been doing some research on this question of late…the idea behind this question is that Gold is an asset held by many central banks, and though most central banks claim that gold is not a currency, it cannot be denied that they closely guard their gold holdings as a national asset. The US government is the largest owner of gold–it owns about 5% of all the gold known to exist–and most of the federal government owned gold is in either Fort Knox, Ky or at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s vault in Manhattan.
So, one would think that with the 287 million troy ounces of gold owned by the US, that it would put us in a good position to pay off our debts, or at least a good portion of them. However, this is no longer the case thanks to a massive debt that the US government has built up in the past several years.
I have discovered is that the US debt- to-US owned Gold ratio is about
$55,750 to an ounce of Ft Knox Gold. (This is figured by taking our National Debt of almost $16 trillion and dividing by the 287 million ounces of gold that the US owns). In other words, for every ounce of
gold that the US Govt owns,
our government’s debt per ounce of the shiny yellow metal is still
$55,000+ per ounce!
Since the price of gold is around $1,650 per
troy ounce, some simple math tells us that the US can pay
off less than 3% of our US government debt with “Ft. Knox gold”….and if we include
state and municipal debt and unfunded liabilities for Social Security,
Medicare and Medicaid, then our ability to pay down debt with gold is
reduced to almost nothing!
Of course, for now, it’s not a big
worry, as the US dollar is still the main reserve currency for the
world. Gold is NOT the reserve currency….at least not yet. The bankers
of the Western World are still the croupiers in this currency
game as they have been for many years. Fiat money is still the main game
in town, as it has been since Nixon ended the Gold Standard in 1971.
bad as our debt payoff is, there are a few countries in worse
positions. Countries like Japan are worse off–but Japan’s debt is internal, meaning that foreigners hold little of it and thus, Japan’s debt is less likely to be “called” in a liquidation situation ….I imagine
Greece is way off the map, but then who would be surprised by that? Yet, Italy’s debt-to-gold ratio is around $30,000 per ounce of Italian gold. For all the ugly things we hear about Italy’s debt, they could at least pay off a greater portion of their debt with gold than we can!
big surprise is China. Based on official stats on how much gold that
China owns, it’s debt payoff is nearly as high as that of the US–as high
as $52,000 per ounce of gold that China owns. Furthermore, many Forex
traders believe that China is secretly accumulating large amounts of
gold on the open market but has not yet announced its new reserves, so
this debt-to-gold ratio may decrease in the near future. However, before
any of us Americans decide to throw a party for King Dollar, please
understand that China has one big advantage over us….it also owns
over $3 trillion in excess reserves mostly in Dollars/ Yen/ and
Euros….its debt stands at about $2 trillion, so China could easily pay
off its entire debt with its excess reserves and still have a trillion
The US, on the other hand, has very few excess
reserves. Should the day come when China chooses to pay off most of its
debts, and then adopts the gold standard for its currency, we could be
in a heap of trouble. For now, they are not ready to do that because
they are still dependent on exports to the US and so they continue to
keep their currency pegged lower to the dollar than it should be.
low national debt to gold ratios are found with Russia and Switzerland.
The Swiss payoff is about US $6,200 per ounce of Swiss gold….is it
any wonder that the wealthy like to buy Swiss francs over dollars?
payoff is very low too at $4,442 per ounce–peanuts compared to most
countries….of course, they have teamed up with China of late to form a
new kind of Axis power for the 21st Century.
How strange that
the two former Communist hot-beds are much more capable of paying off
their debts in a Capitalist world than we are! Throw in the fact that
China and Russia are now friendly with each other and trading more with
each other without using the US dollar as a medium of exchange should
also be setting off alarm bells here….but who pays attention to that,
The only question in my mind is WHEN these new Axis
powers will declare their currencies to be on a gold standard? When that
day comes, it could be a very dark day for the US dollar….and for any
other currencies that are not tied to a gold standard.