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Fort Knox Gold – or Not

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Published : May 17th, 2018
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Gary Christenson wrote this article for Miles Franklin.

Corruption in government is universal, now and throughout history. Like living with gravity, we realize it exists and carry on because we must.

Fort Knox gold questions are like corruption and gravity. There are issues but we move on. Consider:

a.There are 147 million ounces of gold supposedly stored in the Fort Knox Bullion Depository.

b. It has not been audited since the 1950s and has never been independently audited.

c. Whether the gold remains in the vaults or disappeared long ago has no obvious impact upon our daily lives.

d. The Treasury Department has little to gain by agreeing to audit Fort Knox gold. If the gold is gone, they do not want that information presented to the public. If the gold still exists why bother to audit it?

e. If the gold exists, is it encumbered, leased, swapped or “salted” with tungsten?

f. It seems likely that few individuals know the truth, and most people do not care.

WHY DON’T WE CARE ABOUT 147 MILLION OUNCES OF GOLD? WHY DON’T WE CARE ABOUT $200 BILLION?

OPINIONS AND SPECULATIONS:

  • Official national debt exceeds $21 trillion. That debt is a monumental problem compared to whether $200 billion in gold has disappeared or remains stored in government vaults.
  • The U.S. has about $20 trillion in GDP. $200 billion in gold is only one percent of the U.S. economy.
  • Interest paid each year on the official national debt has expanded to over $500 billion—about half a trillion dollars. Rates are rising and the official debt doubles every 8 – 9 years. The annual interest expense will grow to one trillion dollars and more. Fort Knox gold value at $200 billion is small by comparison.

RELEVANT GRAPHS:

U.S. government expenses increase 5 – 6% per year. Examine this log-scale chart of expenses per the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

The U.S. government spends over $4 trillion per year, and over $500 billion for interest. Source is St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Consider the annual interest expense when measured in real money—ounces of gold, not Federal Reserve Notes.

Yes, U.S. government interest expense cost about 400 million ounces of gold in 2017. The average annual interest expense measured in gold for the last 50 years has been 633 million ounces of gold.

In round numbers the cost of “defense” for wars, military hardware, armed forces and bases around the world has been several times the interest expense for the past 50 years.

Fort Knox officially contains 147 million ounces of gold—call it one Fort Knox Gold Unit (FKGU). Pretend the gold remains in Fort Knox and then calculate interest expenses measured in FKGUs.

The U.S. government has spent one to nine FKGU on interest during each of the last 50 years. The total since 1968 has been 214 FKGU.

Repeat: The U.S. government has spent on interest the equivalent of over 200 times the gold stored in Fort Knox.

National debt exceeds $21 trillion, so debt is about 100 FKGU. The U.S. has probably spent over 400 FKGU on “defense” in 50 years.

The value of Fort Knox gold is minuscule compared to expenditures for interest and “defense.”

THIS BEGS SEVERAL QUESTIONS:
  • Should gold prices be higher by more than a factor of ten because the value of Fort Knox gold is tiny compared to interest expenditures and debt?
  • Should the government sell the remaining gold and close the Fort Knox Bullion Depository because the value of the gold in Fort Knox is tiny compared to government expenses and official national debt?
  • If the gold is gone why pay to maintain the illusion and the facility?
  • If gold is so irrelevant that the U.S. has allowed total debt and annual expenditures to eclipse the value of its gold, why have China and Russia accumulated so much gold? Russia announces their holdings—not quite 2,000 tons or about 60 million ounces. China is not transparent, but Bullion Star has calculated China (and her citizens) has over 20,000 tons or over 600 million ounces. (More than four times what is officially in Fort Knox)
  • Why do China and Russia value gold, and why do they believe it is important when the U.S. does not? Based on U.S. total debt and interest expenditures priced in FKGU, the U.S. government values debt based digital dollars far more than gold. How long will this delusion be viable?
  • Would you prefer millions of ounces of gold or trillions of dollars in (dodgy) debt in ten years?
CONCLUSIONS:
  • Fort Knox Bullion Depository may contain 147 million ounces of unencumbered gold bullion. Many doubt that claim.
  • China and her citizens may have stockpiled over 600 million ounces of gold bullion. Many believe the calculation.
  • Compared to total debt of the U.S. and annual expenditures for interest, the value of Fort Knox gold is minimal at current prices.
  • US. debt is ever-increasing. Interest rates are rising, so total interest expenditures will rise. Since the U.S. must borrow more dollars to roll-over debt, expect further currency devaluation.
  • Gold prices will increase along with total debt and interest expenditures. Consumer prices will rise.

Take a hint from the Chinese and Russians. Gold should be a substantial portion of net worth to protect from inevitable dollar devaluations that started in 1913 and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Call Miles Franklin at 1-800-822-8080.

Gary Christenson

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Andrew Hoffman was a buy-side and sell-side analyst in the United States (including six years as an II-ranked oilfield service analyst at Salomon Smith Barney), but since 2002 his focus has been entirely in the metals markets, principally gold and silver. He recently worked as a consultant to junior mining companies, head of Corporate Development, and VP of Investor Relations for different mining ventures, and is now the Director of Marketing for Miles Franklin, a U.S.-based bullion dealer.
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