingly, the people I speak to understand the role our own Federal Reserve plays in destroying the value of the dollar.

One of the things that’s less well-understood, though, is the link between monetary debasement and
moral bankruptcy. Now, this is an old, old story (we could go back to ancient Rome for an example). But it’s more relevant today than ever before.

Here’s a recent example that caught my eye…

Now, at first, this looks like a story about underpaid workers unhappy with their low-skill jobs.

But that’s just a symptom.

The “retail apocalypse”

If you know one of the 8 million Americans who work in a store, you may have heard of the “retail apocalypse.” During the pandemic panic, an additional 20,000 businesses closed in the first year alone.

After the lockdowns finally ended, we saw a 40-year record surge in inflation. This devastated the nation’s small businesses, more than you might imagine. Almost two-thirds anticipated closing up shop permanently, due to inflation:

How inflation is impacting U.S. small businesses

All the stores (regardless of size) that survived the pandemic lockdowns laid off employees, cut salaries and raised prices. This was a universal response.

The combination of layoffs, lower wages and higher prices make it harder for shoppers to get the help they need. And for employees to help them.

As a result:

“Employees must cope with an uptick in shoplifting and customer orneriness.”

It’s gotten to the point where people are actually afraid to come to work!

Nearly four out of five companies have seen a rise in “guest-on-associate violence” over the last five years, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group. Large retailers say their annual apprehension of shoplifters climbed by more than 50% in 2022, according to a survey by Jack L. Hayes International, a loss prevention consulting firm…

This is not a joke.

Many retailers are concerned about safety - poll

Now, let me ask you, who’s responsible for the so-called “retail apocalypse”?

Those “greedy” store owners, whose costs have risen and are forced to raise prices in order to stay in business?

Retail workers, who haven’t been sufficiently trained in conflict resolution to manage antagonistic customers?

Those “angry” customers themselves, so frustrated by their inability to make ends meet that they lash out at cashiers?

Of course not. Everyone here is a victim – so who’s ultimately responsible?

The Federal Reserve.

Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease

In response to the pandemic panic, the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by 40%.

Money circulating in the U.S. economy went from $15.3 trillion to over $22 trillion.

And prices responded!

They responded exactly as Milton Friedman famously said:

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.

Not even the Fed’s 300-plus Ph.D. economists could sugarcoat what happened next… Forty-year-record-high inflation. Prices soaring so much faster than wages that, today, right now, the average family cannot afford the average home.

Now, it would be misguided to say this is what Jerome Powell had in mind when he and the rest of the Fed’s Open Market Committee printed $7 trillion. They weren’t trying to make home ownership impossible for the majority of Americans.

Yet that’s one of the many perfectly foreseeable side effects of their massive money-printing spree.

When the supply of money rapidly increases, and there’s no matching increase in productivity – when a much larger number of dollars is chasing the same amount of goods and services, prices go up.

That’s just basic economics.

What most people don’t really appreciate is the social damage that accompanies rising prices.

Dollar devaluation hurts more than just currency

Money printing leads to higher prices. 

That’s true, but it doesn’t really capture the scope of the problem.

When the cost of living skyrockets, American families struggle to make ends meet. That struggle creates
massive amounts of stress, which manifests itself in many ways.

The wave of hostility and crime facing retailers is just one symptom of American households at their breaking point.

Here’s another: A record $1.08 trillion in credit card debt (with delinquencies rising). And, increasingly, “buy-now-pay-later” services are being used for basic necessities like groceries. They simply can’t afford the cost of living increases.

Here’s another: 58% of retirees report making “substantial” cuts to their spending, thanks to inflation.

One in four people applying for a mortgage are rejected. Many Americans have given up completely on ever owning a home.

These are all economic effects, granted. But we can’t ignore that each one of them has profound social significance.

The consequences of monetary debasement are far-reaching and insidious, eroding the very fabric of our society.

It’s a mistake to think of inflation as simply an economic issue. It’s a profound moral issue, as well!

As the value of our currency diminishes, so too does the integrity of our culture and our social institutions. This decay is not always immediately apparent to the naked eye… That’s why I spent so much time talking about specific examples. Over time, the corrosive effects of inflationary policies on the fabric of society becomes as clear as the wear on a once-crisp dollar bill.

Fighting back against moral bankruptcy

This is a big problem, and it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of it. I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?

Throughout history, sound money has been the bedrock prosperous civilizations are built on. It fosters responsibility, curtails governmental excesses, and promotes the fair exchange of goods and services.

Conversely, a fiat currency system encourages profligate government spending, endless borrowing and misguided military adventures. Every dollar you own today is an IOU written by the most expensive (and most indebted!) government in the history of the planet.

The more dollars you own, the more you’ll feel the inevitable erosion of purchasing power thanks to the inflationary policies that act as a hidden tax on Americans. As you’ve seen, that erosion has consequences far beyond the price of bread and gasoline. The debasement of our currency goes hand in hand with the debasement of our culture.

The fight for sound money is a struggle for the soul of our nation. We must recognize that real wealth cannot be printed out of thin air. We must take a stand against the bureaucrats and their failing fiat currency that has held sway over our economy and our lives for far too long.

It’s time to vote with your dollars. I urge all who treasure liberty and prosperity to opt out of this morally bankrupt system by diversifying their savings with physical gold and silver. These precious metals have not only stood the test of time as true stores of value, they’ve been the foundation for every prosperous civilization in human history!

By returning to them, we anchor our financial futures with real, tangible assets that cannot be inflated away by the whims of central bankers.

Let us embrace the wisdom of our forebears who understood the importance of sound money. One by one, we can rebuild the foundation upon which individual liberty and a prosperous society truly rest – and opt out of the morally (and financially) bankrupt federal government. Birch Gold helps Americans do this every day – and they can help you, too. Learn more here.

Ron Paul is a medical doctor, a retired Captain of the U.S. Air Force, an author who’s published 21 books and former twelve-term U.S. Congressman representing the state of Texas. He’s emerged as one of the leading voices challenging government’s addiction to deficit spending and the Federal Reserve’s wealth-destructive monetary policies. He works with Birch Gold Group to educate Americans about the threats to their financial futures, and how to protect themselves and their families.

2023, Featured, federal reserve, inflation, ron paul