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Senate candidate seeks return to gold standard

Return to the gold standard is called for by a New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate.

Jeffrey Bell is a U.S. Senate candidate who is seeking a return to the gold standard.

Jeffrey Bell is a U.S. Senate candidate who is seeking a return to the gold standard.

Jeffrey Bell, a fiscal and economic conservative, is challenging Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. in the Nov. 4 election on this numismatically related proposition.

Bell says he’s serious about the proposal and calls it a solution to current economic problems.

His campaign manager, Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill, said Booker opposes a return to the gold standard.

Gill was not asked about the practicalities of the proposals first reported in the Bergen Record, local daily newspaper.

The gold standard was an important part of the economic debate of the 19th century, leading to William Jennings Bryan’s famous “Cross of Gold” speech opposing it at the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

British economist John Maynard Keynes opposed a gold standard and went to great lengths in the 1920s and 1930s to provide mathematical proofs and concrete examples as to why it makes economic expansion difficult.

Bell dismisses Keynes’ view out of hand.

But the gold standard issue did not resonate in Bell’s failed campaign for the Senate in 1982. It probably will not be a factor in this campaign either.

A major problem with a gold standard is that there simply isn’t enough metal. The government also has artificially valued gold for 80 years. All federal gold, including that in Fort Knox, is valued officially at $42.22 a troy ounce. Market price is $1,240 an ounce.

The Treasury has about $11 billion (valued at $42.22) in gold, or roughly 261 million troy ounces. At market prices this quantity is worth about $324 billion.

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