Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in JP Cortez with the Sound Money Defense League, a nonpartisan national public policy organization working to restore sound money at the state and federal level. JP is a proponent of and has studied in the Austrian school of economics and his role at SMDL as Policy Director has him regularly testifying at legislative hearings and speaking at various events around the country. His articles and analysis have appeared in many national news publications including the Washington Examiner, Huffington Post, Mises Institute, Foundation For Economic Education and many more, and he’s a frequent guest on various podcasts and national radio shows to talk about the importance of sound money legislation. And it’s a real pleasure to have him back on here with us on the Money Metals Podcast.
By Jp Cortez, Money Metals Exchange
The last true enemy of inflation the Federal Reserve has seen died earlier this week.
Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979-1987, has passed away.
Credited with tampering incredibly high levels of inflation during the Carter and Reagan administration by jacking up interest rates to unpleasant levels, Volcker’s passing harkens back to a time when central bankers weren’t afraid to make tough choices.
Volcker instinctively knew that central planning of the economy by tugging on monetary policy levers was not only a tall order, but also wouldn’t ultimately succeed.
In an interview the former chairman said about the Keynesian “religion,” “…I was a bit turned off by the precision and certainty that these people attached to the doctrine. The analytical framework was very convincing but this feeling they had, that they could press the right buttons and manage the economy pretty exactly, for some reason it turned me off.”
Tall Paul (Volcker was reportedly 6’7”) was also the last chairman of the Federal Reserve who maintained plausible political independence, publicly butting heads with President Carter and President Reagan.
Though Volcker was one of the main architects of closing the gold window and once declared that “gold was the enemy,” he nevertheless seemed at least to understand the severe damage that inflation causes.
In an interview with PBS, Volcker said, “inflation is thought of as a cruel, and maybe the cruelest, tax because it hits in a many-sectored way, in an unplanned way, and it hits the people on a fixed income hardest. And there’s quite a lot of evidence, contrary to some earlier thinking, that it hit poorer people more than rich people…”
At a lecture in Singapore in 2008, when asked about a return to fundamentals of the Austrian school of economics as a response to the Great Recession, Volcker acutely answered, “you know, they [Austrian school economists] have some insights that maybe we have forgotten about…The idea of credit creation being important as one symptom of what is going on has certainly been vindicated.”
Volcker continued, “[Financial firms, investment banks, and commercial banks] all built up the balance sheet on the liability and asset side because of a sense of easy credit and no problems. That’s what’s come home to roost because suddenly they haven’t got enough capital to support the credit, which wouldn’t surprise most Austrian economists, I suspect.”
Former Chairman Paul Volcker wasn’t an Austrian economist – or even a strong proponent of sound money, despite including the term in the title of his memoir. But he understood the perils of inflation and the harm wrought by technocratic manipulation of the economy.
Volker’s approach stands in sharp contrast to that of current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his ilk. Far from fighting inflation, they are openly engaging in a campaign to push it higher.
Jp Cortez is a graduate of Auburn University and a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the Policy Director of the Sound Money Defense League, an organization working to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money. Follow him on Twitter @JpCortez27
Mike Gleason: It is my privilege, now, to welcome in Jp Cortez, with the Sound Money Defense League, a non-partisan national public policy organization working to restore sound money on the state and federal level.
Jp is a proponent of, and has studied in the Austrian School of Economics, and his role at SMDL as policy director, has him regularly testifying at legislative hearings and speaking at various events throughout the country.
His articles and analysis have appeared in many national news publications, including The Washington Examiner, Huffington Post, Mises Institute, Foundation for Economic Education, and more, and he’s a frequent guest on various podcasts and national radio shows to talk about the importance of sound money legislation. And it’s a real pleasure to have him on with us today.
Jp, thanks for the time and welcome.
Jp Cortez: Mike, I appreciate you having me on. Thank you so much.
Mike Gleason: Well, Jp, as we start out today, let’s set the stage here and first have you explain why this idea of sound money is important in the first place, and then, as a follow up to that, what kind of policies would help restore and reinforce sound money? Let’s begin with that.
Charlotte, North Carolina (June 5, 2019) – A national precious-metals dealer is teaming up with a sound money policy group to help students pay for the ever-increasing costs of college.
Money Metals Exchange has teamed up with the Sound Money Defense League to offer the Sound Money Scholarship — the first gold-backed scholarship of the modern era. Starting in 2016, these organizations have set aside 100 ounces of physical gold (currently worth more than $130,000) to reward outstanding students who display a thorough understanding of economics, monetary policy, and sound money.
