Welcome to this week's Market Wrap Podcast, I'm Mike Gleason.
Coming up we'll hear a wonderful interview with Dr. Richard Ebeling, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel. An Austrian economist, Dr. Ebeling calls the alarm about the increasingly dangerous monetary policy our nation has been pursuing -- and how it could ultimately lead to an economic disaster. Don’t miss this eye-opening interview, coming up after this week’s market update.
Well, markets are signaling their approval of President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next Federal Reserve chairman. Last week, Trump nominated Jerome Powell to replace Janet Yellen when her term is up in 2018.
The stock market responded by rallying to new highs. Wall Street is pleased with the Powell pick because he shares the same philosophy as Yellen and other predecessors who have helped inflate stock values with easy money. Powell is expected to continue the same inflationary policies and programs.
That’s a disappointment to sound money advocates. Trump had an opportunity to shake things up at the Fed. He chose instead to go with a conventional, status quo candidate drawn from the Fed’s Board of Governors.
The President would counter that he’s putting his stamp on the central bank by installing a Republican. Jay Powell is nominally a Republican. He will be replacing an Obama-appointed Democrat. But when it comes to monetary policy, party affiliation is a distinction without a difference.
There has long been a broad bipartisan consensus in favor of inflationary monetary policy. Republicans and Democrats have slightly different line item spending priorities. But history shows there’s no difference in terms of the overall budget deficits they run up.
Republicans and Democrats are equally committed to papering over their deficits with more currency creation. That’s the reality of how bipartisanship works in Washington.
Powell himself is a bipartisan figure, having served as a top Treasury Department official in the George H.W. Bush administration before being selected for the Board of Governors by President Obama.
Trump’s deference toward the monetary establishment may be disappointing…but it’s not too surprising. Trump felt free to rail against the Fed while campaigning as an outsider. But as President, he quickly came to the same realization as previous White House occupants – that in order to succeed politically, he needs the central bank and its inflationary policies on his side.
Well, speaking of inflation, how might precious metals markets fare under the incoming new Fed chair? Powell has signaled his intent to continue trimming the Fed’s balance sheet and gradually hike rates as economic conditions warrant. That’s a potential headwind.
But Powell is far from a monetary policy hawk. He is widely believed to be slightly on the dovish side. He will likely reiterate Janet Yellen’s repeated calls for achieving a 2% inflation target.
Yellen never got annual inflation up to 2% -- at least not by the official calculation. Perhaps Powell will pursue a different strategy for getting there. Some Fed officials have urged an overshoot above 2% to make up for recent years of below 2% inflation.
Rising inflationary expectations would stimulate more investor interest in precious metals – especially if capital begins rotating out of the overheated stock market.
This week crude oil prices broke out to a fresh new high for the year. As for gold and silver markets, they are still in a basing out process. Some near-term upward momentum has, however, reemerged since President Trump tapped Jay Powell for Fed chairman.
Since last Friday’s close, the gold market has advanced 1.0% to bring spot prices to $1,284 an ounce. Silver prices are posting a weekly gain of 1.2% to trade at $17.09 as of this Friday recording.
Turning to the platinum group metals, palladium continues to lead. Palladium prices closed Thursday at a new multi-year high but has pulled back a bit today and currently trades at $1,003 per ounce, unchanged now on the week. Its sister metal platinum comes in at $941 and is up 2.0% for the week.
Right now palladium is the only precious metal in a confirmed bull market. However, there is a strong long-term bullish case to be made for the other metals as well.
It’s clear that inflationary monetary policies will continue at the Fed even if outgoing Fed chair Yellen pushes through a rate hike in December. The political pressures for more monetary inflation will grow if budget deficits rise.
The GOP tax plan is predicated on stronger economic growth delivering more revenues to the government. But it offers no realistic path to a balanced budget. On the spending side, no cuts will be forthcoming. Fiscal irresponsibility in Washington will eventually reach a dead end while the economy and equity markets run out of stimulus and investors flee to safe haven assets including precious metals.
Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to this week’s exclusive interview.
Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Dr. Richard Ebeling, the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the former president of the Foundation for Economic Education and is a well-respected libertarian author. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Bell and Epic Times. And he has written and edited numerous books including the three-volume Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises. His other works include Austrian Economics and the Political Economy of Freedom. He's also the co-author and co-editor of In Defense of Capitalism.
It's an honor to have him on with us today. Dr. Ebeling, thanks for taking the time. It's great to talk with you.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: It's my great pleasure to be with you today.
Mike Gleason: I want to get in to some of the specifics of Keynesian Theory versus the Austrian School, as well as other related topics with you in a moment. But first, you're a real scholar of free markets and most of your research appears to be focused on this. One of the main themes I keep finding in just about all of your work is that government stepping in and trying to manage the monetary supply, manage the economy… it's perhaps the biggest threat to our liberty, isn't it? Talk about that.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: I think you're absolutely right, it is. One has to understand is that money has been monopolized by government. The government through our central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, has control basically over the quantity of money that is in the economy and then the financial markets. Through having a wide control over the supply of money, it therefore can manipulate and influence the value of each dollar that is in our pockets. And through financial markets, they can distort interest rates.
By increasing the money supply, they can create this illusion that there is more savings in the economy and therefore throw real savings and business investment out of balance, which will generate the distortions that eventually will have to be corrected for. And of course, if they persistently and continuously increase the supply of money and it percolates through the economy as a whole, it inevitably runs the risk of generating rising price inflation, which has its own bag of distortive and harmful effects on you and me.
Another way of thinking about this is that central banking is a form of monetary central planning. In the old Soviet Union, for example, they nationalized all the means of production -- land, factories and machinery -- and centrally planned it through a government agency in Moscow, under the presumption that a handful of people could have the knowledge, wisdom and ability to know how to micromanage and direct all of the diverse activities of the multitudes of people in a society; and to do it better and superior than leaving people alone to freely interact in the competitive markets of supply of demand.
Now that failed terribly. They couldn't make shoes that fit or toothbrushes and the necessary supplies or have food on the table in the old Soviet Union, because of this inability of a handful of people to plan an entire society.
Why should we be surprised, analogously, that if the government monopolizes the control and supply of money, hands it to a board of governors of the Federal Reserve, who then presume that they have this knowledge, wisdom and ability like the arrogance of other central planners, that their outcomes will be any better than those that had been in the old Soviet Union. That is the reason why we basically have these cycles of booms and busts, inflation followed by recessions or depressions, because they keep aiming at things that cannot be controlled in this way outside with the market itself, and we are the bearers of all the consequences of their misguided actions.
Mike Gleason: Most people today don't even realize there is more than one school of thought when it comes to economic theory and each of these approaches can have a significant impact on society and on an economy as you just mentioned. This is a subject so central to sound money, debts, the role of government. I'm really excited to have you on to talk about this subject. So before we go any further, give our listeners a short history lesson of both Austrian Economics and how it differs from the Keynesian School. And tell us how the central planners and personally, and virtually all of academia for that matter – a world you live in – came to adopt the latter as the prevailing view to pretty much the exclusion of all others.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: The Austrian School of Economics began, not perhaps surprisingly, in Austria in the 1870s with a book written by an Austrian economist named Carl Menger. He generated an entire school of thought. The gist of which is that emphasized in those who followed him in the 20th century most prominently, Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek, that if we're going to understand how the social world works, the economy works, we have to begin with those elements that are at the cornerstone of the system and that is the individual. His actions, his choices, his deliberations and how out of the actions and choices of the individual come the interactions of multitudes of people in a market economy that generate supplies and demands, and coordinates the activities of now multitudes of billions of people around the globe.
The focus of the Austrians out of this, particularly in Mises and Hayek, has been the need to have a degree of humility to admit that knowledge is imperfect; that information is decentralized; there is no one person or group of people who have all of the knowledge of the world in their head; knowledge is a little bit in your mind, in my mind; how to do things; where to do things; when and for what purpose is to do things. If we're to use all of these decentralized and dispersed knowledge that exist in the minds of all of us but in no one place, we must figure out an institutional way of bringing that knowledge to bear to benefit not only the possessor of that knowledge, but indirectly, the rest of us as well who can gain things from what he can know and do that we do not.
