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Fort Knox. Do we need all that gold?

Postby rn79870 » Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:42 am



The Fort Knox Bullion Depository is where the United States stores the majority of its gold. Before you think about visiting the place, forget it, it’s off limits. Before you think about making a withdrawal, forget it, it is the Army and Marine Corps training grounds for the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Goldfinger beware.

A large amount of the United States' gold reserves is stored in the vault of the Fort Knox Bullion Depository, one of the institutions under the supervision of the Director of the United States Mint. The remaining gold reserves are held in the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository (yes, West Point the US Military Academy.) and the San Francisco Assay Office.

Within the building is a two level steel and concrete vault that is divided into compartments. The vault door weighs more than 20 tons. No one person is entrusted with the combination. Various members of the Depository staff must dial separate combinations known only to them.
The gold stored in the Depository is in the form of standard mint bars of almost pure gold or coin gold bars resulting from the melting of gold coins. These bars are about the size of an ordinary building brick, but are somewhat smaller. The approximate dimensions are 7 x 3-5/8 x 1-3/4 inches. The fine gold bars contain approximately 400 troy ounces of gold, worth $16,888.00 (based on the statutory price of $42.22 per ounce). The avoirdupois weight of the bars is about 27-1/2 pounds. They are stored in the vault compartments without wrappings. When the bars are handled, great care is exercised to avoid abrasion of the soft metal.


With gold tipping the scale at $1000/oz right now, do the math… 27.5 pounds = 440 oz x $1000/oz = $440,000 each. That’s almost a half million each. How much gold is there? I’ve searched for some time now and there is no answer to that question, or at least, no one is telling.

My question is an economic one. What would happen if we sold off half of that gold? All that gold? Do we really need it now that it isn’t a guaranty of the American Dollar?

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Re: Fort Knox. Do we need all that gold? (rn79870)

Postby Cold_Zero » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:20 am

rn79870 wrote:The Fort Knox Bullion Depository is where the United States stores the majority of its gold. Before you think about visiting the place, forget it, it’s off limits. Before you think about making a withdrawal, forget it, it is the Army and Marine Corps training grounds for the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Goldfinger beware.
Although you can't get the the Depository, I might suggest going to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox. Its a fun trip.
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Postby AZhitman » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:32 am

Yo, I'll be takin' some of that thurr BLANG off yo' hands, Dawg!

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Postby Cold_Zero » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:25 am

Fort Knox holds 147.3 million ounces of gold in the Depository. (http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/fun_facts/index.cfm?action=fun_facts13)

147,300,000 oz X $1000= 147.3 Billion Dollars.

United States Gold Reserves:
286,900,769.5oz x $1000= $286,900,769,516.91

(I would like to qualify the US Gold Reserves, while the Federal Reserve Banks in the US hold our gold reserves, it also holds foreign and private reserves as well. So my calculation of the gold in the US Gold Reserves may contain gold that is not ours...)

Now the current National Debt is:
$9,297,097,772,663.56

While selling off all our Gold would be a good start in paying down the national debt, it would not reduce it. I assume that is what you are advocating we do with the sale of all the country's God Reserves. While this country owes people a lot of money, our National Debt is sold on the open market in the form of Bonds. Now, not all of our bonds are due at one particular date. So we do have time to pay off what we owe.

The real key to paying down the National Debt will be to cut spending and taking more money in than what you spend. Balancing the budget and having a budget surplus (on paper) doe not actually count. Having an actual surplus and not spending it on government programs, but paying off the National Debt is another thing.

I am afraid that if we sell off all of our Gold and Silver reserves it will do one of two things:
1. It will probably flood the market and lower the price of Gold/Silver.
2. Cause more panic with the US Dollar on the International Markets because now the US Dollar and our National Debt is basically backed by "Nothing Much."

There is already a 'fire sale' going on with the financial institutions in the United States. What concerns me (and this is not coming from a xenophobic view) is that if foreign institutions and governments own most of the financial institutions and corporations in this country, I fear the US dollar may be perceived as even weaker.

PS- I am not an Economics guru.
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Postby Loki » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:56 am

Besides, longer we take to pay back our debts, the higher inflation, thus we pay back "less."
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Postby AZhitman » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:51 am

As an economics retard, why wouldn't we simply start "calling" some of our debs that other countries owe us?