The Sound Money Scholarship is open to high school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students with an interest in economics, specifically the tradition of the Austrian school. Applicants do not have to be economics majors to be eligible to receive this scholarship.
Washington, DC (May 8, 2019) – U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) introduced legislation this week to provide for the first audit of United States gold reserves since the Eisenhower Administration.
The Gold Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 2559) – backed by the Sound Money Defense League and government accountability advocates – directs the Comptroller of the United States to conduct a “full assay, inventory, and audit of all gold reserves, including any gold in ‘deep storage,’ of the United States at the place or places where such reserves are kept.”
Sound Money Group, In-State Dealers, and Grassroots Activists Deter Tax-Hungry Politicians
By J P Cortez
Well, here’s some encouraging news…
Efforts in Washington State to impose sales tax on gold and silver were SHUT DOWN today thanks to intense efforts by the Sound Money Defense League, a group of in-state coin dealers led by Dan Duncan, the Association of Washington Businesses, and a large number of vocal grassroots supporters.
Here’s the backstory…
Since last month, a few misguided Washington State senators and representatives have been trying to ram through a new tax on constitutional money.
Their cynical efforts stalled out last month on the senate side, and today, the House Finance Committee voted decisively against imposing a new sales tax on precious metals.
Charleston, West Virginia (March 8th, 2019) — Sound money advocates rejoiced today as the West Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 502 and sent it to Governor Jim Justice for his signature.
First passed in the West Virginia senate unanimously last month, the measure removes state sales taxation of precious metals, specifically on gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and coins.
State Senator Craig Blair (R-District 15) introduced SB 502 with the goal of encouraging precious metals purchasers to keep their investment dollars in the state rather making investments elsewhere. The bill impacts purchases of platinum, gold, palladium, or silver bullion valued upon its precious metal content, whether in coin, bar, or ingot form.
The Sound Money Defense League helped make the case to West Virginia legislators, explaining why charging sales taxes on money itself is beyond the pale. In effect, those states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.
“West Virginia’s legislature has taken a huge step forward with the passage of SB 502. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Blair and other groups, Governor Justice can sign a measure eliminating obstacles in the way of West Virginia citizens to protect themselves from the inflationary practices of the Federal Reserve,” said Jp Cortez, Policy Director of the Sound Money Defense League.
By J P Cortez
Washington, DC (February 11, 2019) – The battle to end taxation of constitutional money has reached the federal level as U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) today re-introduced sound money legislation to remove all federal income taxation from gold and silver coins and bullion.
The Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act (H.R. 1089) backed by the Sound Money Defense League and free-market activists – would clarify that the sale or exchange of precious metals bullion and coins are not to be included in capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation.
“My view, which is backed up by language in the U.S. Constitution, is that gold and silver coins are money and are legal tender,” Rep. Mooney said. “If they’re indeed U.S. money, it seems there should be no taxes on them at all. So, why are we taxing these coins as collectibles?”
By J P Cortez
Washington, DC (February 5, 2019) – A member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee today pressed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on its conspicuous failure to uncover the very silver market manipulation now being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a probing letter dated February 5 to CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, Rep. Alex X. Mooney (R-WV) writes:
“U.S. Justice Department obtained a guilty plea from a former commodities trader for JPMorganChase & Co. to charges of manipulating the gold and silver markets between 2009 and 2015, and its investigation into the actions of related parties is ongoing.
By J P Cortez
Charleston, West Virginia (January 29, 2019) — West Virginia legislator Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-01) has introduced the West Virginia Sound Money Act, House Bill 2684, to eliminate all tax liability on gold and silver in the state.
Following in the footsteps of the Wyoming Legal Tender Act, which passed in Wyoming overwhelmingly last year, the West Virginia Sound Money Act is a similar measure that will remove all taxation against gold and silver, including sales and use tax, property tax, individual income tax, and corporate income tax.
Under current law, West Virginia citizens are discouraged from insulating their savings against the devaluation of the dollar because they are penalized with taxation for doing so. House Bill 2684 removes the disincentives to using gold and silver for this purpose.
By J.P. Cortez
Cheyenne, Wyoming (January 17, 2019) – A group of Wyoming legislators have introduced three bills this week to de-risk the state’s financial holdings with modest allocations to physical gold and silver in the state’s pension fund, reserve fund, and mineral trust fund.