The Austrians emphasized that as the role of the market. In the market, people are able to interact and communicate with each other, inform each other of their supplies and their demands and expressing their supplies and demands through a form of communication, known as the price mechanism. Demanders tell the suppliers what they want and the relative value they place upon what they would want for goods and services of the marketplace by the prices they're willing to offer and bid for them.
Likewise on the other side, producers and suppliers inform consumers, us, the demanding public, what they believe they have the ability and capacity to produce and the relative cost it would take for them to do so for the prices at which they're offering goods and services to us in the marketplace. Those interactions bring us together and inform and coordinate the actions of multitudes of people.
If I can just continue with this for a moment... We talk about a globalized economy and we often have made it almost a cliché that we into the marketplace and it seems that many goods when we turn over the label says "Made in China". Well China is 10,000 miles away on the other side of the globe. How did multitudes of people in China who are working in factories or as businessmen over there making entrepreneurial business judgments and decisions? How did they know what we want in America as individual consumers? They never meet us. They don't know who we are. They don't even know we exist as people. But the prices of the global market inform them what we as consumers want, the value willing to place, the profits that might be made and they're there for in the wrong self-interest of making a living, adjust and direct their activities to serve our wants and desires on the other half of the globe; just as we do the same in producing products that people in China buy as our means to pay for what we acquire from them.
If we think of it that way, this is a miracle of billions of people can interact for cooperative mutual benefit while separated by time and space and not needing to know each other to benefit from all of us can give each other through commerce and trade and buying and selling. Now if we keep that image in our mind, of a system of cooperative exchange in the marketplace in this fashion, then how can we presume that those who talk about planning and regulation and controlling and manipulating by government can have this knowledge and wisdom to do this? They do not.
There is this arrogance, this hubris that those who hold political power have somehow powers far beyond those of "mortal men", to use that phrase from the old Superman TV show. To bend steel with their bare hands, control the course of mighty rivers and the analogous of that to know what should be produced; and what work men should do; and the wages they should be paid; and the prices they should receive; and what industries should be developed; and what technology should be fostered.
There is an arrogance and a hubris in there that not only is misguided but limits what we can do as human beings interacting in the marketplace by what those planners can carry in their own mind and arrogantly then direct us to do. That is the Austrian approach. We must not have a pretense of knowledge to allow people the freedom to be free as human beings. All of us want to be free to set our own goals, to decide the best ways to achieve the happiness in our life and then through that means, for us all to share in our knowledge and abilities to the free exchanges of the marketplace.
Now the opposite of this emerged in the second half of the 19th century and in the early decades of the 20th century. And this was collectivism, socialism. Those who believe that the market fails, it doesn't distribute income justly, the right things are not produced that people should "really want and which would be good for society". If these people could only be put in charge, they could arrange things that would be fair, just and what would create a “better world” for everyone, even if the people in that world are not intelligent enough to realize what they would want. Is it they were smart as the socials planners want to make it for them?
Now that fostered socialism and communism and then its other various forms in Europe, fascism and Nazism, all under the presumption that governments and those who run government should manage and control the affairs. There were the extreme forms, the totalitarian forms of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. What emerged in the west and by the west I mean Western Europe and the United States, Britain, France, Italy, after the war, West Germany and so on, and then the United States, was a mild form of this. No, we're not going to take over all the means of production. We're not going to mandate them and compulsory direct everyone the way the Soviets or the Nazis did.
What we're going to do is impose regulations and controls and manipulate the tax structure to create incentives for people to do the things that we, the politicians, think they should do and the things that we want them to do less of. In that way, guide them into the better courses that we think is good for them. What income should be? What production should go on? What is the fair price in a “living wage”?
One form of this is Keynesian Economics. This is named after a famous British economist named John Maynard Keynes. He was born in 1883. He died in 1946 from a heart attack. And in the 1930s, he developed this idea, which got encapsulated in a book he wrote and published called "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money", in which he said the market is inherently unstable. It constantly runs the risk of falling into periods of prolonged depression with idle resources and high unemployment; and the market has no way to get out of this other than wise government manipulation through government spending, deficit financing, printing money to "stimulate demand", to put people back to work. And we can trust people guided by my theory to have the knowledge, wisdom and ability again to push the button and turn the dial and just moderate everything to ensure stability and full employment and sustainable growth.
