The True Gold Standard (Second Edition)
The Reagan Gold Commission has an almost mythic status in the history of American monetary policy. As award-winning author and economic historian Brian Domitrovic, an advisor to thegoldstandardnow.org, observed in his Forbes.com column, “The First Gold Commission Scared the Dickens out of the Fed,”
“the minority report, that of Paul and Lehrman, did recommend gold, and it remains to this day one of the scintillating documents of recent public policy. It might as well be a blueprint for 21st-century monetary reform.”
The Commission’s Minority Report, The Case for Gold, signed by Reagan Gold Commissioners Lewis E. Lehrman, founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute, and by the Honorable Ron Paul, then a rather junior Congressman, remains in print and available from multiple sources. The Majority Report, authored by Milton Friedman collaborator Anna Schwartz, mostly academic interest, also has been available in PDF form, thanks to its posting to the Web by GoldenSextant.com.
Most of the Commission’s archival records, including transcripts and copies of the testimony, however, have remained unavailable to the public. Until now.
The staff of the United States Treasury Department library now has digitized the full record of the Gold Commission. It is in ten volumes, comprising many thousands of pages. Now, for the first time, these materials are available to scholars and the general public.
This record is, so to speak, a gold mine of source documentation. It is certain to prove of keen interest to gold standard advocates, monetary policy experts, economists, historians, and all interested in the important subject of monetary integrity.
Volume One describes the contents:
Contents of the Commission's Permanent Record
Here is a sample from the record of the November 12, 1981 Meeting of the Gold Commission in the Cash Room of the U.S. Department of Treasury:
It includes the official testimonies before the Commission:
Dr. Robert Aliber
Dr. Henry Mark Holzer
Dr. Allan H. Meltzer
Mr. Andrew G. E. Racz, President
Mr. Robert E. Weintraub
Ralph Benko, Esq.
David B. Bostian, Jr.
Peter B. Kenen
As Treasury Under Secretary Beryl Sprinkel, chairing this hearing on behalf of Secretary Regan, observed in opening the meeting:
[W]e have had three meetings to date. I think we're making good progress in identifying problems and objectives and in defining the ideas to be considered by the Commission.
It is clear from our early discussion that the Commission members agree fundamentally on the essential need to deal with inflation and restore stability to the U. S economy.
In justice, though, there is a diversity of views about whether gold can and should play a role in this effort and, indeed, about the role gold has played in the U.S. economic history. So, we are pleased this morning to have the opportunity to hear the views and analyses of a number of private experts on these questions.
It was a high honor for this writer to have been invited, at the behest of Commissioner Lehrman, to testify on the Constitutional history of American monetary policy.
Another hearing was held the following day, with presentations by:
Dr. Alan Greenspan
Dr. William Fellner
Dr. Roy Jastram
Dr. Marc Miles
Dr. Earl A. Thompson
Dr. John Williamson
Dr. Richard Cooper
Mr. Richard Davies
Dr. Rudiger Dornbusch
Ms. Helen Junz
Mr. Alan Reynolds
Dr. Hans F. Sennholz
The U.S. Treasury library staff has performed an act of significant public service by digitizing this extensive, and fascinating, record. The Lehrman Institute’s Thegoldstandardnow.org is honored to be the first venue from which these materials readily will be available for access by monetary scholars and the public at large.
Gold Commission Records
Why the Gold Standard?