Introduced by Representative Roy Edwards (R-Gillette) and co-sponsored by 15 others, the Wyoming Sound Money Trust Act (HB 174) empowers the State Treasurer to hold at least 10% of the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund in the monetary metals in a depository in or near the state of Wyoming.
The Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund is the state’s oldest and most well-funded permanent fund with over $8 billion in assets.
Last year, Rep. Edwards successfully passed the ground-breaking Wyoming Legal Tender Act, a measure which reaffirmed that gold and silver are constitutional money and removed all state taxation of them.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming Sound Money Pension Act (HB 156), introduced by Representative Mark Jennings (R-Sheridan), aims to reduce financial risk and better secure state-managed pension funds by allocating a modest 10% of Wyoming Pension System assets to the monetary metals.
And Representative Scott Clem (R-Campbell) introduced the third bill, the Wyoming Sound Money Reserve Act (HB 190). This measure requires that at least 10% of Wyoming’s Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account be held in gold and silver.
All of these measures would help the state hedge its risks of holding stocks, bonds, and short-term debt instrument with an allocation to a bedrock asset carrying no counterparty risk and proven to maintain purchasing power. The state has suffered significant investment losses in recent months, including a $220 million unrealized loss on investments in Third World debt.
Backed by the Sound Money Defense League and Campaign for Liberty, these measures protect Wyoming’s accounts by insulating them with the only money proven to protect against the Federal Reserve Note’s ongoing devaluation. Furthermore, an allocation to precious metals is proven to increase overall returns over time, reduce volatility, and reduce drawdowns.
The Sound Money Defense League is a public policy group working nationally to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money and publisher of the Sound Money Index. For comment or more information, call 1-208-577-2225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Cantillon, the Most Important Economist You’ve Never Heard Of
Richard Cantillon is the most important economist you’ve never heard of.
Born in Ireland sometime in the mid- to late-1600s, Richard Cantillon’s contributions to economics are found in his major work, Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General (Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General).
In 1734, Cantillon was mysteriously murdered by a disgruntled former employee, and his home was set ablaze. Essai, which survived the fire, was published in 1755.
Cantillon’s work went on to influence Adam Smith and other well-known economists. Essai included his observations on production and consumption, money and interest, international trade and business cycles, and inflation.
We have a basic understanding of inflation and its effects. Put simply, inflation is an increase in the money supply.
An increase in the supply of money that isn’t met with an increase in the demand for money necessarily leads to price inflation, ceteris paribus. Said another way, prices rise as new money is introduced, all other things being equal.
However, this cursory understanding of inflation only paints half the picture. A less discussed aspect of this process is not only that the monetary supply has increased, but how. The entry point of new money into the economy has profound implications.
By Stefan Gleason, Money Metals Exchange
U.S. government agencies could run out of operating funds starting on midnight this Friday, December 7th. At issue: President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. He wants Congress to commit $5 billion for construction of a wall along portions of the U.S.-Mexico border. The migrant caravan that recently attempted to crash the border near Tijuana has helped rally Republicans to support his request. It may be now or never for Trump’s wall. In the next Congress, presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be able to kill any of Trump’s legislative priorities. At present, Trump faces obstacles in the Senate, where Democrats seem intent on blocking wall funding. If both sides can’t agree to a spending bill by Friday, then a partial government shutdown could ensue.
By Clint Siegner, Money Metals Exchange
Americans will be headed to the polls to cast ballots in the midterm elections. Polling suggests that Democrats will return to power in the House of Representatives. Republicans are favored to hold on to the Senate.
However, political polls have proven less than reliable. There are plenty of people expecting a surprise once the votes are counted.
But there are many policies that won’t change regardless of who holds Congressional power come Wednesday.
For starters, we can count on the continuation of huge deficits. The Treasury Department’s most recent estimate is that government borrowing will double in 2018 versus last year. The bureaucracy is going to blow through $1.34 trillion more than this year’s record tax revenue.
That deficit will be the highest since 2010, back when the U.S. economy was mired in deep recession. Today, the IRS stands in high cotton. Imagine what deficit would look like if tax receipts were at recessionary levels and/or Congress was launching a major stimulus program.
By J P Cortez
Washington, DC (September 7, 2018) – The battle to end taxation of constitutional money has reached the federal level as U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) today introduced sound money legislation to remove all federal income taxation from gold and silver coins and bullion.
The Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act – backed by the Sound Money Defense League, Money Metals Exchange, and free-market activists – would clarify that the sale or exchange of precious metals bullion and coins are not to be included in capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation.My view, which is backed up by language in the U.S. Constitution, is that gold and silver coins are money and…are legal tender,” Mooney said in a House Financial Services Committee hearing this week. “If they’re indeed U.S. money, it seems there should be no taxes on them at all. So, why are we taxing these coins as collectables?”
Acting unilaterally, the Internal Revenue Service has placed gold and silver in the same “collectibles” category as artwork, Beanie Babies, and baseball cards, a classification that subjects the monetary metals to a discriminatorily high long-term capital gains tax rate of 28%.
Sound money activists have long pointed out it is inappropriate to apply any federal income tax, regardless of the rate, against the only kind of money named in the U.S. Constitution. And the IRS has never defended how its position squares up with current law.
Furthermore, the U.S. Mint continuously mints coins of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium and gives each of these coins a legal tender value denominated in U.S. dollars. This formal status as U.S. money further underscores the inappropriate nature of IRS income tax treatment.
A tax neutral measure, the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act states that “no gain or loss shall be recognized on the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time or (2), refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.”
Under current IRS policy, a taxpayer who sells his precious metals may end up with a capital “gain” in terms of Federal Reserve Notes and must pay federal income taxes on this “gain.”
But the capital “gain” is not necessarily a real gain. It is often a nominal gain that simply results from the inflation created by the Federal Reserve and the attendant decline in the Federal Reserve Note dollar’s purchasing power.
Under Rep. Mooney’s bill (which has already been cosponsored by two others), precious metals gains and losses would not be included in any calculations of a taxpayer’s federal taxable income.
“Inflation is a regressive tax that especially harms wage earners, savers, and retirees on a fixed income,” said Jp Cortez, policy director at the Sound Money Defense League. “We are encouraged that an increasing number of citizens, state legislators, and members of congress are taking action to address the evils of the Federal Reserve System.”
“The IRS does not let taxpayers deduct the staggering capital losses they suffer when holding Federal Reserve Notes over time,” said Stefan Gleason, president of a Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by a global industry ratings group.
“So it’s grossly unfair for the IRS to assess a capital gains tax when citizens hold gold and silver to protect them from the Fed’s policy of currency devaluation.”
Rep. French Hill (R-AR) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) joined today as original cosponsors. The text of the bill can be found here.
The Sound Money Defense League is a public policy group working nationally to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money.
By Jp Cortez, Sound Money Defense League
Americans no longer carry gold and silver money in our pockets and purses as our grandparents did. But we still carry the history, legacy, and spirit of those gold and silver coins in our language.
“Sound money” embodies a clear message recognized for centuries around the world. It describes the musical, metallic ring of a gold, silver, or copper coin dropped on any hard surface of glass, stone, wood, or metal.
Sound money literally refers to real wealth, with a natural, unmistakable signature of authenticity, as opposed to the paper, plastic, and electronic debt instruments used almost exclusively today.
Washington, DC (April 25th, 2018) – A U.S. Representative posed several pointed questions to the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury this week as to their activities involving America’s gold, including, apparently, efforts to “drive gold out of the world financial systems in favor of the Federal Reserve Note or Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund.”
In a letter dated April 24, Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) wrote to Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, raising concerns about their policy to devalue the Federal Reserve Note, via “inflation targeting,” and requesting information about the United States’ use of, and position on, gold.
“The purchasing power of our currency has fallen some 97% since Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, with an acceleration in the rate of decline occurring since the early 1970s when the final link to gold was severed,” wrote Mooney.
Washington, DC (April 13, 2018) – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has just announced he will introduce a bill to end taxes on capital “gains” that are simply a result of inflation.
Cruz’s inflation-indexing bill seeks to “expand economic growth and encourage more investment into the economy, helping create more opportunities for hardworking Americans.”
“If you invest a thousand dollars, and then ten years later you sell whatever you have invested in for two thousand dollars, right now, you are taxed on that full gain, ignoring inflation, and ignoring the fact that inflation has eaten away a big chunk of that gain,” Sen. Cruz said.
The Sound Money Defense League lauded the measure for acknowledging the problem created by the official policy of devaluing the purchasing power of the Federal Reserve Note “dollar” and for taking a reasonable first step to addressing it.
