Tuesday, March 21, 2006
but here is where i am lured into the abyss that devours my comprehension (or, the fort knox theory)
I received yet another e-mail from yet another obsessive-compulsive student today, but upon reading it I discovered that this one was quite different from the norm. This young man, I'll call him Robert, wanted me to proofread a letter that he had written to the U.S. Secretary of Treasury requesting an explanation for what backs our paper currency. The letter, which is over three pages long, is quite humorous and I couldn't resist sharing some excerpts. (He gave me permission, by the way, to share this with a "few friends," so my guilt pangs can take a hike.) Wanna hear it, here it go...

Dear Mister John William Snow

Re: Gold and Dollar Comprehension Assistance

Hello Mr. Snow. I am pleased to see that you have set aside or found time to read for you what it is that I have written. I am a student of ______ high school in ________, Michigan who has become somewhat confused with certain aspects of our nation's currency, therefore, I took it upon myself to learn more about this subject...my problem may or may not be complex, but since I am so confused that I do not desire to make any mistakes; and although you are merely mortal as any other man, you, Mr. Snow, retain a position of paramount in the field for which I need assistance....

He goes on to outline what he thinks he understands about our nation's "twenty five percent linen and seventy-five percent cotton notes," of which I will spare you the details and continues with...
...but here is where I am lured into the abyss that devours my comprehension. I was under the impression that America had its complete financial foundation of money based around gold. By that, I mean to say (hypothetically) the United States of America had a thousand pounds of gold in Fort Knox (other banks held money too, correct, but my theory is called the "Fort Knox Theory," and the numbers I've fabricated to make my point) and the exchange rate for gold to dollars was for every one pound of gold there would be ten dollars...which makes perfect sense on a national level to me. I mean, you do not have to "flaunt it" to know that you actually have it, (although counterfeiting is a problem I know, but please I need not be confused more at this time)
...okay, that being said, how then is America being financially backed? Certainly polyester has no significant value in France, so breaking down the dollar for that material seems ridiculous. (I really am attempting to come up with reasoning, but I am having troubles, again please bear with me), so then why does France want it, aside from bringing our economy down like with the Japanese incident years ago? Or is that just it? Is that the only reason foreign nations want our money is to bring American down?...
It would be greatly appreciated if you, having been well educated in the field, could help a young lad like myself understand this concept. While I never may be an economist and so well taught, I believe that this knowledge now would not only assist me in comprehending more of my economic studies, but as to the US financial history and future...Also, I am merely sixteen-years-old, so don't let the title fool you, it was self-appointed to make me feel better.
Robert _____, Scholar
Is it just me, or does this letter make you too feel relieved about our nation's youth on one hand, yet terribly bewildered about the pointless pieces of paper in our wallets on the other?


Blogger Wife said...

Oh. My. God. Lol! This kid must spend his evenings curled up with a thesaurus. Perhaps most amusing is the "scholar" bit... it makes him sound very pretentious, and yet, if more of our students considered themselves to be such, I think I would have far fewer headaches each term.

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