If a time machine whisked Americas Founding Fathers from Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 to Washington, D.C.’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing on Independence Day, 2011, what might they think? Watching high-speed presses spew giant sheets of greenbacks would dazzle the eyes of even Benjamin Franklin, a professional printer. Beyond that, though, they would be disgusted.
They would be appalled, says Dr. Judy Shelton, Ph.D, co-director of the Sound Money Project at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, with which I am a Senior Fellow. The integrity of the dollar has been utterly compromised by fiscal malfeasance, Shelton adds. Monetary policy has become the default mechanism for budgetary irresponsibility.
Shelton echoes the Framers words:
As George Washington wrote Thomas Jefferson on August 1, 1786, Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.
Paper is poverty, Jefferson, in turn, observed in 1788. It is only the ghost of money, and not money itself. In 1817, the author of the Declaration of Independence wrote that paper moneys abuses also are inevitable and, by breaking up the measure of value, make a lottery of all private property.
Paper money is unjust, declared James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution. It is unconstitutional, for it affects the rights of property as much as taking away equal value in land.