That is what has been undertaken now since the 2nd World War, guided by Keynes' ideas. That is still the policies of our governments and of central banks. You just read the newspapers and what do the bureaucrats say? What do the central planners say? What do the politicians say? "Oh, we're in this depression because government doesn't spend enough to create jobs for everybody by stimulating demand." What is not realized is that this is not a sustainable movement, an establishment of either sustainable production or full employment. It's an illusionary one that sets the stage for a later downturn and greater unemployment when the bubble is finally burst.
Mike Gleason: Bringing precious metals into the conversation here. The fiat money system has taken down many nations and empires throughout history. Talk about that and how the Founding Fathers here in our country recognize this danger and try to provide protection from it when they drafted our Constitution because gold and silver plays a fundamental role in a sound monetary system, doesn't it?
Dr. Richard Ebeling: Yes, it does. Let me start out with this in pointing at that money originally is not the creature or the creation of government. Money emerged out of people's difficulties of realizing that they couldn't always satisfactorily trade one good for each other. I teach economics and that's my profession in the division of labor. Supposed that I had to go into a supermarket and face the supermarket manager, I need a shopping cart full of food to eat. What if I trade you four economics lecture for that cart-full of food? I have a feeling that I probably would go home and starve for a lot of times until I find a supermarket manager and their employees who actually want to hear an economics lecture. Of course as an economist, I can imagine why anybody wouldn't want to hear an econ lecture.
But that's the problem of trading goods directly with each other. What people over thousands of years stumbled upon is that you can get what you want by first trading what you manufacture or supply for something that you may not directly want, but once you possess it, is in demand by a lot of other people so then you can trade it away for the things that you actually desire. What was historically found, people stumbled upon through trial and error and discovery and watching the successes of others that certain commodities like gold and silver had qualities, features and attributes that made them in high demand, desirable, useful for many purposes, as well as just their metallic beautifulness.
And as a consequence, they would first trade away their products for gold and silver because they discovered many people would take gold and silver for the things they actually wanted. Over time therefore, through using gold and silver as a medium of exchange, gold and silver became the most widely accepted and generally used media for facilitating transactions. Therefore, spontaneously through the free interactions of people in the marketplace became the actual freely chosen monies of the world. That's how gold and silver became money without governments, before governments and without governments getting in the way.
Now the problem was that governments have this insatiable appetite to get their hands on our wealth. And if they can successfully tax it from us because there's always the danger of tax avoidance and tax evasion, or at the end of the day, even a tax revolt; and if they can't get people to lend them enough money to facilitate what they want to spend on above and beyond what they tax must, they decide and have discovered ways to debase and abuse the money. In the old days, it was called coin clipping.
The kings and the princes would call coins in from their subjects and say, "We're going to re-mint them and we're going to make them fine coins and you're going to be able to trust the real value because we're going to emboss it with my face on it. And if you can't trust the face of a king, whose face can you trust?” The king would say to the royal minter, "Mint the old coins down and mint the new coins to return to my subjects, but don't put the full gold and silver content in the coin. Regardless of what you stamp on it as its gold and silver content value and take all the little bits that you've taken out of my subject's coin and mint the new coins to spend;" in other words, a secret form of expropriation of people's wealth and taxation.
Now as time went on, people discovered that they could facilitate the transactions with using money substitutes in the form of notes, rather than having to carry around gold and silver. Then governments found that easier to get what they wanted by not minting down coins and diluting their value in that way, but by just controlling the paper money supplies.
And then finally, in the 20th century, in a long story that we of course don't have the time to discuss, they broke the link between a commodity like gold and silver and the money that the gold and silver was supposed to represent completely. Until now we just have paper monies that the government manipulate and control. Therefore, we have lost the liberty of choosing the money we want and having the confidence of the soundness of that money and are left with merely scraps of paper that every day has a value basically determined by the whims and wishes and caprice of central bankers and political figures.
