Thursday, August 20, 2009

Liberty Quote Of The Day: Justice Stephen J. Field - Part I

This is the first of two quotes we will provide from one of our new monetary heros, Justice Stephen J. Field of the late 19th century U.S. Supreme Court. Tomorrow, we'll give you Part II.

Today in Part I, we provide Justice Field's concluding statement from his dissenting opinion in Juilliard v. Greenman, 110 U.S. 470 (1884), which affirmed the constitutionality of Congress issuing paper money not backed by gold or other stores of value. Justice Field showed a strong Constrained Vision and remarkable long term prescience. The quote speaks for itself.

“From the decision of the Court I see only evil likely to follow. There have been times within the memory of all of us when the legal tender notes of the United States were not exchangeable for more than one-half of their nominal value. The possibility of such depreciation will always attend paper money. This inborn infirmity no mere legislative declaration can cure. If Congress has the power to make the notes a legal tender and to pass as money or its equivalent, why should not a sufficient amount be issued to pay the bonds of the United States as they mature? Why pay interest on the millions of dollars of bonds due now when Congress can in one day make the money to pay the principal? And why should there be any restraint upon unlimited appropriations by the government for all imaginary schemes of public improvement if the printing press can furnish the money that is needed for them?”
- Justice Stephen J. Field
Turn the printing presses on Uncle Ben. There's nobody to stand in your way.