Indebted to the Dollar

Ever really looked at a dollar bill? Ever read what is written on one? Go ahead, take one out now and really look at it.What does it really mean to have that dollar in your hand? It reads "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private."
I never really put together that having money really means having debt. However much money I have makes me indebted to it. How much I have is how much I owe. Things need to be maintained, paid for monthly and of course, the more I have the more I want. My whole world is wrapped up in how much debt I can acquire. I don't want to worship the all mighty buck, but measure my wealth in so many other ways today.
How come teachers aren't important for supporting our children? How come the regular topics on the news are what the dow closed at and how much we really need to start another war? Why not dedicate some air time to the wonderful, selfless deeds our citizens do and organizations that clean up pollution, save the animals or save the rain forests? Or how about people for stopping domestic violence, helping the needy or the homeless? When did we start hating and blaming the poor for being poor? "If you don't have a job and your'e not rich, blame yourself" seems to be the new motto.

With every dollar you spend, you are giving out your vote. Whoever gets that dollar is who you are supporting...it is your vote. Have you thought about how you want your country to look or who you want to have power and say over it? Is it Walmart? Unfortunately with the way this country has slowly been torn apart with an increasing wealth gap, this is the only choice left for many. Voting against their own best interest. Voting for the companies increasing that wealth chasm. These are some really good questions I am making myself look at. We started measuring the wealth of this country by the gross domestic product and that has been the gage and our downfall ever since.
How come so many powerful people can't see what good their time and money could do for this country or this planet by still making a profit? So many questions and yet I can do my small part in where I shop, how I treat my child and the people around me, who I support and what I listen to. Next time some a**hole cuts me off in traffic, let me remember that I am sure I have been that a**hole before by accident or on purpose. Perhaps at that moment I can just have compassion for them. I remember to breathe and keep my eye on the prize of being happy and being human.
So my individual part is to turn off my television more often, spend more time with my child, be a part of something good and spread my support for what I think is important. Tout my message that people are important over profit, schools are more important than banks and teachers should make as much as doctors with the same respect. Children are our best commodity. Screw the gdp.

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Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Interesting Hub.

However, the words, "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." that appear on a dollar bill do not mean that you are indebted to the dollar bill but that, within the United States, a public (government) or private (individual or company) creditor must accept dollar bills and other U.S. currency for payment of money they are owed.

This doesn't mean that a creditor cannot willingly accept something else of value in lieu of U.S. currency. They can do this, but creditors cannot demand that a debt be satisfied with something other than U.S. currency.

By the same token, a person owing money cannot demand that the creditor accept something of value other than U.S. currency and have the debt forgiven as a result.

Thus, restaurant owners have been known to accept paintings from financially strapped, struggling artists in exchange for a meal. However, the restaurant owner cannot force an artist to pay for a meal with a painting just as an artist cannot force a restaurant owner to accept a painting in lieu of cash. However, if the restaurant owner insists on cash the artist must pay with U.S. currency and if the artist insists on paying with U.S. currency the restaurant owner must accept that as payment for the meal.


Davesworld profile image

Davesworld 4 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

FYI, I have a small paper money collection. From a 10 dollar bill, Federal Reserve Note, series 1934:

"This note is legal tender for all debts public and private, and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank," which is much more interesting don't you think.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Davesworld, this did appear on older bills. Prior to Franklin Roosevelt's order removing gold as currency in the 1930s(gold coins used to be minted by the U.S. Mint and circulated as money) and forbidding its ownership other than in the form of coin collections and jewelry you could exchange a dollar and other bills for gold at the Federal Reserve or at other banks.

You could also exchange paper bills for silver - silver dollars used to be minted by the U.S. Mint and coins from dimes to silver dollars actually contained a dime's, quarter's, half-dollar's or dollar's worth of silver depending upon the coin's denomination. President Nixon in the 1970s ordered the removal of silver from coins and also the ability to exchange paper bills for silver at the Federal Reserve.

Just as Gersham's Law (bad money drives out the good) dimes, quarters, half-dollars and silver dollars quickly disappeared into coin collections. Today these silver coins are worth considerably more as silver than their actual denomination.

There were also some contracts in the past that required payment in gold. This was probably in anticipation of Roosevelt or one of his Progressive predecessors removing the the dollar's gold backing. The Supreme Court has since ruled those gold clauses in contracts invalid leaving holders of the contracts having to accept our current paper money.


Davesworld profile image

Davesworld 4 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Chuck, I am under the impression that Nixon took us off the gold standard because at the time, several foreign countries (notably France) were making a run on American gold assets. They were demanding gold at $35/ounce which they could then turn around and sell on the commodity market for a profit. I dunno if that's true, or Nixon apologetics.


RandomThoughts... profile image

RandomThoughts... 4 years ago from Washington Author

Thank you Chuck for your knowledge on the subject. It makes me want to go a little further back in history and find out more. I guess the road I was going down was more the worship and importance of money versus all the other wonderful ways people support and benefit our society. Thanks again.


RandomThoughts... profile image

RandomThoughts... 4 years ago from Washington Author

Davesworld, Yes much more interesting!! Thank you for responding to my blog. I am glad I wrote it because I am learning more about money than I thought I cared to. I was going more along the lines of the worship of money and how much we have determined the wealth of the country by it instead of the amazing accomplishments of good done by people regardless of it. I look forward to seeing more of what you have written.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Davesworld - you are correct about why Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard. France, for domestic and international political reasons was putting pressure on the U.S. They were able to do this because inflation was reducing the value of the dollar making gold more valuable. Also, our trade deficit plus the Cold War was forcing the U.S. to send millions of dollars overseas in the form of military and other forms of foreign aid, as well as maintaining numerous military bases overseas. All of these left us with a huge balance of payments deficit as foreign nations held more U.S. dollars than the U.S. had of foreign currency to trade back for the U.S. dollars that they held.

Gold was all we had left to trade but our supply would have been quickly depleted had we exchanged gold at $35 per ounce for those dollars when gold was selling at around $100 per ounce at the time.

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