Alternatively, let's start cutting back on foreign aid (even an econtard can figure THAT one out).
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Re: (Cold_Zero)

Postby smockers83 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:55 am

Cold_Zero wrote:
2. Cause more panic with the US Dollar on the International Markets because now the US Dollar and our National Debt is basically backed by "Nothing Much."
Currency these days aren't backed by gold anymore anyhow.
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Re: (smockers83)

Postby Cold_Zero » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:01 pm

smockers83 wrote:
Currency these days aren't backed by gold anymore anyhow.
Correct,
But our currency is backed by (de facto) by what we own and produce as a country. So our Gold, Silver and other precious metal reserves count towards what we are worth. Start selling off the Gold and other stuff that we owe, not only will it not pay down the national debt (by much) but will might make us look fragile.
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Re: (Cold_Zero)

Postby rn79870 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:43 pm

So then, what is the point of having it? If the US can't liquidate it, (not dump, but liquidate) and we back nothing with it, why are we paying to warehouse it? If it secretly disappeared tomorrow, would anything change?
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Postby Cold_Zero » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:06 pm

Have you never heard of the Defense National Stockpile Center?
http://www.globalsecurity.org/...c.htm

We stock pile $3 billion dollars worth of 68 different commodities. We have done this every since the Cold War. In my home state (Hammond IN) we have the largest stockpile of pig tin. This country stock piles and warehouses a lot of stuff, not to mention all the arms we have buried in the Kuwaiti desert. Maybe we should take our stockpile of aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB http://www.globalsecurity.org/...n.htm and have a fire sale. BTW, I would suggest google maping Davis-Monthan AFB, its pretty cool.

I was approaching my statements from the stand point that an asset on the books is better than scratching a little bit of your debt.


Still with a 9+ trillion dollar national debt, all this wouldn't even dent the national debt.
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Re: (Cold_Zero)

Postby smockers83 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am

Cold_Zero wrote:
Correct,
But our currency is backed by (de facto) by what we own and produce as a country. So our Gold, Silver and other precious metal reserves count towards what we are worth. Start selling off the Gold and other stuff that we owe, not only will it not pay down the national debt (by much) but will might make us look fragile.
Russia liquidated its gold reserves and look at the place now. To answer the question about needing the gold though, yes we need it. But all of our commodities that we stockpile are fractions of the economy and nat. debt.

Eliminating foreign aid wouldn't help our national debt. Foreign aid is so small on the budget you can't even see it on a pie chart (we're talking 1x10^-5). The problem is in defense spending and social transfers (Social Security, Medicare, etc). If we want all of these things like the rest of the industrialized world, we need higher taxes like the rest of the industrialized world.
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Postby joe603 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:01 am

If we liquidated our gold supply the dollar would turn into Italian Lira....We need to RAISE interest rates and flush out the bad, then lower. Low interest rates is one of the things that helped contribute to the housing situation...that and loan salesmen/con-artists who made it sound like interest only loans with ARM's were way to go.
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Re: (smockers83)

Postby AZhitman » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:58 am

smockers83 wrote:If we want all of these things like the rest of the industrialized world, we need higher taxes like the rest of the industrialized world.
Interesting. I didn't know that.

Although I don't like "higher taxes" per se, as long as they're not going to fund some namby-pamby protected-class social program, I'm fine with it.

Hell, my tax rate is pretty damn low anyway.
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Re: (smockers83)

Postby Cold_Zero » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:49 am

smockers83 wrote:
Russia liquidated its gold reserves and look at the place now. To answer the question about needing the gold though, yes we need it. But all of our commodities that we stockpile are fractions of the economy and nat. debt.
You sure that Russia is not riding high because of all of its oil and natural gas supplies that it sells to India and China (and the rest of the world?) I admit we don't get the full story out of Russia from the mainstream media. Igor (contractor here at work) gives me the scoop and its hard to reconcile it to what the mainstream media spews.


But my point still stands. If we sell off all of our Gold and Silver supplies along with our Defense National Stockpiles and we still wouldn't begin to scratch what we owe on our National Debt. We need to cut spending (foreign and domestic), tighten the belt and yes maybe pay more taxes.
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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby smockers83 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:25 pm

AZhitman wrote:
Interesting. I didn't know that.

...

Hell, my tax rate is pretty damn low anyway.
Everyone take a look at this Wikipedia article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_of_Europe

Note all of the advanced countries in the EU that have social programs and the social health care systems have taxes in excess of 40% (the UK taxes 40% if you make over 34,600 pounds, which in numbers is almost the same as making $34,600 here (everything there essentially has the same number value for prices as they do here in the US) but figure in exchange rates (not sure what they are now) that's about $60,000.

Also, in terms of public debt (government debt) as a percentage of GDP, the United States is about in the middle of the pack at 36.8% of GDP. On the other hand, countries like Japan (194% of GDP), France (66.6% of GDP), Germany (65%), and the UK (43%) may have bigger problems with debt than we do, relatively and perspectively.


Modified by smockers83 at 11:36 PM 3/19/2008
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Re: (Cold_Zero)

Postby HashiriyaS14 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:02 pm

Cold_Zero wrote:BTW, I would suggest google maping Davis-Monthan AFB, its pretty cool.
I did a brief stint with a global real estate consulting firm where I was helping to privatize the base housing there. I visited the base twice, it was really cool.

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