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March 2014 Issue

March 21, 2014


The Governments Disastrous Reign over U.S. Money
Very few people know that the United States did not create a monetary unit pegged to buy some amount of
metal, as if the dollar were some kind of money independent of metal. In 1792, Congress passed the U.S. Coinage
Act, which defined a dollar as a coin containing 371.25 grains of silver and 44.75 grains of alloy. Congress did not
say a dollar was worth that amount of metal; it was that amount of metal. A dollar, then, was a unit of weight, like
a gram, ounce or pound. Since the alloy portion of the coin was nearly worthless, a dollar was essentially defined as
371.25 grainsequal to 24.057 grams, or 0.7734 Troy oz.of pure silver. (15.43 grains = 1 gram, and 480 grains =
1 Troy ounce.) In a nutshell, a dollar was equal to a bit more than 3/4 of an ounce of silver; or, in reverse, an ounce
of silver was equal to $1.293.
The same act declared that a new coin, called an Eagle, would consist of 247.5 grains of gold and 22.5 grains
of alloy. It valued this coin by law at ten dollars, meaning 3712.5 grains of silver. In other words, Congress, rather
than allowing gold and silver to trade freely against each other, equated the value of a certain amount of gold to the
value of a certain amount of silver. Briefly, it established an official value for gold so that 247.5 grains of gold =
3712.5 grains of silver. This is an exchange ratio of 15:1. A dollar was 0.7734 ounces of silver, and Congress was
declaring that a dollar would buy 0.0515625 ounces of gold, so gold was valued at $19.39/oz.
This stupid attempt at creating an artificial parity drove gold coins out of circulation, because the market had
determined that an ounce of gold was in fact worth more than 15 ounces of silver. Still trying to establish a workable
parity, Congress in 1834 passed another coinage act, changing the value of a ten-dollar gold piece from 247.5 to 232
grains of gold (plus 26 grains of alloy), thereby tweaking the gold/silver ratio closer to 16:1. Now gold was pegged
at 23.2 grains per dollar, which is equal to 0.04833 ounces, so gold was now valued at $20.69 per ounce.
This was no fix, because after gold was discovered in California the market quickly valued silver higher than
gold, thus driving silver out of circulation. Neither Congress nor, as we will soon see, the Fed, can repeal the laws
of economics and succeed at forcing a particular value on anything.
The coinage act of 1837 tweaked the purity ratio of gold and silver U.S. coins, making it 90%. This change
edged the gold content of an Eagle to 232.2 grains, meaning that one dollar would buy 23.22 grains of gold, so gold
was now valued at $20.67 per ounce. A dollar, however, was still 0.7734 oz. of pure silver.
The silver standard ended in 1873, when a new Coinage Act scrapped the definition of a dollar as a certain
weight of silver and adopted a new standard based on the weight of gold, maintaining the formula of $1 = 1/20.67
ounce of gold. The Gold Standard Act of 1900 declared that gold would remain the only standard for valuing a dollar
and confirmed that a dollar was 1/20.67 ounces of gold.
In 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. This act gave a new banking corporation the monopoly power
to issue dollar-denominated banknotes backed by bonds issued by the Treasury. In other words, it gave the Fed the
power, in a roundabout way, to use government debt as backing to counterfeit dollars to benefit the government.
It was counterfeiting because the Fed issued its notes on dollars (gold) it never had, and it would never find itself
obligated to liquidate its store of Treasury bonds.
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The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

