Around the time of (and shortly after) World War II many countries sent some of their gold to the U.S. The thinking was that it would be safer in the vaults of New York and elsewhere. But countries are starting to worry.
The latest concern comes from Germany, who asked that some of its gold be returned. The US said it could not be sent back right now (???), but that they would deliver it over the next 8 years. If I was Germany, this would make me very worried. But what would make me even more concerned is that only 1/2 of the expected annual delivery was made in 2013. To make it even worse, the gold that was returned was not in the original form. It had been melted down and recast, making it impossible to know if what Germany received was the original gold they had sent.
Nobody outside a select handful know what or how much gold is where. The impression is that there is a huge vault with a different room for each of the major countries. When one country wants to send assets to another, they can ask the US to simply move some of their gold from their vault into another and the transfer is complete. The gold that was deposited in the US was in the form of carefully formed and labeled gold bars, so finding the original gold from Spain, for instance, should be simply a matter of physical inspection. But the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Treasury Department have been obscuring our gold holdings (and foreign gold holdings) since the last proper audit in 1953. They state over and over that secrecy is necessary because of security, but like all of their explanations, this does not pass the common sense test. How does not letting people know how much gold is held possibly make it safer? Do they think that someone with the resources and inclination to steal gold from the US Treasury would only attempt the theft if they knew how much was there? Safe to assume that it is a lot. The more obvious reason is that they have something to hide.
This lack of transparency has left many people, both here and in Germany, searching for any possible explanation. The most obvious answer is also the most frightening - the gold is simply gone. Whether the US sold it in our crazy spending frenzy of the last 8 years or whether it was removed long before that nobody knows. If this is in fact the case, and if the gold that we all believe is there is not, then the world is heading for a pretty terrifying crash.
Is this like the bank employee who stole from the register with the intent of replacing it before anyone found out? Unfortunately we can only speculate.
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