Tag Archive for US Treasury

Harriet Tubman, Andrew Jackson, or Something Else?

$1 Educational Series Silver Certificate. Image: National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

$1 Educational Series Silver Certificate. Image: National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

The responses to the Treasury Department’s recent announcement that Andrew Jackson would be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill have been many and varied. Progressives have lauded the inclusion of a black female abolitionist on US currency. Many Republicans have lauded Tubman’s selection as she was an evangelical Christian, gun-toting Republican. Others, such as Donald Trump, decried Tubman’s selection as a typical example of political correctness run amok. Is it really something to get worked up about, or is there maybe a better solution?

Do As We Say, Not As We Do: US Treasury Edition

Former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, responsible for frightening Congress into passing the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008, is now urging the Chinese government to let Chinese companies fail. There’s a word for that: hypocrisy. Is it any wonder that other countries don’t take the US seriously when it tries to lecture them? Or consider the case of the G20 meeting this past weekend in which the US Treasury urged the G20 nations to use all means at their disposal to boost their economies, including monetary and fiscal stimulus. But Treasury Secretary Lew proceeded to lecture the Chinese that they shouldn’t devalue their currency because monetary stimulus isn’t a license to engage in beggar-thy-neighbor policies. Of course, that’s easy for him to say because he can’t be blamed for anything the Federal Reserve does with regard to heavily accommodative US monetary policy. But US policymakers, in other words, are saying “We want your government to spend more money that it doesn’t have and engage in looser monetary policy, but only as long as it does things that benefit our economy and help us.” Gee, I wonder how many countries will take them up on these suggestions?

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Central Banks Running Amok: More Money Printing on the Way

As if the world weren’t already awash in trillions of dollars, euros, and yen conjured up out of thin air, central bankers and politicians around the world are gearing up for yet another round of monetary expansion. It didn’t work before, it won’t work now, but don’t get these guys confused with the facts. They have to look important and make it seem as though they’re doing something, so they’re resorting to the only thing they know how to do: create more money. Here’s a roundup of what’s in store.

War on Cash: The Fix Is In

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has come out in favor of eliminating the $100 bill. Following on the European Central Bank’s decision to scrap the €500 note, it is clear that the international war on cash is about to intensify. In the United States the lowest coin denominations, the penny and nickel, are increasingly devalued by inflation and likely to be eliminated in the near future. With the highest denomination bills now facing scrutiny as well, cash is under attack from both ends. As usual, the opponents of cash trot out the usual bogeymen in attacking the use of cash. Summers refers to Luxemburg as one of the defenders of the €500 note, characterizing the country as one “giving comfort to tax evaders, money launderers, and other proponents of bank secrecy…” God forbid we peons should be allowed to keep our money safe from the greedy hands of government officials. The real purpose of the war on cash is not to combat criminals or terrorists but to ease the government’s ability to plunder its citizenry.

A Brief Monetary History Of The United States: Part IV

Today we bring you Part IV of “A Brief Monetary History of the United States” from the Ron Paul Monetary Policy Anthology. The full series can be found at the following links:

  • Part I – Colonial Money and the Coinage Act of 1792
  • Part II – The Banks of the United States, McCulloch v. Maryland, and Private Coinage
  • Part III – Government Begins to Monopolize Currency
  • Part IV – The Legal Tender Cases and the “Crime of ’73”
  • Part V – The Rise of the Fed
  • Part VI – The Great Depression, Gold Confiscation, and the Gold Exchange Standard
  • Part VII – The Dollar Reigns Supreme: From Bretton Woods to Stagflation
  • Part VIII – The 1980s to the Great Recession and on to the Future
  • Legal Tender Cases

    Supreme Court Justice William Strong, author of the majority opinion in Knox v. Lee.

    Supreme Court Justice William Strong, author of the majority opinion in Knox v. Lee.

    The government understood the need to return to specie redemption, but was loath to let go of its issue of greenbacks. After all, greenbacks were an interest-free form of debt that circulated as money and could be used to pay off creditors, thus saving the government from having to use its valuable gold and silver. However, from the very inception of the Legal Tender Act, the constitutionality of legal tender paper currency had been called into question. That question was finally resolved after the decisions handed down in a series of Supreme Court cases known as the Legal Tender Cases.

    A Brief Monetary History Of The United States: Part III

    Today we bring you Part III of “A Brief Monetary History of the United States” from the Ron Paul Monetary Policy Anthology. The full series can be found at the following links:

  • Part I – Colonial Money and the Coinage Act of 1792
  • Part II – The Banks of the United States, McCulloch v. Maryland, and Private Coinage
  • Part III – Government Begins to Monopolize Currency
  • Part IV – The Legal Tender Cases and the “Crime of ’73”
  • Part V – The Rise of the Fed
  • Part VI – The Great Depression, Gold Confiscation, and the Gold Exchange Standard
  • Part VII – The Dollar Reigns Supreme: From Bretton Woods to Stagflation
  • Part VIII – The 1980s to the Great Recession and on to the Future
  • III. GOVERNMENT BEGINS TO MONOPOLIZE CURRENCY

    Coinage Act of 1857

    As the 19th century progressed, the federal government sought to enhance its control over the banking industry and the monetary system. In 1857, Congress passed a coinage act which removed the legal tender status that circulating foreign coinage had until then enjoyed. All circulating foreign coins received by the Treasury were to be melted down and recoined. By driving foreign coinage out of circulation, Congress sought to ensure that only U.S. coins circulated, a step towards federal government dominance of the money supply. This was ostensibly to provide a uniform national currency, a stated goal of the federal government since the country’s founding. By “uniform national currency” the federal government did not mean adherence to a dollar defined as a specific weight of metal with coinage circulating by weight and valued in relation to that dollar. Instead, the federal government sought to ensure that only the United States Mint’s coins would circulate in commerce, regardless of what type of coins the market desired.

    A further strike against market choice in currency came in 1864, when Congress passed legislation to prohibit private production of coins. The minting of any coins intended for use as current money was made illegal, even if the coins were of completely original design. This prohibition remains in force today, and was most famously used in recent years to prosecute the creators of the Liberty Dollar.