Ft. Knox: plenty of tanks, maybe no gold

Hey Matt!

How much gold is in Fort Knox? Is it true that it hasn't been physically audited since the Eisenhower administration? Why can't we sell off the gold now and fund Social Security or pay off the national debt?

-- John Q. Public, the net

Hmmmm. Well, how much gold ya got in your pocket? Mebby you got more than Ft. Knox, sez economist Kennedy Gammage, our go-to gold guy. Or mebby there's a shipload of gold in Ft. Knox. We're pretty sure somebody knows. Somebody's got a key to the vault and can peek in on the reserves from time to time. But they're not talking and they wish you would just go away too. Government gold has been in Ft. Knox since the '30s under the control of the Mint and ultimately the treasury department. No, it hasn't been audited since, well, maybe ever. Gold doesn't back any currency; it's made into dental appliances and jewelry and is traded on commodity markets like hog bellies and soybeans. It's magical stuff, but it ain't what it used to be-- the measure of a country's worth. Gold in the commodity banks is audited, but U.S.-owned gold is pretty much just rumors, often involving the guv'mint or some captain of industry sneaking some/most/all of it out of the vault in skiploaders at midnight and into banks in foreign countries, probably as part of some one-world-government scheme. Even if there is gold in Ft. Knox (which is also an army tank-training facility), it would take Congress to release it to sell and fund some domestic project. For reasons deeper and darker than the Ft. Knox vault, apparently, that ain't gonna happen.

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