By David Tulis
Prodded by a son, 12, I agree to join other dads and sons in a Wendy’s restaurant after a hot Saturday morning of mowing, cutting and clearing trails in a troop project for Trail Life USA.
Cool air gushes at us as we stand in line and order. The receipt says that the holder has ordered a Double Baconator, a large fry, a chocolate Frosty (all the for boy), a “homestyle chicken sandwich” and a water (no charge). The tab is F$15.69.
I sit with three dads — Ben Fisher, Henry Alsept and John Haustein. Two sets of Trail Life boys occupy tables against the window.
The food is tasty, our conversation focusing on electric cars and Muslims.
But I wonder about the receipt. To what extent is “Check 125” a claim check upon the establishment? Its value as a proof of purchase would rise sharply if Wendy’s is crowded and staff loses track of the customer. I present “Check 125” to the front desk, and either James or Kia, two Wendy’s staffers who waited on us, would track us down.
My receipt is a claim upon Wendy’s for lunch. I pay. I wait. If the food fails to show show, I assert my rights using the receipt as proof.
Their national problem
Pretend Wendy’s runs its business as Uncle runs his. I would have gone to the counter and the clerk would have said, “Sir, I am sorry; we’ll get it right away.” He would have reappeared and given me a check identical to the one I was holding up.
“What do you mean giving me a piece of paper? I don’t want a piece of paper,” I declare, “I want the real thing? Please give me what I’m paying for.”
“I’m sorry, sir. You did pay us for those five items, and here they are, listed on our return receipt. Please be satisfied with that.”
Yes, be satisfied with that.
The loss to local economy of honest money is incalculable. The poverty it has created over the past half-century is immeasurable. Bills are not longer claim checks on money.
Holders of Federal Reserve notes cannot redeem them for possession of dollars. A dollar is a term of weight denoting a coin 416 grains of standard silver (1,485 parts fine silver to 179 parts alloy, or silver 90 percent fine).
If you are a holder of a green rectangle, the only claim it gives you is to another paper or digital “dollar.”
Local economy’s insoluble problem
The era of fiscal profligacy in which the federal state effectively privatized the money of the country was in August 1971 when President Richard Nixon defaulted on its Bretton Woods obligations to redeem the government’s foreign debts in gold. “After the gold window was closed in favor of floating fiat currencies, the Fed and other major central banks of the world *** went on a rampage of paper money expansion and currency pegging,” says David Stockman in The Great Deformation (2013, Public Affairs, 742 pp). “Financial discipline thus lost its anchor and fiscal rectitude its necessity.”
Halves, quarters and dimes minted up through 1964 contain 90 percent silver. In March 1964, Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon halted redemption of silver certificates for coined silver dollars; during the following four years, silver certificates were redeemable in uncoined silver “granules.” The national government, given charge of regulating the weight of money, introduced 100 percent junk clad coins in 1965 containing no silver. All redemption of paper notes into silver ceased on June 24, 1968, Wikipedia says.
You suppose I have dragged you into the weeds of monetary history. But the effect of the shift to irredeemable money has permitted what Mr. Stockman says in his story is “an unprecedented aggrandizement of the state” and its central banking cartel. “[T]he vital nerve center of capitalism, its money and capital markets, have been perverted and deformed.
“Wall Street has become a vast casino where leveraged speculation and rent seeking have displaced its vital function of price discovery and capital allocation.”
If Wendy’s did what “the good people” have done, you would never be able to claim a real meal, just a representation. One “Check 125” would be exchanged for another just like it, though perhaps not as wrinkled. You would have been double crossed between the time you put your billfold back into the back pocket of your old jeans and the time you leaned against the soda fountain to wait for the tray to be ready.