“Because of inflation, much of what is taxed as capital gains is not a real gain, but rather a nominal gain created by the Federal Reserve System through its policy of serial devaluation,” said Jp Cortez, Policy Director at the Sound Money Defense League.
“We praise Senator Cruz for advancing a bill that addresses a symptom of Federal Reserve currency debasement,” continued Cortez. “However, the fundamental solution is a return to sound money in America, i.e. gold and silver, as intended by our nation’s Founding Fathers.
“Until we strip central bankers of their abusive power to create money out of thin air, our nation’s investors, savers, pensioners, and wage-earners will be robbed of their assets through the insidious inflation tax.”
The Sound Money Defense League is an Idaho-based public policy group working nationally to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money. Visit Soundmoneydefense.org for more information.
By J P Cortez
U.S. Secret Service Also Frustrated with U.S. Mint’s “Lack of Supporting Action”
Washington, DC (March 12, 2018) – Congressmen Alex Mooney (R-WV) criticized the United States Mint for its “disappointing and concerning” lack of awareness or action on the growing problem of high-quality counterfeits of U.S. precious-metals coins entering the country from China and elsewhere.
In a letter dated March 6, Rep. Mooney took the U.S. Mint to task on its perfunctory one-page response to a prior letter that he and Congressman Frank Lucas sent last October asking for information as to whether, and to what extent, the U.S. Mint has taken proactive steps to protect the integrity of America’s minted coins, including reviewing and implementing the anti-counterfeiting measures already put in place by certain foreign government and private mints.
“The U.S. Mint’s response dated November 17, 2017, seemed to suggest a belief that the problem was not significant,” wrote Mooney in his March 6 letter.
“However, the U.S. Secret Service has since briefed my office about the extent of this activity and its frustration with a lack of supportive actions by other agencies, including the U.S. Mint.”
“The matter of counterfeits has been repeatedly raised as a serious issue in the coin industry press… As your team is aware, there have been anti-counterfeiting technologies on the market for some time – and many of these technologies have already been adopted by some of your ‘competitors,’” continued Rep. Mooney.
By J P Cortez
Cheyenne, Wyoming (March 7, 2018) – Following a 44-14 vote in the Wyoming House last week, the Wyoming State Senate today overwhelmingly approved a bill which helps restore constitutional, sound money in Wyoming.
Wyoming Senators voted 25-5 to pass the Wyoming Legal Tender Act (House Bill 103), sending the measure introduced by Representative Roy Edwards (R-Gillette) to Governor Matt Mead’s desk. Sound money activists are already contacting Gov. Mead urging that he sign the bill.
Backed by the Sound Money Defense League, Campaign for Liberty, and Money Metals Exchange, HB 103 is a bill that removes all state taxation from gold and silver bullionand reaffirms their legal tender status in Wyoming, in keeping with Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution.
Testifying before the Senate Minerals, Business, and Economic Development Committee, Sound Money Defense League Policy Director Jp Cortez made the case to Wyoming legislators that assessing taxes on purchases of gold and silver is unjust and undermines their constitutional status as money.
By J.P. Cortez
Listen to the Podcast Audio: Click Here
Here’s What Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Idaho, Etc. Are Doing…
In 2017, Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina, and even Minnesota made progress on the sound money front. In 2018, other states could do so as well.
36 states have already removed sales taxes from precious metals transactions, and bills being introduced this year by sound money advocates in Alabama and Tennessee could add to that list.
Both Utah and Oklahoma have already passed legal tender laws recognizing gold and silver as money. The monetary metals can be used freely as a means of payment.
Meanwhile, a new Wyoming bill next month would repeal both sales and income taxes on bullion while affirming gold and silver as legal tender and strengthening gold clause contracts.
Last year, a bill to eliminate capital gains taxes on precious metals passed the Idaho House. Money Metals Exchange President Stefan Gleason testified before the House Committee on Revenue and Taxation, and here is some of what he had to say:
By J P Cortez
Washington, DC (October 27, 2017) — Congressmen Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Frank Lucas (R-OK) today delivered a formal letter to the United States Mint and Secret Service, urging aggressive action on the growing problem of high-quality counterfeits of U.S. precious metals coins entering the country from China and elsewhere.
“Enclosed herewith is a 1995 1 oz. Gold American Eagle coin, carrying a face value $50 and ostensibly minted by the U.S. Mint,” Mooney and Lucas wrote. “You are free to keep it, as it’s a worthless tungsten fake.”