The Feds counterfeiting diluted the supply of dollar-denominated debt, which naturally led to golds being worth
more per dollar than the notes. In January 1934, Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act, under which the government
seized Americans gold, canceled all business contracts in gold, outlawed citizens possession of gold and reduced
the amount of gold that would define a dollar. President Roosevelt personally dreamed up a new value for the dollar,
which he pronounced to be 1/35 of an ounce of gold, thus making the price of gold $35.00 per ounce. In one
stroke, then, he stole 41% of the value of everyones dollars in a single moment, to the benefit of the government.
Because the Act prohibited U.S. citizens from trading in gold, this new, lower, value of a dollar was thereafter
applied only to international transactions. To maintain a domestic monetary standard, Congress simultaneously
gave the Treasury the privilege of issuing paper dollars redeemable in silver at the rate of $1.29/oz., which was its
statutory value as established in 1792. With the silver price still depressed from the Great Depression, this was, for
a very brief time, a fair price. Congress passed the Silver Purchase Act of 1934 to acquire silver to back the notes.
This scheme didnt even last three decades. With the governments continued borrowing and the Feds
monetization of much of it, smart people began redeeming the governments paper IOUs for silver, and the Treasurys
silver stocks began to dwindle. In 1960, President Kennedy ordered the Treasury to stop printing silver certificates
above $1 in value, the aim being to make it nearly impossible for citizens to gather up enough notes to make
redeeming them worthwhile. In 1961, the governments silver stock plummeted by 80% as smart people redeemed
their large-denomination bills. That year, Kennedy issued an Executive Order to halt the redemption of silver
certificates and urged Congress to let the Fed take over the nations currency. In 1963, Congress obliged by passing
Public Law 88-36, which revoked the Silver Purchase Act and authorized the Federal Reserve to issue banknotes
unbacked by money. The U.S. mint continued to make silver coins through 1964 with what silver it had left. By
1965, the Fed had issued enough Federal Reserve notes to overrun the circulation of silver-backed U.S. Treasury
notes. That year, on July 23, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1965, which declared that commonly used U.S.
coins would henceforth contain no silver. The half-dollar coin was reduced to 40% silver. For three more years, the
government paid out silver to the few people who brought in silver certificates for redemption, but it ceased doing
so in June 1968, reneging on the promise printed on its notes. The last year that 40%-silver half-dollar coins were
minted for circulation was 1969.
The year 1965, then, is the key year marking the official end of metal-backed money in America. The Feds
notes, and even the governments old money-backed notes, became currency unredeemable in anything. The dollar
became merely an accounting unit. Americans were forced to use the Feds accounting units and the Treasurys tokens
for transactions or go to jail. In other words, it became illegal to circumvent the governments now-legal program
of stealing value from citizens savings accounts through the process of issuing debt and having the Fed turn it into
checking accounts.
Meanwhile, gold was on its own road to complete de-monetization. In 1944, the U.S. had joined a group of
other political price-fixers via the Bretton Woods monetary agreement, which allowed foreign governmentsbut not
U.S. citizensto redeem dollars for gold at the U.S. Treasury at the rate of $35/oz. This agreement gave the U.S.
government the economic advantage of issuing the worlds reserve currency.
It took just fifteen years before foreigners began to figure out that the government and the Feds counterfeiting
factory was persistently reducing the value of Federal Reserve notes, thereby raising the value of gold in relation
to them. They began quietly turning in the Feds dollar-denominated IOUs to the Treasury and demanding gold
in payment at the rate of 1/35 of an ounce of gold per dollar. Just as silver had flowed out of the Treasury in the
early 1960s, gold began flowing out of the Treasury as well. For a dozen years, Congress allowed foreigners (and,
according to conspiracy theorists, secretly connected individuals) to raid the U.S. Treasury, leaving Fed-note holders
with increasingly devalued currency and foreigners and insiders with most of the governments gold.
In 1968, President Nixon issued an Executive Order reducing the official value of a Fed-owed dollar to 1/38 of
an ounce of gold, thereby raising the price of gold to $38.00 per ounce. This feeble attempt to stem the tide lasted
only three years.
Finally the government had to admit that its monetary ruse had failed. In 1971, Nixon issued Executive Order
11615, which reneged on the governments obligation to pay out gold to foreign holders of the Feds IOUs. Speaking
on television on August 15, the President explained, The effect of this actionwill be to stabilize the dollar. What
it really did was to complete the eight-year transition during which the term dollar was transformed from indicating
a specific amount of money to indicating nothing but an accounting unit. In 1972, the official value of a Fed-owed

