House Joint Resolution 192 – HJR 192, Analysis

JOINT RESOLUTION TO SUSPEND THE GOLD STANDARD AND ABROGATE THE GOLD CLAUSE

Note: I can’t tell who decided to call HJR 192 the “joint resolution to suspend the gold standard and abrogate the gold clause.” That line does not appear in the source document.

Full text, checked for consistency against the source document

Sources:

http://picker.uchicago.edu/bailouts/48Stat112.pdf
… and elsewhere. Just search for the first string below this line

73d CONGRESS. SESS. I. CHAPTER 48.
June 5, 1933
H.J.Res. 192
Pub. Res., No. 10

Joint resolution to assure uniform value to the coins and currencies of the United States.

Whereas the holding of or dealing in gold affect the public interest, and are therefore subject to proper regulation and restriction; and
Whereas the existing emergency has disclosed that provisions of obligations which purport to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency of the United States, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, obstruct the power of the Congress to regulate the value of money of the United States, and are inconsistent with the declared policy of the Congress to maintain at all times the equal power of every dollar, coined or issued by the United States, in the markets and in payment of debts. Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) every provision contained in or made with respect to any obligation which purports to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, is declared to be against public policy; and no such provision shall be contained in or made with respect to any obligation hereafter incurred. Every obligation, heretofore or hereafter incurred, whether or not any such provision is contained therein or made with respect thereto, shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts. Any such provision contained in any law authorizing obligations to be issued by or under authority of the United States, is hereby repealed, but the repeal of any such provision shall not invalidate any other provision or authority contained in such law.
(b) As used in this resolution, the term “obligation” means an obligation (including every obligation of and to the United States, excepting currency) payable in money of the United States; and the term “coin or currency” means coin or currency of the United States, including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations.
SEC. 2. The last sentence of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of section 43 of the Act entitled “An Act to relieve the existing national economic emergency by increasing agricultural purchasing power, to raise revenue for extraordinary expenses incurred by reason of such emergency, to provide emergency relief with respect to agricultural indebtedness, to provide for the orderly liquidation of joint-stock land banks, and for other purposes”, approved May 12, 1933, is amended to read as follows:
“All coins and currencies of the United States (including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations) heretofore or hereafter coined or issued, shall be legal tender for all debts, public and private, public charges, taxes, duties, and dues, except that gold coins, when below the standard weight and limit of tolerance provided by law for the single piece, shall be legal tender only at valuation in proportion to their actual weight.”
Approved, June 5, 1933, 4:40 p.m.

Analysis

Followers of the Redemption Movement frequently look to HJR 192 as proof of both the bankruptcy of the United States and the end of all debt obligations…

Yet no one is able to point out proof of this alleged bankruptcy.

One may look to the Emergency Banking Relief Act (aka Emergency Banking Act – Wikipedia main article) and Executive Order 6102 (Wikipedia main article). Those would certainly be of interest to any goldbug. Goldbugs are likely intimately familiar with the Gold Clause Cases (Wikipedia main article). However, it would take considerable distortion of the truth in order to paint these actions as indicative of the bankruptcy of the United States.

Truth Sets Us Free, a web resource which claims “[dedication] to liberating Americans through education”, has the following arguments to make from HJR 192:

“no one in America has been able to lawfully pay a debt”

They quote with specificity:

“payment of debt” is now against Congressional and “public policy” and henceforth, “Every obligation … Shall be discharged.”

Source: http://www.truthsetsusfree.com/HJR192.htm

The first argument is entirely false. HJR 192 specifically states that debt obligations “shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts.” Last I checked, Redemptionists were just as interested in US dollars as everyone else (or Canadian dollars, or Australian dollars… the Redemption Movement has gone global). Sure, some are just coming to grips with the reality of debt, but that hardly changes the fact that US dollars are legal tender.

Their second argument also falls flat once the reader goes back to the source material. I quote here from the first paragraph of HJR 192, immediately preceding the preamble:

every provision contained in or made with respect to any obligation which purports to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, is declared to be against public policy; and no such provision shall be contained in or made with respect to any obligation hereafter incurred. Every obligation, heretofore or hereafter incurred, whether or not any such provision is contained therein or made with respect thereto, shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts

Payment of debt is not against public policy: rather, it is the requirement that debt be repaid in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency other than that which is legal tender. This is the whole point of HJR 192 in a nutshell. The preamble makes the rationale behind this resolution abundantly clear:

provisions of obligations which purport to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency of the United States, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, obstruct the power of the Congress to regulate the value of money of the United States, and are inconsistent with the declared policy of the Congress to maintain at all times the equal power of every dollar, coined or issued by the United States, in the markets and in payment of debts

Congress wishes to have control over monetary policy. Maintaining the gold standard made this vastly more difficult, as it would have required physical gold to back the creation of every new dollar. Don’t worry, though: all money is fiat money.

HJR 192 does not give individuals license to discharge their debts by drafting bogus negotiable instruments. HJR 192 does not state that the government will wipe away all debt obligations if you ask it nicely. Ultimately, we are held responsible for the consequences that arise from our actions.

Further Reading

http://freedom-school.com/lewis-mohr/hjr-192-and-its-legal-effect.html – emails from Larry Becraft discussing HJR 192 and its status, hosted on a site that collects Redemption materials (and actually believes this stuff)