In this one-on-one interview, find out why the president of the Western Center for Journalism believes Americans are systematically robbed of their savings through a deliberate devaluation of the dollar.
Plus, discover why he believes that Americans are doing a “grave injustice” if they’re depending on the government in retirement.
Rachel Mills for Birch Gold Group (BGG): This is Rachel Mills with Birch Gold Group. I am talking with Floyd Brown here at Freedom Fest. How are you today?
Floyd Brown: I’m doing great. It’s good to be with you, Rachel.
BGG: It’s good to be with you too. Have you been enjoying the conference?
Floyd Brown: This is a very interesting conference because you never know what a speaker’s going to say. And it’s got such a wide variety of topics that you can really learn about really some things that are off the beaten path. If you’re tired of the same old politicians talking, I don’t think there’s a politician here. So it’s all about freedom and ideas and it’s a good conference. I’ve been coming for a number of years.
BGG: There’s a lot of thought leaders here on precious metals and I know you’ve done quite a bit of work on precious metals and hard money and you know the value of it.
Floyd Brown: Well I don’t call it hard money, I call it money.
BGG: Money money! Instead of funny money.
Floyd Brown: Because that’s what it is. Money has got certain characteristics. My background is in economics, my degree is in economics.
Really, gold and silver are the historic forms of money and what we really have in the U.S. today is really debt instruments which aren’t money at all.
So I understand why freedom lovers, though, are often people that like real money because they’re skeptical of the powers that be and I’m one of those skeptics.
BGG: It’s hard to look at what’s going on in this country and around the world and not be skeptical.
Floyd Brown: Yeah, I think that the U.S. is really divided into two types of people: people that are drunk on entertainment and really don’t care and people that do care but are alienated by the political class that runs the country. And I agree with you. I mean if you look at the way the political class works, it’s easy to be very skeptical and very cynical.
BGG: But then you’re left with the feeling of, you know, “Gosh, what do I do about it?”
Floyd Brown: Well, we have an incredible gift in America. And while they’ve tried to strip it from us we still have it. We are citizens, citizenship is a very important birthright that I got when I was born and that is I can vote in elections, I can participate in the political process and I have certain, inalienable rights that the government can’t abridge, and one of those is the ability to speak out and write and that’s why we’re so active at WesternJournalism.com, writing and speaking out on the ideas of freedom.
BGG: What do you think the future of the dollar is in one year, in five years, in ten years? What do you think is going to happen?
Floyd Brown: Well I think to understand the future of the dollar, all you have to look at is the past of the dollar. And currently, what was a $10 gold coin is today worth, you know, around $750. And so you have seen historically, since the creation of the Federal Reserve about a hundred years ago, a tremendous erosion in the value of paper currency, dollars. And I see that erosion going forward which means…
If [the dollar has] lost 90% of its value in the last hundred years it will probably lose 90% or more in the next hundred years.
BGG: Yeah that’s so devastating. People talk about the collapse of the dollar and then other people point out, well how is that not a collapse just in slow motion.
Floyd Brown: Yeah it is a collapse. It’s a systematic effort by the political class to rob the saving class. People that want to save for the future, that want to prepare for the unexpected events, that want to take care of their family, those people are systemically punished by the United States government and by the political class.
And the money’s basically robbed from them and they do it slowly over time through inflation and sometimes not slowly when we have big bursts of inflation like maybe just around the corner ahead of us.
BGG: It’s interesting that you mention guessing the future of the dollar by the past of the dollar. Birch Gold recently had an article where we looked at what you would pay for an automobile fifty years ago versus what you would pay today. And then projecting that into the future fifty years from now, imagine a car costing $170,000. And how do you save for a retirement where that’s the cost structure?
Floyd Brown: You know, I recently sat down with my father who had a really interesting career and I asked him about his wages through time and he told me what were his wages in 1960 and what were his wages in 1965 and ’70, and it’s interesting. My father made a couple bucks an hour working as a welder in the 1960s, but if you actually take the time value of money and you look at it in today’s dollars, he was making almost $80,000 a year and if you look at it, that’s basically what a welder can make today. So any of those dollars that he saved when he was young, they’ve been destroyed. The value of those dollars has been stolen from him and it’s immoral.
It’s a moral question in my mind. Honest money, honest weights and measures, they’re both prescribed in the Bible and in the Constitution.
And we’ve allowed people to steal from us and they do it by sleight of hand.
BGG: What are your thoughts on FATCA and the tax changes and the various changes that are occurring? Do you think those things are chasing people out of the dollar and out of U.S. citizenship faster than-?
Floyd Brown: Like a lot of freedom loving people, I’ve thought in the back of my mind, “Is there some place else that’s more free?” And I don’t know that there is. I mean yes, America is under assault. Freedom is under assault in America. But we are still the freest place and we have the most impact on the political process. If we’re going to reclaim freedom, it’s going to be right here in America.
BGG: We have to fight for it here.
Floyd Brown: We have to fight for it here. And so that’s why I live in the United States and I keep trying to proselytize and talk to people about the ideas of freedom and get them involved in the process and I myself am very involved in the process because hope’s not gone.