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

dollar was again lowered by statute, this time to 1/42.22 of an ounce of gold, making the gold price $42.22 per
ounce. This price was a fiction at the time and still is, but it remains on the books to this day.
In 1972, central banks announced that they would no longer pretend to equate their accounting units to any
statutory amount of money but allow them to trade at whatever the market said they were worth. This announcement
set the government and the Fed completely free to create and spend new accounting units at their pleasure. The Feds
banknotes were still written against the Treasurys IOUs, but no longer would the Feds notes or the Treasurys IOUs
be paid in gold, silver or anything else. Congress new law declared that the backing for its IOUs would henceforth
be the entire value of the nations assets, figured in the governments floating accounting units. What this exactly
means has yet to be tested, but it seems that to satisfy creditors the federal government could become obligated to
confiscate every asset in the nation.
The United States dollar had been approximately a twentieth of an ounce of gold or had been redeemable for
that amount of gold for 142 years. Following the governments massive theft of citizens gold in 1934, the dollar was
again redeemable in the original amount of silver but was newly valued at only a thirty-fifth of an ounce of gold. The
original dollar, therefore, essentially managed to maintain parity to 0.7734 Troy oz. of silver for 173 years. Then, from
1963 to 1971, Congress through a series of new laws ceased exercising its Constitutional power to coin money, and
regulate [make regular] the value thereof. Instead it outlawed money and replaced it with an elastic unit of account.
The only reason people use the Feds money-substitute is that the government prohibits all forms of real and
alternative money. It requires that all transactions, including the payment of taxes, be denominated in the Feds
accounting units, which, although no longer dollars, are still called dollars.
Section 19 of the original 1792 Coinage Act made the following declaration: if any of the gold or silver
coins which shall be struck or coined at the said mint shall be debased or made worse as to the proportion of the
fine gold or fine silver therein contained [by act of] any of the officers or persons who shall be employed at the
said mintevery such officer or personshall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death. All members
of Congress since 1963for passing and then failing to repeal Public Law 88-36are de facto guilty of having
debased and made worse the dollar, but they have hidden behind technicalities in cleverly crafted laws, which
shroud the effect of their acts.
[An important source for this review is]

Has the Fed Produced Any Benefits?

The Fed has benefited the government mightily. Its exchange of new accounting units for the Treasurys bonds
has stealthily transferred value from savers accounts to the government. In conjunction with the FDIC, it has also
benefitted bankers in the short run by allowing them to make profits on reckless loans and avoid accountability. But
in doing so it has sucked value out of savers accounts and burdened the American economy.
Figure 1 is a remarkable chart that compares two back-to-back centuries. From 1813 to 1913, a period of 100
years when the Fed did not exist, the value of top U.S. corporations (normalized to the DJIA) rose from 0.18 ounces
of gold to 2.86 ounces of gold, a 1489% gain in 100 years. From 1913 to 2013, a period of 100 years when the Fed
has existed, the value of top U.S. corporations (as measured by the DJIA) rose from 2.86 ounces of gold to its current
level of 11.86 ounces of gold, a 314% gain in 100 years. On this basis, we can calculate the burden of the Fed as
being about 80% of the otherwise gain in the U.S. economy.
But this is the most positive spin one can put on the matter. It took some time for the Fed to get its operations
going. If we extend the non-Fed era to 1929, erring slightly in the other direction, we find that the value of top U.S.
corporations rose from 0.18 ounces of gold to 18.5 ounces, a difference of more than +10,000% in 115 years. In
the 85 years since then, the value of top U.S. corporations has fallen from 18.5 ounces of gold to 11.86 ounces, a
difference of -35.8%. On this basis, we can calculate the burden of the Fed as having extracted so much value out
of the U.S. economy that it has gone into retreat.

