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Send every American a one-ounce Eagle?

At least make a voter bribe worthwhile.

Gee, I just read that some Republican senators want to give me and every other true-blue American a federal check for $100 to ease the pain of paying more at the pump for my gasoline. What an interesting response to the rising cost of living.

Conventional economic texts tell us that inflation must be squelched by cutting federal spending and/or raising interest rates. Naturally, that causes pain, recessions even. The inflationary bender that America was on in the 1970s was only tamed with 21.5 percent interest rates in 1980 and a recession in 1982 that saw unemployment go to 10.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. These overcame the inflationary effects of deficit spending.

I remember worrying about the numismatic market in 1982 and wondering whether I would stay employed. I had come into work the Friday before Labor Day weekend that year as one of 140 persons on the payroll. When I left at 5 p.m., there were 125 employees. I was still one of them, but my boss wasn't. Coin prices had dropped in the recession as the flip side of the fun we had going up in the 1970s.

Now I am being offered $100 to help ease my financial pain during the middle of another 1970s-style boom.

Call me ungrateful, but I insist that I will not vote for anyone who promises me anything less than a $500 check before November. Make that $655. That is enough to buy one ounce of gold. Surely every American is entitled to one ounce of gold as an inflation hedge against irresponsible spending policies in Washington?

We have been treated in recent weeks to a California Republican member of Congress who has been convicted of taking bribes. He had his own schedule of rates. A Democratic congressman from West Virginia had to leave the House ethics panel because he bought a farm with a partner. It just so happens that partner is someone who benefited from federal spending sent his way by specific actions of the congressman.

It is great to see that congressional corruption is bipartisan. But why be embarrassed? Why not bribe the voters, too? Surely if we are all wearing mud, then nobody can accuse anyone of dishonesty. Can?t we just all get along? What?s a few hundred billion dollars more among friends?

I won't settle for $100. I would never vote for anyone who thinks in such small numbers. For a bribe to be worthwhile, it has to be large enough to make a difference in my life. $100 just won't do it.

I have the opening bid of $100. Hillary, what do I hear from you? Debbie? Why, Bill, do you want to up the ante from your side of the aisle? No? I don't know. I am going awfully wobbly.

Why, I even have a suggestion that will allow you to bribe me in the style to which I want to be accustomed and you can still claim to keep some semblance of control of the federal budget deficit. How about that? Wouldn't that be Win-Win? Well, there is the little matter of approximately 260 million troy ounces of gold that you don?t seem to be using in Fort Knox, Ky., and the New York Federal Reserve. The dollar has not been officially backed by it since the gold window was closed Aug. 15, 1971, by President Nixon.

Why not mail a troy ounce to each and every American in the form of a brand new American Eagle? There are 298 million Americans. Subtract the illegal aliens and we?re close enough. No net impact on the deficit. You can claim you are fiscally responsible.

That will give a family of four more than $2,500 in gold to play with. With gold, they might even be able to negotiate directly with Saudi Arabia for another tankful of gas.

Sure, we are selling out our self-discipline, our integrity and our very birthright. There will be no credibility left to American economic policy. But come November, we grateful Americans will vote for the politicians who extended the benefits of bribery to each and every one of us.

If the Mint can make all those Eagles MS-70, that would be a bonus. eBay, here I come!

Send comments toNumismatic NewseditorDave Harper, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, e-mail address All letters to the editor must be signed and include a return address. Numismatic News reserves the right to edit all letters. Include your city and state in your e-mail.