Why Former Fed Chair Greenspan Believes in Gold
Many Americans have been taken by surprise at Alan Greenspan’s advice to buy gold as protection against a coming financial disaster.
Alan Greenspan is still viewed by many as one of the greatest Federal Reserve Chairs in history. That’s why his recent comments about gold, especially his advice on buying gold right now “given its value as a currency outside of the policies conducted by governments” is something comes across as shocking to many. But for those who have followed his career, Greenspan’s gold fetish is far from surprising. In this edition of the Market Report, Will Hart and Jake Kennedy are sharing their thoughts on Greenspan and gold.
Mark Alyn: This is the Market Report from the Birch Gold Group. Hi, I’m Mark Alyn. I am joined by Will Hart and Jake Kennedy from the Birch Gold Group. Gentlemen, welcome back to the Market Report.
Will Hart: Thank you Mark. Thanks for having me again.
Jake Kennedy: Thanks Mark.
Mark Alyn: Alright, let’s talk about Alan Greenspan. He is the former Chairman of the Fed – let’s call it the rebirth of Alan Greenspan. He’s been in the news again lately. Give me your overall feeling of Alan Greenspan.
Will Hart: This is a smart gentleman. The economy, the global economy, would stare at him when things were kind of shaking up when he was in office, when he had this position at the Federal Reserve. And now that he is no longer in that position, he is able to be a little bit more freely speaking with what his thoughts are. And in a recent article that I read from Reuters where he flat out says that the whole Quantitative Easing [and] everything that was done there wasn’t good for the economy and that people should buy gold.
Mark Alyn: We’ll talk about Quantitative Easing and the stopping of that in an upcoming program, Jake, what is your feeling about Mr. Greenspan?
Jake Kennedy: Yeah, I mean there is no secret that he has been a big fan actually of gold for a long time. And he has believed in its properties much more heavily than the recent Chairman of the Federal Reserve. I mean he wrote a paper back in 1966 called “Gold and Economic Freedom.” And it was a whole paper on how gold and the gold standard is really about how to create economic freedom. And a great line I always tell my clients who know Alan Greenspan and this is a direct quote from this paper, he says: “In the absence of a gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value.” This is the key part I think: “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process.”
Mark Alyn: He said that over 40 years ago.
Will Hart: Jake brings up a great point because it’s very interesting – you have these Chairmen of the Fed between Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen. And Bernanke, he was asked flat out what he thought about gold. He thought it was nonsense. He doesn’t see the value of what gold is where just his predecessor is saying how gold was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Jake Kennedy: But there is a reason why he is saying that because if he says gold is great…
Will Hart: We’re talking about Bernanke?
Jake Kennedy: If he ever came out and said gold is great, it would discredit the dollar. Right now when Bernanke was the Chairman, the dollar had to be strong because if people lost confidence in the dollar after the crisis, financial crisis, I mean all hell could have broken loose.
Will Hart: And I agree with that – I agree with what Jake is saying.
Mark Alyn: Here is just a statement about Greenspan: “Greenspan has always come across as a conflicted figure forced to reconcile his responsibilities as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.” Does that mean he had kind of a love-hate relationship with gold?
Will Hart: Sure, yeah. He was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I mean one minute he had to say, “Yeah the dollar that’s where the strength is,” and on the other side, he’s thinking, “No, gold is where the strength is.” So he had to play a dual role. He had to, of course, do what he was hired to do, and that’s to make the dollar appear to the world that “Yeah, that’s the true value of wealth,” when in fact in his heart he’s looking at gold and he has always believed in gold.
Mark Alyn: And Jake, how about you?
Jake Kennedy: Yeah, I think that’s a very good point. In his position as Fed Chairman, it is to create that money and manage interest rates, and so on and so forth, and really use the dollar as the tool for that. And after we came off the gold standard, in theory you know there is not necessary such a great need for gold, which is where we still are today in his eyes or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve’s eyes right now. But the reality is he is coming back and saying, here there is probably more of a need now for personal ownership of gold than it ever has been in our history.
Mark Alyn: Which would go back to his paper of what 40-50 years ago?
Jake Kennedy: Right, before he was Chairman.
Mark Alyn: Before he was Chairman.
Jake Kennedy: Exactly.
Mark Alyn: And we were still on the gold standard at that time.