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

Figure 1

The Era of Money vs. the Era of Unbacked Accounting Units

As they say in the commercials, But wait! The change wrought by fake money is far, far worse than you
think. Lets look not at the timing of the Feds existence but the timing of the governments abandonment of money.
For 173 years, as detailed above, the United States was on a money standard. Congress shifted the basis of the
money standard between silver and gold twice during that period. In the fateful year of 1965, shortly after authorizing
the Federal Reserve to issue notes as currency, Congress abandoned money altogether and authorized the Fed to
provide the nations currency and the Treasury to issue tokens in place of money, all without any standard at all.
Dollars became accounting units anchored to nothing. Officials still call the new unit of account a dollar and

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

money, but they are lying on both counts. Or, one might say, they merely re-defined these terms; but they did so
without telling anybody plainly what the change meant.
Although a few nuances attend U.S. monetary history, broadly speaking we may delineate the key periods as
1792-1873: silver money standard
1873-1934: gold money standard
1934-1965: silver money standard
1965-present: Federal Reserve Accounting Units (no standard).
The year 1965 is not just any old year. It is the year that we have long recognized as the orthodox end of the great
bull market in the Dow/gold ratio in Elliott wave terms. Figure 2 shows this wave labeling, which we first posted in
Appendix C of the Year-2000 edition of At the Crest of the Tidal Wave; Figure 3 brings the wave pattern up to date.
Thus, the true bull market provided conditions under which the country would prosper, and the most important of
those conditions being a money standard. When the bear market started after 1965, conditions shifted to reflect the
negative psychology of a bear market, the most important of those conditions being the absence of a money standard.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4 is a chart you have never seen elsewhere. It shows the breathtaking rise in U.S. corporate values during
the bull market period and exposes the stunning net destruction of U.S. corporate values since the bear market started.
The year of the bull market top is when the government shifted the foundation of value for the nations accounting
unit from money to the whims of politicians and central bankers. The difference in result is stunning: From 1792,
when a money standard was first made official, to 1965, when Congress abandoned the money standard, the U.S.
stock market rose from being worth .09 ounces of gold to being worth 27.59 ounces, a difference of +30,556%.
Since 1965, when the government abandoned the money standard, the U.S. stock market has fallen in value from
27.59 ounces of gold to 11.86 ounces, a difference of -57%.
Had the old trend continued at its preceding average pace, the Dow at the end of 2013 would be up 390% since
1965 instead of down by more than half; and since 1792 it would be up 150,009% instead of only 13,078%. Of
course, social mood is in charge of these values, so we do not believe that the Dow would be worth that much; it
would be worth just what it is today in gold-money terms. But the difference does reveal the power of a bear market
to prompt destructive decisions among the political class.

