A Desperate Plan to Save Our Dollar

Inspirations often arise from the accidental juxtaposition of two concepts that have not been combined before.  My plan for saving the U.S. dollar was inspired by a Christmas gift.

I had just finished reading Herbert E. Meyer's terrifying article on the national debt crisis.  In view of his critical role in predicting the instability of the Soviet Union, it's hard to disbelieve his contention that our government is on the verge of financial collapse.

As is typical for our species, my thoughts turned from the nation's problems to more personal worries.  What about my IRA?  Warned by apparent experts, I had pulled our nest egg out of the stock market and into cash.  But according to Meyer and the Deficit Commission, the U.S. dollar might collapse, too.  Gold is already overpriced and, in the event of a global crisis, might depreciate catastrophically.  After all, the only value of gold is its supposedly permanent scarcity; of itself, it's worthless in time of emergency.  "Nobody can eat gold," I brooded.

Just then, my wife came in with the day's batch of Christmas cards and gifts.  "The usual fruitcake from the Bixbys," she sighed.  "I think we've got the last three stored away somewhere. They're still edible; I should give them to someone who can use them."

And then it hit me.  Why not change our backing of the dollar from gold to fruitcakes?  They are already a sort of circulating currency for Christmas obligations; some fruitcakes have been repeatedly regifted for decades.  Keeping our Fort Knox gold reserves as a sort of hedge fund, we could, by an act of Congress (as was done with gold in 1933), reestablish the value of the dollar as a specified weight of fruitcake.

Official currency-redeemable fruitcakes would be certified by the Treasury (or FDA) by means of electronic detectors (like the gadgets used for testing blood sugar) that would check for standard content of flour, sugar, and fruit.  Counterfeiters who circulate substandard fruit cakes would be prosecuted.  On the other hand, unemployed people could create money by baking new fruitcakes and exchanging them at the Treasury for greenbacks, thereby adding to our monetary reserves.  This would be much sounder than our current policy of paying out unemployment funds by printing unbacked money.

Fruitcakes are a durable specie.  Conventionally stored, their shelf life is over 25 years.  Kept in cold storage, by establishing a heavily guarded site in Little America, they would probably last forever.

A fruitcake-based dollar would be inflation-proof, since it would have a guaranteed minimum value.  As a last resort, you could redeem your dollars for fruitcakes and eat your savings.  As anyone who has actually eaten a piece of fruit cake can attest, a little goes a long, appetite-killing way.  A one-pound loaf would provide an ample allotment of calories for the day.

Admittedly, numerous details would have to be ironed out.  But I contend that my fruitcake plan is more sensible than anything the White House or Congress has proposed to date.  Of course, some critics would validly object that there are far too many fruitcakes in our government already.
Inspirations often arise from the accidental juxtaposition of two concepts that have not been combined before.  My plan for saving the U.S. dollar was inspired by a Christmas gift.

I had just finished reading Herbert E. Meyer's terrifying article on the national debt crisis.  In view of his critical role in predicting the instability of the Soviet Union, it's hard to disbelieve his contention that our government is on the verge of financial collapse.

As is typical for our species, my thoughts turned from the nation's problems to more personal worries.  What about my IRA?  Warned by apparent experts, I had pulled our nest egg out of the stock market and into cash.  But according to Meyer and the Deficit Commission, the U.S. dollar might collapse, too.  Gold is already overpriced and, in the event of a global crisis, might depreciate catastrophically.  After all, the only value of gold is its supposedly permanent scarcity; of itself, it's worthless in time of emergency.  "Nobody can eat gold," I brooded.

Just then, my wife came in with the day's batch of Christmas cards and gifts.  "The usual fruitcake from the Bixbys," she sighed.  "I think we've got the last three stored away somewhere. They're still edible; I should give them to someone who can use them."

And then it hit me.  Why not change our backing of the dollar from gold to fruitcakes?  They are already a sort of circulating currency for Christmas obligations; some fruitcakes have been repeatedly regifted for decades.  Keeping our Fort Knox gold reserves as a sort of hedge fund, we could, by an act of Congress (as was done with gold in 1933), reestablish the value of the dollar as a specified weight of fruitcake.

Official currency-redeemable fruitcakes would be certified by the Treasury (or FDA) by means of electronic detectors (like the gadgets used for testing blood sugar) that would check for standard content of flour, sugar, and fruit.  Counterfeiters who circulate substandard fruit cakes would be prosecuted.  On the other hand, unemployed people could create money by baking new fruitcakes and exchanging them at the Treasury for greenbacks, thereby adding to our monetary reserves.  This would be much sounder than our current policy of paying out unemployment funds by printing unbacked money.

Fruitcakes are a durable specie.  Conventionally stored, their shelf life is over 25 years.  Kept in cold storage, by establishing a heavily guarded site in Little America, they would probably last forever.

A fruitcake-based dollar would be inflation-proof, since it would have a guaranteed minimum value.  As a last resort, you could redeem your dollars for fruitcakes and eat your savings.  As anyone who has actually eaten a piece of fruit cake can attest, a little goes a long, appetite-killing way.  A one-pound loaf would provide an ample allotment of calories for the day.

Admittedly, numerous details would have to be ironed out.  But I contend that my fruitcake plan is more sensible than anything the White House or Congress has proposed to date.  Of course, some critics would validly object that there are far too many fruitcakes in our government already.

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