Obama bans wealthy from hoarding gold
by Justin Thyme
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama today banned private ownership of more than a quarter ounce of gold, saying the move was necessary to revive the economy.
"Wealthy Americans are bailing out on the economy by taking their money out of circulation and hoarding gold," Obama said as he signed an executive order reminiscent of Depression-era President Franklin D. Roosevelt's ban on the possession of gold.
"The wealthy are violating their trust and abusing their position by investing in gold," Obama said. "My order will put an immediate end to this practice, which threatens to hijack the good efforts of Congress and my administration, which needs at least 3 trillion dollars of additional stimulus money to maintain an acceptable rate of growth of the federal government. My motto is 'If you're not getting bigger, you're not getting better.'"
Obama made the announcement at a dais set up in the White House Rose Garden and immediately left without taking questions, his customary practice in his ongoing effort to eliminate transparency in government.
White House Spokeswoman Mary Chris Moss said all citizens must surrender their gold to federal authorities by Dec. 25 or face a fine of $335,400 and 20 years in prison.
"FDR imposed a $10,000 fine and a jail term of 10 years on Americans who refused to give up their gold in 1933," she said. "but that wasn't enough to keep most wealthy Americans from transferring their gold overseas. We have doubled the fine, adjusting for inflation, as well as doubled the jail term. President Obama's order also immediately prohibits American citizens from transferring gold to any other country, corporation, individual or governmental entity before Dec. 25."
Assistant Treasury Secretary Juan T. Richez praised Obama's order as a "brave and courageous and necessary rescue of the economy."
He said his boss, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, co-signed the gold ban to avoid having it ruled invalid, which was the fate of FDR's Executive Order 6102. That order was nullified by federal judge John M. Woolsey, who ruled that it should have been signed by the secretary of the treasury. The Roosevelt administration then issued a new order signed by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgentheau Jr.
Richez pointed out that the Obama administration will not simply confiscate gold but will reimburse citizens at a value set by the federal government.
"We are confident that Americans will be happy to know that we will be paying double the rate paid by FDR for gold in 1933," he said.
During the Depression, the government paid $20.67 for each troy ounce of gold that it received. Obama's order sets the current price at $41.34 per ounce.
Phillip D. Bagg, newly appointed director of the Treasury Department's Gold Reimbursement Fund, said Americans should be overjoyed to learn that the government expects to eliminate a large portion of federal debt through what he called "President Obama's brilliant redistributive gambit."
Bagg said his economists have estimated that at least 700 million troy ounces of gold are held by hoarders across the nation. He said the government will offer the gold as collateral valued at $1,225 per ounce as it applies for loans to fund the burgeoning federal government.
"I am calculating that if we can get even 500 million troy ounces of gold, we'll be able to borrow enough from China to pay for the entire federal debt by 2012," he said. "This should allow us to turn the corner on the economy before the next presidential election, which should ensure that our great leader remains in office. Even if we default on the loans from China, we will have paid only pennies on the dollar for the collateral we will transfer to Asia, so it's a great deal any way you look at it."
Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner said he lacks the votes to prevent Obama's executive order from taking effect.
"Even if Republicans sweep the elections in November," he said, "we still won't have enough votes to override President Obama's vetoes. So we cannot keep the government from stealing gold from its citizens."
Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner disputed Boehner's claim that the order amounted to theft.
"This is simply a further example of President Obama's necessary and fair redistributive efforts," he said. "The rich in this country, people like Glenn Beck, have way too much money as it is, and this will help level the playing field."
Weiner had accused Beck of aiding and abetting his major advertiser, gold broker Goldline, in unfairly taking people's wealth by selling gold at a profit.
"President Obama's order will make sure Goldline never makes another dollar," Weiner said. "So I salute this order and say it's high time that the federal government started forcing people to divest themselves of excess wealth and give it to people who really need it, starting with the federal government, which simply cannot sustain its current rate of growth without taking from the rich and giving to the poor."
Tea Party Leader Skip Dover said he is opposed to the governmental takeover of individual wealth.
"What has made America great is the freedom of the individual," he said. "When an individual can use his or her brains, energy and resources to increase wealth, we all benefit in the process. People make money by hiring others, either directly or indirectly, and the more the government interferes, the worse off our economy is, and the fewer good-paying jobs are available for Americans.
"It was government interference that ruined this economy in the first place by forcing banks to give loans to underprivileged people who couldn't afford to pay them back, and it is governmental interence that is extending and worsening this recession."
B. Russell Sprout, an economist who has predicted the economy at quadruple the accuracy rate of the Obama administration staff, said wealth redistribution will damage the economy to the point that it will harm the very people whom left-wing Democrats intend to help.
"The poor as well as the working class fare much better if wealthy people are allowed to keep their money," he said. "They use that money to invest in business, creating new jobs, or they buy goods and services for themselves. When the guy down the street buys a new motorhome, for example, a lot of people benefit, from the union workers who built the unit, the sales staff that sold it, the media that advertised it, and the people who maintain it. And the government still gets sales tax every time it is bought or sold as well as property tax on it every single year. When the government takes money from businessmen, the bureaucrats send it to China or hire more bureaucrats to create red tape, and you're killing the eagle that lays the silver egg or however that saying goes."
A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party's Redistribution Caucus, Donna Kara Lott, said Obama's order is "merely returning wealth to its rightful owner, the people and the people's republic."
"Even the Republicans will tell you that God made the gold," she said. "My party holds to the alternative view that the natural evolution of the universe left gold to help maintain the survival of the fittest in modern socialistic terms. In any case, it is the people's gold, not those who stole it from the earth or who bought it from miners who raped the earth. It is the people's gold, and it should be held and used as the people's republic sees fit."
She said Obama's order is a necessary step in her caucus's efforts to redistribute all wealth to those who need it most.
"A major goal of ours is to find peace," she said. "As Karl Marx said, 'Peace is the absense of opposition to socialism.' So this executive order is an important step to peace."
Obama's order does not apply to non-citizens of the United States, but some immigrants are nervous that it might be amended to apply to them.
"All my amigos with gold are sending it back to Mexico," said Jose Salido del Baño of the Hispanic Alien Workers group (HAW). "Why should we help fund a bailout of the American economy when America has bailed out on us?"
The order does nothing to stop non-U.S. citizen American muslims from shipping gold overseas to Islamic jihadists.
"We cannot send funds to terrorist groups," said Imam Wassa Faus Abowd of the Islamic group, Basher Ubudiyah Ground Zero (BUGZ). "But there is nothing in law to stop faithful from sending items made of gold to individuals. I myself plan to send a dagger with a solid gold handle to a friend of mine who wishes to enjoy 72 virgins ASAP. He can melt down dagger handle, and should have enough to make device for send him and many others direct to paradise."