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

Figure 4

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

The only reason people do not know the countrys true stock market history and its current real value is that the
massive inflating of accounting-unit dollars has caused an attendant reduction in the value of the accounting unit,
which in turn has masked the devastation of U.S. stock values. But Figure 4 tells the truth: The bull market ended in
1965; the bear market has been raging ever since; and the accounting-unit monopoly engineered by the government
and the Fed has been an intimate factor in the trend toward the financial and economic destruction of what was
formerly the most prosperous country on earth.
Despite our delineation of the money era from the Fed-note era, the Fed deserves only part of the institutional
blame for the monetary and economic effects of the bear market. Congress is primarily responsible for bloating
credit and for ruining the economy, by means of its debt engines (FHLBs, FNM, FMAC, GNMA, student loans),
speculation guarantees (FDIC, FSLIC, bank and corporate bailouts), regulations (OSHA, EPA, EEOC, etc.), taxes
(income tax, social security tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains tax, excise tax, gas tax, medical tax, etc.) and
criminalization of enterprise (via thousands of state and local laws prohibiting free enterprise). But the Fed has
helped finance it all.
Has the Fed produced any benefits? No.
Has the Fed contributed to prosperity? No.
On the contrary, the Fed, by providing an inflatable accounting unit, has made it easier for the government and its
friends to extract purchasing power from dollar-holders with very few being the wiser. You can see the results in the
dramatic shift of trend in 1965, from 173 years of mostly persistent prosperity to 49 years of net stagnation and decline.
True Stock Values
So, why does everyone seem to think that the country is prosperous? The Dow is at 16,500! The S&P is at
1880! But, of course, theyre not. In less than a century, government through its debt-creating engines and the Fed
through its monetary policies managed to reduce the value of the original dollar by almost exactly 99%. From the
dollars original value of 1/19.39 of an ounce of gold in 1792-1834, it slid all the way to 1/1921.5 of an ounce in
2011. With the dollars recent gain against gold (i.e. fall in dollar price), the reduction from original value to date is
about 98.5%. So everything today is dollar-priced about 67 times where it would be had the dollar remained worth
approximately 1/20 of an ounce of gold.
As you can see in Figure 4, the true price of the Dow at year-end 2013 was not 16,500 but 245. This is not
a made-up figure. This is the Dows true price. Thats the price you would be reading in the paper had the dollar
maintained its purchasing power in terms of gold. The Dow at year-end 2013 is worth less than it was at year-end
1928, 85 years ago. The government and the Fed have succeeded in one thing: hiding true values and keeping people
complacent, even giddy, over their gains while they are secretly being robbed.
The Dows Seemingly Low Real Price Does Not Portend More Gains Ahead
One might look at Figure 4 and think that the Dow is now so cheap in real terms that it has nowhere to go but
up. But thinking so would be to underestimate mightily the destruction that the government has wreaked on the U.S.
Incredibly, the year-end-2013 price of the Dow11.86 ounces of gold, or 245 original dollars (normalized to
1837-1933s 1/20.67 oz.)is ridiculously expensive for what you get: a lousy 2.1% annualized dividend yield, even
lower than it was at top tick in 1929; a P/E ratio in the high end of the range for the past century and three times
what it was at major bear market bottoms of the 20 century; and a 4.7 price-to-book-value ratio (adjusted to the
pre-2004 data series) on the S&P, which is two to four times its range from year-ends 1929 through 1987. In other
words, the Dow is not cheap; its absurdly overpriced. At the same time, stock-market optimism is as extreme as it
was at the Dows all-time record overvaluation in 2000. The miserable value shown at December 2013 in Figure 4
comes from a snapshot of the Dow at its second-greatest overvaluation in history. This condition virtually assures
that the worst of the devastation of U.S. corporate values still lies ahead.
Is the Fed Run by Heroes?
Its amazing that the dilution of the nations accounting unitby making the stock averages appear to be at
new highshas fashioned a distorted lens through which people interpret their ruination as their salvation. Its
quite a trick.

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

We know how the trick works. Even John Maynard Keynes, the economist whose ideas, ironically, have provided
justification for the government and the Feds destructive actions, knew about it. Early in his career, in an essay titled
Consequences of the Peace (1919), he wrote as follows:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By
a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the
wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the
process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes
not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.
Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires,
become profiteers, who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished,
not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from
month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation
of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting
degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than
to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction,
and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
The reality, then, per Keynes description, is that the government, while claiming to do good works, has conspired
with the Fed to loot the country.
Reality, however, does not determine most peoples assessment of the Fed; social mood does. As we have long
chronicled, people judge Fed chairmen as heroes when social mood is extremely positive and the stock market is near
a major top; and they judge them as goats when social mood is negative and the stock market is near a major bottom.
As Figure 5 shows, the Fed chairman was revered at the tops in 1998-2000 and again in 2006-2007. At the
bottoms in 2002-2003 and 2008-2009, the Fed was criticized. Over the past two years, during a period of extremely
elevated stock values, Fed chairmen have been persistently adored.