Mike Gleason: Why is deflation viewed as such a negation thing like Keynesian's, at least price deflation, meaning falling prices? Because as you cited in one of your recent articles, we have a fantastic example in history of when we had falling prices and yet tremendous prosperity. Talk about that.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: Yes. The fact is that falling prices, what is usually called price deflation, need have none of the negative consequences or imageries that many people have of it, usually defined falling prices equals depression. The most famous historical example and certainly relating to the United States is the period after the American Civil War. The period from 1865 to the beginning of the 20th century was America's industrial revolution. Before the Civil War, we were basically an agricultural producing country with light industry.
But in this industrial period of the decades of the end of the 19th century, what you saw was this vast growth of capital investment, rising productivity, improvements in both the quantities and the qualities of goods and services. And as a result, there's more goods can be produced and manufactured at lower cost of manufacturing through technological innovation and efficiencies.
The producers of these greater quantities of goods could offer them at lower prices because their costs were lower, to increase and capture more business and therefore, make them available to us, the consumers, and still make profits at lower prices. Therefore, this is a good inflation. More output at lower costs mean we can buy more goods with our money incomes at lower prices and therefore, raise our real standard of living.
If you want a modern example of it and I think all the listeners are generally familiar with it, think of the flat screen TVs, the DVD players, the cell phones, the pocket calculators. All of these originally came on the market and sold for hundreds and in the case of flat screen TVs, thousands of dollars. But again, through the competitive rivalry of the marketplace to make things better and less expensive than the rival to capture our consumer business, businessmen, enterprises, entrepreneurs had the profit motive to devise ways, "How do I not only make it better, but to manufacture it at a lower cost so I can offer for less and still make money by getting the customer business."
That's what we see, the prices of large, high digital flat screen TVs are now a fraction of what they were 10 years ago. The pocket calculators that cost hundreds of dollars 20 years ago and barely did arithmetic functions and are now given away usually as advertising gimmicks by people. Or the cell phones that are now are pocket computers and television and radio devices; as well as our email communications. Those prices have dramatically fallen. That is innovative capacity of a free market system that is left alone, both to be open and competitive and allow the market determine prices, what prices should be rather than manipulated by the government.
Now can there be situations where falling prices accompany a depression? Yes, there can be. But those falling prices follow an artificial inflation created boom. When it's discovered that the monetary expansion of the boom period have pushed prices and wages to levels than in a real market, reflecting real supply and demand conditions of which the producers can supply and consumers want have been inflated, then they have to come down to earth-like levels. That's a corrective period.
But once the correction is made, the economy can stabilize, markets can be in balance again and then we can have sustainable growth and then a period of gently falling good prices as productivity now follows market signals, rather than distorted by government monetary mischief.
Mike Gleason: Following up on that point of the government monetary mischief, discuss the dangers and also the fallacy in the idea that these central bankers say they want to maintain this perfect 2% consumer price inflation rate. They've come with 2% as some sort of a magic number. If 2% is good, isn't 3% better and why not 10% inflation for that matter? Why is it good for prices to be going up on everything that we need? It just doesn't seem to make sense.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: Well there's implicitly two rationales that they gave or have actually. One is, they have this foolish notion that if you constantly keep prices rising a little bit, like their target as you correctly pointed out, many central banks around the world including the Federal Reserve. An average rise in prices of 2% a year, than a prices are gently rising, there'll always be profit opportunities. The prices are rising a little bit ahead of cost including labor expenses and those little profit margins by rising prices will be the constant stimulus for job creation and prosperity in the economy.
The reply to that is that a famous Swedish economist way back at the beginning of the 20th century named Knut Wicksell, used the following analogy: to think that you can have a constant stimulus in the economy by keeping prices rising a little bit, of course they didn’t talk about 2% back then but it's the same concept, rising a little bit, is like the fallacy of the fella who's afraid of being late for appointment, so he always sets his watch ahead a little bit so as to always get to a place before the actual time. Unless he has amnesia, he'll always remember that he set his watch a little bit ahead and therefore will adjust for that and be in his usual habit of maybe constantly being always a little late.
Now the thing is that if people know that prices are going to rise by on average and in general 2% a year because of central bank policy, they will build that in to their wage demand. Their markups when they price goods in the market. Therefore, with selling prices, then matched by rising cost prices including wages, pretty much at the same rate the prices are rising, there's no extra artificial profit margin to create that extra stimulus that they think can be permanently be established there.
