MONEY - THEN AND NOW
A Tribute to Mr. Merrill Jenkins, Sr., M.R.Every now and then a person comes along that just seems to make a difference in your life. Mr. Jenkins is one such man. I never had the privilege of meeting him but have studied his books and lectures for some time now. He was born in 1919 and spent his teenage years growing up during the great depression. Like many young men of his day he started work at an early age in order to help make ends meet at home. Mr. Jenkins died relatively young at age 60 in 1979. In between those years Mr. Jenkins led an interesting life. This is his story…..
Somewhere in the early 1960's Mr. Jenkins invented the automatic stamp dispensing machines that were installed in Post Office lobbies for after hours operation. He also went on to invent other vending machines of one sort or another including those that changed federal reserve notes for coins (tokens to be exact). During the course of his work for the Post Office the Treasury Department investigated his machines. They were quite impressed with the way they worked. Mr. Jenkins told them that the only way a slug could beat his machine is if someone plated a slug with a silver surfacing. For the rest of his life he claimed that he was regrettably the guilty person who gave them the idea.
When the Treasury started issuing token coinage in 1965 Mr. Jenkins started wondering exactly what this thing called money really was all about. He read and reasoned about the money issue and eventually wrote several works. "Money the Greatest Hoax on Earth" was his first book. It was published in 1971. It was followed by "Everything I Have Was Theirs", "Treadmill to Oblivion" and finally "Aeonic Monetary Delusion" published after his death.
Mr. Jenkins writes his books with a hard-hitting logic that is reasoned out in great detail. Sometimes the details seem over worked, but as he says in his books, exact definitions of terms are required for a proper understanding of larger concepts.
He had quite a correspondence with the IRS and the Federal Reserve that he shares in his book "Everything I Have is Theirs". His most pressing letters result from a couple of questions: "Exactly what is a dollar?" and "What is the money of account in the United States?". The replies from these simple questions from all branches and levels of government as well as private banks and the Federal Reserve are truly astounding. Not one straight answer from all of them.
His most memorable lecture involved the question, "What is a dollar of money?" In the coinage act of 1792 it states that the money of account shall be expressed in dollars. The term "dollar" is a unit of measurement just like quart or inch. In and of itself a unit of measure represents nothing. In the coinage act of 1792 a dollar measure of gold was a certain number of grams of .999 gold while a dollar measure of silver was a certain number of grams of .999 silver. A silver dollar should have been expressed as "a dollar quantity of silver". The lecture goes on to suggest that since a dollar is a unit of measure of silver or gold and there is no more silver or gold in circulation, the term "dollar" in use today is meaningless. He states that a judge stated to him once that the term dollar is in common use and everyone knows what it is, to which he replied, "so is the term mermaid - but they don't really exist either!"
Paper currency used to be "redeemable" in gold and as such was a note, payable in gold to the bearer upon demand. Now, since it is redeemable in nothing but another like piece of paper it is technically no longer a note. Yet we are still supposed to honor it in transactions as if it were the money (gold or other units of value) itself. He made his point by illustrating a hat check represented your hat that you checked at the door. It was not the hat itself, only a claim for the hat at a later date. Certainly you would not wear the hatcheck home on your head as if it were the actual hat! He claims that we are now using the hat-checks as hats themselves with our present system.
The argument that there are no real "dollars" in circulation anymore and that the lawful money of account was no longer circulating lead to his next group of letters to the IRS. Since in all the IRS regulations there is no definition of a "dollar", and they could not define the term dollar in their letters, how could he send in a 1040 and swear at the bottom of the form that he had earned dollars? He even stated that since Federal Reserve notes were not "dollars" (and as far as he knew there were not any dollars any more), he had been robbed of his labors over the past years. He asked the IRS to help him and to please return all his tax "dollars" he had previously sent to them as evidence of the crime.
Since the dollar is a unit of measure and the modern dollar measures nothing then it can only follow that the modern dollar is nothing. Money used to be redeemable in a hard asset but the modern dollar is just a liability or monetized debt. Therefore a debt is now an asset???
Mr. Jenkins' books are filled with references to court cases and his correspondence with various officials. They read like a Greek tragedy. I have only attempted to illustrate a small part of his total work. Throughout his studies he developed a list of 52 economic truths. It is #33 that stands out tonight, "Inflation must end with deflation".
I am sure he would have had fun with the new American Eagles had he been alive to see them issued. All the following issues are legal tender: Silver Eagles (@$1.00/oz), Gold Eagles (@$50.00/oz), federal reserve notes, old silver and gold certificates, pre 1965 coins with 10% seigniorage, as well as newer token coins with 97% seigniorage! Each of these items has a market value that is different from their legal tender value. I am waiting for someone at the treasury to explain that one. Perhaps I'll write them a letter….
I leave you with a quote from section 19 of the coinage act of 1792. (Remember the founding fathers just had their little experiment with fiat, in the form of continental dollars, come to a nasty end.)
"…. If any of the gold or silver coins…shall be debased….every such officer or person who shall commit any or either of said offenses, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death." (Maybe I should call Angola and tell them to warm up old sparky.)
Comments, criticisms and corrections are welcome at
Larry spends his spare time reading, sailing and raising his two almost grown children with his wife Puddy in Shreveport, Louisiana. More recently they have started selling gold and silver bullion coins at www.silvertrading.net.
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