Jake Kennedy: Exactly, yeah. So that’s what he was talking about. And the whole point about being on the gold standard was so you couldn’t print money and create debt and deficit spending. I guess what he ultimately means is that when you do that it’s a taxation on the people. And because you are obviously creating this money out of nowhere instead of raising it through taxation, so that’s how you rob people’s money by just creating it and taking it through inflation because deficit spending and money creation creates inflation ultimately. And so, when you are on a gold standard you can’t do that. You can’t print money and you can’t dishonestly in many ways create excess debt and excess money, which ultimately hurts people.
Mark Alyn: Because on a gold standard, that gold represents each dollar bill.
Jake Kennedy: That’s the whole point of it, yeah. That’s why it’s been the standard for hundreds and hundreds of years not just in America but in England and other countries too, because it kept governments honest.
Mark Alyn: In recent months the gloves have come off of not just with respect to gold but with the dangers inherent to the fiat monetary system as well. And that’s another statement about Greenspan.
Will Hart: Well, yeah. He saw that if we are gonna keep printing and printing and printing – who knows, we may end up with a situation [where] we gonna be trillion dollars in debt. And well, there you go. We are almost $18 trillion in debt, and it’s only getting worse. And he saw that. He, just like Jake, was just saying that when you have a currency backed by gold, it doesn’t matter you got a printing press sitting in the back yard – you can’t use it unless the gold is there to be able to back it. And now that we have as I mentioned previously in the shows that every currency here in the world is a fiat currency. So everybody’s just printing, printing, and we’re seeing the consequences now.
Mark Alyn: Yeah, with the holidays not far away, it reminds me of the saying about if you are a bad boy, you gonna get a lump of coal…
Will Hart: Coal.
Mark Alyn: Rather than a gold coin.
Jake Kennedy: Actually I used to get lumps of coals in the Christmas satchel.
Will Hart: He was a bad boy.
Jake Kennedy: I never believed that happened, and my mom used to say, “Oh yeah, Mark used to get that.”
Mark Alyn: It’s really funny.
Jake Kennedy: It happened in England.
Mark Alyn: Let’s talk about the fiat monetary system. Describe that for our listeners.
Jake Kennedy: Fiat monetary system basically in the simplest terms is: Since we came off the gold standard, every country is now a fiat currency, meaning that money is printed and created by individual governments, and it’s backed by nothing except the full faith and the trust of the governments. And in the dollar’s case, it’s backed by the U.S. government.
Will Hart: It’s all perceived value.
Jake Kennedy: Right. So it’s a confidence game. That’s what it is.
Mark Alyn: Let me read this paragraph to you: “If, in the words of British economist Keynes, ‘gold were a barbaric relic,’ central banks around the world would not have so much of an asset whose rate of return, including storage costs, is negative… Gold has special properties that no other currency (with the possible exception of silver) can claim.”
Jake Kennedy: Yeah, and look, you know that people who bash gold and all these lies as a barbaric relic – you know comes from the ground and goes back into the ground. And I always wonder then why central banks are buying more gold today than they’ve ever bought in history. Is it because it is barbaric relic, or is it because it is the only currency they pay each other their debts in? Because paper money anybody can create, a bunch of paper dollars from a printing press authorized by the U.S. government or the Argentinian government or the Venezuelan government, but what is that really mean? So that’s why central banks pay each other and deal with gold with each other, because it’s the only real form of true currency.
Will Hart: Yeah, and to kind of piggyback on that – to get an ounce of gold, you don’t go over to a printing press or to a machine to push a button. Paper’s cheap, ink’s cheap, and to make a dollar bill or a hundred dollar bill it costs nothing, it’s pennies. But to get an ounce of gold you gonna spend between, at least here in the United States, between $1,200 to $1,300 to find that once of gold in flakes, by moving thousands and thousands of yards of dirt to find these tiny flakes. So, there’s a cost inherited when you try to get that gold.
Mark Alyn: And gold is now trading at about or less than it costs to make.
Will Hart: Correct.
Mark Alyn: That’s 4-year low.
Will Hart: Yeah, this is Bizarro land. Right now people can buy gold for less than what it takes a mining company here in the United States to dig it out of the ground. So, this is an ideal time to be purchasing metals and take advantage of that.
Mark Alyn: Here’s another interesting statement: “If China were to convert a relatively modest part of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves into gold, the country’s currency could take on unexpected strength in today’s international financial system.” That would strengthen China’s money.
Jake Kennedy: Sure.
Will Hart: Absolutely.
