when I first got "The Lesson" from Burt Blumert…
is simple. It takes two minutes to receive. And it’s easy to understand,
but incredibly powerful.
me the lesson in his office, just outside of San Francisco…
He started by pulling a handful of dollar bills out of a velvet
bag. At first they all looked the same. Then Burt asked me to
read out loud the guarantee on each bill. I started with a $20
bill from the 1920s.
said, "This certifies that there have been deposited in the
Treasury Twenty Dollars in gold coin payable to the bearer on
there was gold in the bank for every one of these bills in circulation.
But as I thumbed through each almost identical bill, the promise
slowly changed for the worse… until we arrive at today: "This
note is legal tender for all debts public and private."
does that mean? Burt showed me the
Treasury Department’s explanation…
Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other
commodity, and receive no backing by anything… The notes have
no value for themselves, but for what they will buy. In another
sense, because they are legal tender, Federal Reserve notes are
"backed" by all the goods and services in the economy.
words, they’re worth nothing.
plain English, dollar bills have no value," Burt explained.
"Yet most Americans hold most of their wealth in them…
Think about that."
died on Monday of cancer at age 80. I am so thankful I knew him.
lesson from Burt, I "got it." Right then, I bought my
first gold coins. Good thing. They’re up hundreds of percent.
(I’ve still got ‘em, Burt.)
half-jokingly asking him, "Burt, if you like gold and hate
paper money so much, then why do you accept paper money in exchange
for gold as your business?"
is, it was never about the gold to Burt… It was about a moral
and philosophical stance. Sure, you got gold at a great price
from Burt, but you had to pay the "Burt Tax" to buy
it… you had to receive a 10-minute lesson on the phone about
the risks to society of a growing government.
As his good
friend Lew Rockwell said about Burt this week: "He hated
the state for its sheer phoniness. The paper dollar was just the
beginning of it all, the most obvious symbol."
Burt lived long enough to be "right." He opened his
shop, Camino Coin in 1959. Back then, the price of gold was $35
an ounce. Today it’s over $900. Burt ran Camino for nearly 50
years… and he saw the state debase the value of the dollar.
It now takes
25 times more dollars to buy an ounce of gold than when he started.
Said another way, the purchasing power of the dollar versus gold
declined by 96%.
Most of all,
Burt had conviction in his beliefs. And he lived his life by them.
It’s something we should all aspire to.
was the publisher of www.LewRockwell.com,
a hub of libertarian thought. The text of his book is available
free at www.mises.org. And
Burt’s team at Camino is still providing the same quality service
and excellent prices at www.caminocompany.com.
loved to joke… The speech he gave at one of my conferences shows
Burt’s incessant humor and his convictions in his ideals. It was
called The Risks You Run When You Own Gold, and the Danger
You Face If You Don’t. Click
here to read it.
appeared on Steve Sjuggerud’s
is the co-author of Safe
Strategies for Financial Freedom.