Figure 5

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

But the elevation of mood of recent years has been taking place within a larger bear market. The next intermediateterm turn toward negative social mood will drive the stock market lower in real terms and almost surely cause the
debt structure to collapse, which in turn will drive the stock market lower even in nominal terms. These events will
finally unmask the hidden financial and economic destruction of the U.S. economy and change the medias treatment
of the Fed from adoration to vilification. It will be a horrible day and a glorious day at the same time.
Why the Government Wants All
That Money
Figure 6, which we have shown
before, confirms that the era of Big
Government began precisely at the
passages of the Federal Reserve
Act in 1913 and the Income Tax in
1916. From that time forward, the
United States ceased being a peaceful,
prosperous country and became a
nation of taxation, inflation, debt and
foreign wars, activities that reward the
political class. The citizens misery is
the health of the state.
Possible Timing of the End of the
Fed-Note Era
The next big monetary event will
Figure 6
not be more inflation but deflation, as
the huge quantity of accounting-unit indebtedness, built on a foundation of accounting-unit indebtedness, becomes
unpayable and contracts. Most people believe such an outcome is impossible. To understand our case, please see
Conquer the Crash and numerous discussions in EWT since then.
After the deflation runs its course, either reform will follow or the government will engage in hyperinflation.
But first we have to go through that valley.
When might the government complete its destruction of the U.S. dollar and prostrate the economy that supports it?
We have been impressed with how often the Fibonacci sequence of numbers has governed a progression of historical
events. There is not a good progression of dates in this case, but we do note that the dates of major monetary actions
by the federal government are all a Fibonacci number of years from times in the near future: 1792 (when the silver
standard was instated) + 233 years is 2025; 1873 (when the gold standard was instated) + 144 years is 2017; 1934
(when the silver standard was re-instated) + 89 years is 2023; 1963/1964/1965/1968/1969/1971 (when the U.S.
wormed its way off the domestic silver standard and then the foreign gold standard) + 55 years is 2018-2026. The
period from 2017-2026, then, could well see the end the era of the accounting-unit dollar if not the end of the dollar
in any form. Figure 7 depicts these spans.
Many people believe that the Fed decided to step in and support the stock futures market on October 20, 1987
and that its action signaled a change in policy toward supporting stock prices. I dont hold to this view, but at least
that year was a psychological juncture in terms of investors belief in the Feds new intent, which only much later
under Ben Bernanke became explicit. It is interesting, then, that 1987 + 34 years is 2021, another year in the cluster.
The year 2000, when economists widely proclaimed a New Economy and a Goldilocks Economy, fits, too, as
2000 + 21 = 2021. The year 2008 is when the Fed began its program of accelerated asset purchases for the first time
in history, and 2008 + 13 = 2021.
The first cluster of years2017-2018fits our long-time analysis (see most recent summary in the May 2011
issue) forecasting a stock market low in 2016 and a bottom in the economic depression in 2017. The years 20172018, moreover, will be the first two years of the next U.S. Presidents term. Keep an eye out for anyone running
on a platform that includes abolishing the Fed and re-instituting a money standard or, alternatively, transferring the
nations currency-manufacturing monopoly from the Fed to the government. The former action would retire the
Feds dollar-denominated notes, and the latter one would inflate the dollar to oblivion. Taking the entire span of dates

The Elliott Wave TheoristMarch 21, 2014

Figure 7

into account as well as a two-year leeway for spans of 55 or more years, perhaps the government will take action in
2017-2018, and the ultimate miserable outcome of that action will occur within the ensuing decade. The German
hyperinflation ended in 1923; maybe ours will end a century later. We cant know the specifics, but these projections
may provide a hint of the timing of major upheaval relating to the nations monetary system.
The Socionomics Foundations Conference on Social Mood
Be sure to join us for our fourth annual Socionomics Summit, to be held on April 5 at the Georgia Tech
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the hours of 8:30 and 5:00 ET.

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