The other reason that they want to do this, is they want to have a little image of a gap there of rising prices that gives them a range in which they can always push interest rates down before they would be the existence of bad deflation, in other words a buffer of 2% inflation to always be trying to stop price deflation as the big bogey man. That's basically the rationales that they have.
Mike Gleason: In terms of what happens when the confidence in the currency disappears, I want to read you a quote from Mises and then get your comments. This passage is in reference to his expectations of what will happen to the masses once the tipping point with the currency is reached, he states:
"People become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against "real" goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as a media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them."
Talk a little bit more about that. Do you see events unfolding as Mises described? What would this mean for precious metals owners? Also, what might we expect in the aftermath if something like that would happen here in the US?
Dr. Richard Ebeling: Of course, his analysis of that was against the backdrop of him living himself through the disastrous hyperinflation of post World War I Germany in the early 1920s. An experience that happened in his own native Austria as well as other countries in the post-war period. What happens is that when the government gets on an unending policy of printing more and more money and finding that as it pushes the prices, I just explained, costs are rising as well and the extra stimulus disappears. They have to keep pushing prices higher and higher to try to get the extra stimulus of its temporary effect.
The analogy sometimes is like the drug addict. He takes the drugs and he has the euphoric feeling. But then your body adjusts to it and you need the bigger doses of the drug to have the same euphoric high, and then you're on the cycle that leads to disaster. And that's the sort of cycle once a society and a government are on what's called a "moderate inflation"; then a "trotting inflation"; and then a "running inflation; and then a "hyperinflation.
At that point, what happened in Germany and what happened in neighboring Austria, which Mises experienced along with Hayak living at that time in the early 1920s, is that money became worthless because prices are rising so rapidly. People just want to do nothing but get rid of it today, because you don't know what it's going to worth other than knowing is it going to be worth less tomorrow.
I met a person who lived through the great German inflation in Berlin at its peak of its worst times in the autumn 1923. He told me that you could go into a Berlin café and order a cup of coffee and in the time that it took you to get the coffee on the counter and to finish drinking it, the price of that cup of coffee could easily double. The moral of the lesson he drew from it, drink fast.
That means that the currency becomes totally worthless and the entire economy disintegrates because money as I explained is the glue that keeps all the transactions and the activities of buying and selling on a rational and balanced basis. And at that point people stop using it and shift into either what they view as a more stable paper currency, for example in Germany, people started using Swiss Francs or even US Dollars, or they return to commodity monies, which are current in Germany and many other countries. And that is even whether the government makes it illegal, the power of the market, which means people desire to try to preserve their wealth, is greater than the strongest government edict and people start using gold and silver.
That's is why during such monetary periods of absolute madness, you start seeing the value of gold and silver rising dramatically. It isn't that gold and silver become that much worth more, it's just that in terms of the depreciating currencies, those paper monies are becoming increasingly worth less and less relative to an ounce of gold and silver. It's pointing out the worthlessness of the paper money and not so much of the increasing value of gold and silver. But they do maintain their values and in terms of the paper currencies, enhance their values.
Mike Gleason: Well people that think that we might not have a Wiemar Germany here, just remember that all fiat currency systems have ended badly in the history of the world up until now. And it does seem like we're maybe on borrowed time considering how vast our expansion or our money supply has gotten over the last several years.
Well Dr. Ebeling, I really want to thank you for your insights and thanks for the work you are doing to spread the ideals and concepts of liberty and free markets and sound money. We're big fans of yours and we definitely hope we can visit with you again as things unfold.
Dr. Richard Ebeling: It'll be my pleasure. Thank you for having me on.
Mike Gleason: Well that will do it for this week. Thanks again to Dr. Richard Ebeling, libertarian author and professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel.
About the Author:
Mike Gleason is a Director with Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named "Best in the USA" by an independent global ratings group. Gleason is a hard money advocate and a strong proponent of personal liberty, limited government and the Austrian School of Economics. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason has extensive experience in management, sales and logistics as well as precious metals investing. He also puts his longtime broadcasting background to good use, hosting a weekly precious metals podcast since 2011, a program listened to by tens of thousands each week.