This is the first of a series of first-person reports from American citizens who have run afoul of the bureaucracy. While we have made reasonable efforts to verify the accounts, the stories are personal statements of the authors.
Almost 30 years ago, just a few weeks before I got married, I found a strange book on a drugstore bookstand: Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal. It was a collection of essays about a philosophy of freedom. Two dealt with the American monetary system. The author explained that nothing—no gold or silver—backed our currency. He argued that, sooner or later, this fiat money system would lead to disaster, and that only a money backed by real value—gold—could last.
That author was Alan Greenspan. Since then our careers—Alan's and mine—have taken very different paths. In 1967, Alan Greenspan was already a fairly well-known economist. In the 1970's, President Ford appointed him to his Council of Economic Advisors. In 1987, he was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Funny, he does not talk much about gold anymore.
In 1967, I was a college senior. Susan and I were married on December 16, and when I graduated in 1968, the draft board gave me 30 days to frolic before conscription. I arrived at Fort Polk, Louisiana, one hot October night, caught the Army bus out to the post, and sat down behind the driver,...