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Posted by on Dec 7, 2003 in MOVING MONEY AROUND | 0 comments

Little-known facts about big money and holiday spending

On the Money From the December 7, 2003 print edition At this time of year when excess spending is the norm, here are some monetary facts that might brighten your spirits, or at least enlighten you during those holiday spending sprees: How much cash is there in America? In November 2003, the “M1” money supply (which includes all coins, currency held by the public, traveler’s checks, checking/savings account balances, NOW accounts, automatic transfer service accounts and balances in credit unions) was $1.25 trillion. That is on the order of $4,257 for each of us. The U.S. Secret Service was originated in 1865 to combat counterfeit money. There was a time when as much as one-third of all the money in America was counterfeit. The Secret Service estimates there is currently about $32 million of counterfeit currency in circulation in the United States. U.S. currency is not printed on paper, but on cloth: three-quarters cotton and one-quarter linen. A mile of pennies laid out is $844.80. By this standard, America is about $2.5...

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Posted by on Sep 5, 2003 in MOVING MONEY AROUND | 0 comments

Cost of currency can be an unpleasant surprise

On the Money From the September 5, 2003 print edition “Money” is defined as “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment, as in officially coined or stamped metal currency.” “Fiat” means “authorization.” Fiat Money is legal tender, especially paper currency, authorized by a government. We use “Fiat Money” in this country in the form of United States Dollars-bread, dough, cash, lucre, bucks, lolly, loot, shekels, smackers, rocks, you get the picture. In economic terms, money represents command over good and services. But, here’s the chafe. In our ever shrinking world, where technology provides almost instant access to any country on the planet, the “unit of exchange” for command over goods or services is often unique to that particular nation. This gives rise to an entire industry called currency exchange. Many of us are familiar with the British Pound, Japanese Yen, even Indian Rupees, but in addition there are over 40 other commonly exchanged currencies. They are: American Dollar, Argentine Peso, Australian Dollar,...

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Posted by on Apr 4, 2003 in MOVING MONEY AROUND | 0 comments

The strange relationship between war and money

On the Money From the April 4, 2003 print edition At first glance it might seem that the marriage of war and money is nonsensical. However, war does seem to improve economic conditions. In fact, commerce and military conflict have been linked together for many centuries. In 1828 Webster defined war as: "A contest between nations or states, carried on by force, either for defense, or for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce or acquisition of territory . . ." Without commenting at all on the political, ethical, emotional or moral issues surrounding war, there are economic relationships that often lead to an improved fiscal climate. Of course using statistics alone may not reveal factors such as: perceived uncertainty, expectations and the propensity to spend, or willingness to invest.  Nevertheless, it is worth exploring both the obvious and not so obvious relationships that make the process of war economically stimulating. Classic economic fiscal policy theory tells us government spending stimulates the economy because it puts more funds into...

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