Jake Kennedy: But I think they are not doing that at least publicly on the surface because it would rock the boat very quickly, and nobody wants the collapse of the financial system overnight. So what you’ll see China actually doing is kind of doing it behind scenes. They could take that money and just move it right into gold on the open market, and it would rock a lot of boats. And some people say that they may end up doing that. But if you look at what’s really been going on with China over the last 3-4 years is that they have been buying as much gold as they can on and off the books. On the books means they are buying it on the open market; they buy every scrap of gold from their own production, you know the mines in the country. I think they are the second largest producer in gold.
Will Hart: Yeah, to jump on that. Every ounce of gold that China pulls out of the ground – not a single ounce leaves their country.
Jake Kennedy: Right. And then you read people like Jim Rickards and what he talks about and how he talks about gold. He says that x amount of tons goes through Hong Kong every year, but also from, he is saying, unreported amount of gold go through other ports too, which isn’t in the books. That’s why he reckons that China is gonna surpass America in the amount of tons of gold that has stored unofficially right now. In short, Alan Greenspan is suggesting with all this talk about China and the foreign exchange reserves of gold, he is essentially indicating, that China is building up its gold reserves as a way of building the credibility, and maybe using that as a means of a creating a new global reserve currency that can compete with the dollar.
Will Hart: OK, so, one of the things that I hear all the time is: “How much gold do we really have here in the United States? How much gold is really in Fort Knox?” They are not allowing anybody to do any type of accounting. So the question is we may not even have as much gold as we say we do. But China, and like Jake was saying, is that we know they are making these purchases, we know that they are mining as fast as they can, and it wouldn’t surprise me if in the near future you know China makes a move as a world reserve currency or just to say, “Look folks, we’ve got a currency and we are backing it by gold.”
Jake Kennedy: Yeah.
Mark Alyn: And they would be the only country in the world to do that.
Will Hart: Yeah, absolutely.
Jake Kennedy: Just as an aside, I had a client, or I’ve got a client, who was a tank commander at Fort Knox in 1963 for 6 months, and he said he had sat in the tanks outside the facility, and he got to tour the facility as part of his duty, and he said there was a ton of gold there at that time. Even he now says he doesn’t believe there is any of it there right now, but he says it was very interesting to see it at that time.
Mark Alyn: Let’s bring it down to the average person, you know Jane and Joe average. Here is a statement: “Gold is a good place to put money these days given its value as a currency outside of the policies conducted by government.” That’s very strong to me.
Jake Kennedy: Well, that goes right back to Alan Greenspan who was saying, and I’ll just say it again because I think it’s so important: “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.” OK, and what he means is I’ll say it again: That you spend, you create all this money out of thin air and spend it. The Federal Reserve creates $18 trillion or $5 trillion, gives it to the government in exchange for bonds in lieu of taxation, and they spend it. That puts more money in the money supply chain, and ultimately that’s what people are worried about – that it’s gonna create inflation. Even Alan Greenspan believes you can’t print all this money without creating inflation, and he thinks it’s coming, which is why he also thinks gold is gonna rise dramatically and considerably over the next 5 years. So, it’s a yeah, exactly right.
Will Hart: And to expand on that, the way Joe average, as you kind of put it, needs to look at it – they can stay in paper as our government continues to mass-produce it, which simply is devaluing the value of what they have. When you convert it into gold, when you move those paper dollars into precious metals, you’ve taken it away from the government because the government can print until they are blue in the face and all that’s gonna happen is your metals will rise because the paper value will go down.
Jake Kennedy: And as it goes down, it buys you less and less as goods rise in value. So that means everything essentially is gonna get more expensive, and gold rises with inflation so it keeps a pace of the cost of living. Or, as if you have dollars under you mattress or in your bank, those dollars will still be worth $100. But what would $100 buy you in a year or two years’ time?
Will Hart: Exactly.
Mark Alyn: Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us here on the Market Report. As you are listening if you have questions, we invite you to write us at email@example.com. You can also call us at (800) 355-2116, and you’ll be able to speak to a Gold Specialist, and ask any questions you have regarding investing or the potential of investing in gold. And of course we invite you to visit us at www.birchgold.com. There is lots of information there that will educate and inform you about investing in gold, silver and other precious metals. For Will Hart and Jake Kennedy and the Birch Gold Group, I’m Mark Alyn. Thanks for listening.alan greenspan, ben bernanke, china, Featured, federal reserve, janet yellen, quantitative easing