BGG: That’s good. I come to place like this and I really feel that. There’s a lot of energy here and a lot of empowered minds that understand what’s going on and they’re showing up as FreedomWorks booths says politics goes to those who show up and that’s true and a lot of people here have shown up.
Floyd Brown: I just did a session on California and we talked about California. Had an extensive discussion about how bad the politics are and how high taxes are. Highest sales tax, highest income tax in the country. Highest corporate rate west of the Mississippi. And yet only 18% of the people turned out in the last election in California to vote.
BGG: 18%? In California?
Floyd Brown: Yeah 18%. So there’s a lot of people that just aren’t engaged and if we can get people engaged, and interested, we can take the country back. The problem is that people are too interested or too caught up in, really, things that don’t matter.
BGG: Panem et circenses; bread and circuses. As the Romans.
Floyd Brown: Yeah it is. I, like anybody, love a good football game but some people are so into sports they don’t think about their country or they’re so into video gaming that they don’t think about their country. Or they’re into the Home and Garden channel or some other thing. And maybe that’s a reflection of the fact that we are a very rich country and we have a lot of free time as a result of it.
BGG: I’ve thought about that a lot myself and I think it’s sad because in a free country you should be able to turn off your brain as far as the government. The government should leave you alone automatically and you should be able to focus on what you love and what you enjoy and what makes you happy but with our freedoms being eroded at the pace that they are, we just can’t afford to do that anymore. And the sad thing is, maybe conferences like this sort of turn it around and a lot of thought leaders are headed in the right direction, but what about the person that’s retiring in like five years? I don’t know that that’s going to happen in time to help them.
I think that if you’re depending upon the government to be your solution in retirement, you’re doing yourself a grave injustice.
The government, they may pay you a certain amount but it’s not going to be an amount that is a living amount.
BGG: And they will always resist those cost-of-living adjustments.
Floyd Brown: And basically right now they’re fraudulently changing the consumer-price index.
BGG: Of course, they always do.
Floyd Brown: Which controls Social Security and some of the other programs. But people need to empower themselves. That means they need to read, they need to think and they need to discover ideas themselves and I have a lot of faith in people when they actually start to look at these things, they usually come to some pretty good conclusions.
BGG: Yeah, when they open their eyes and see the situation for what it is. Yeah, but sometimes it takes a lot of energy to peel them away from those football games.
BGG: We’ve talked a lot about China and their demand for gold, purchasing One Chase Plaza in Manhattan which is the largest storage facility in the world, I think. What do you think about China’s demand for gold?
Floyd Brown: China is a country that I think looks a little bit more effectively at the broad scope of history. They’re a very ancient civilization and they understand that gold is money because gold was money in China 5,000 years ago, and it’s still money. And the Chinese are doing what they can to protect themselves and protect their country and I think precious metals are a part of that. I don’t fear the Chinese. I think that the Chinese need to be engaged. Frankly, I think that the U.S. government is the government that’s out of control. We’ve acted irresponsibly, we’ve acted as bullies. We’ve acted inappropriately with a lot of partners around the world. And I understand why some of our allies are frankly dubious about a close partnership with the United States because we’re not a good partner.
BGG: Yeah, they better be dubious. And I think they are. With that huge fine that the United States imposed on BNP Paribas, the largest bank in France, for disobeying international sanctions that they never agreed to. This is, the United States, extraterritorially enforcing its own laws on other countries, and here, this French bank is just sort of dutifully going along and paying it. And we compared it in a recent article to like the bully stealing your lunch money and while you’re the little guy on the block, you started giving him your lunch money, but you plot for ways to eventually not be giving your lunch money. And I think all of that is leading to—
Floyd Brown: Well it’s embarrassing that the U.S. government listens in on private telephone calls amongst Americans. But it’s even more embarrassing that they’re listening in on private phone calls between world leaders. I mean, the truth is that people deserve privacy. I don’t care if they’re a German or an American and we have abused technology and really abused the good offices that the United States had and frankly at times, recently, I’ve been embarrassed by what the Americans have done. I mean, I think in history, we have been a very positive force for freedom and equality of life around the world. But recently, as our empire has become threatened we have really, I think, acted poorly.
BGG: I agree. And it’s tough to say that because I am a proud American. I am very proud of my country, it’s my government that scares me.
Floyd Brown: Yeah, I love my country too, and I especially love the Constitution, but the current political class I don’t think is reflective of Americans, number one, and number two I think they’re more concerned about themselves than they are the good governance of the country in the world.
BGG: How long do you think the dollar will last?
Floyd Brown: You know,
I don’t see the dollar going away, I just see it eroding in value.
And it’s hard to predict the future but I think the best way to predict the future is to look at what happened in the last hundred years and it’s gone down by over 90%.
BGG: So expect that going forward.
Floyd Brown: I would.
BGG: Yeah. Alright, well, Floyd Brown, thank you so much for talking to me today.
Floyd Brown: Good to visit with you.