Want More Precious Metals News? Subscribe to Our Podcast!
Retail Silver Buying Gathers New Momentum
Stefan Gleason Speaks on Tax Cuts for Precious Metals Buyers, Sound Money Legislation
Don't want to listen? Read the podcast below!
Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.
Coming up we’ll hear part 1 of an interview Money Metals President Stefan Gleason gave with Palisades Gold Radio. Stefan talks about sound money and the big inflation scam being run by the Federal Reserve – plus, he provides a detailed inside look at legislative efforts underway at the state level to reaffirm gold and silver as money, remove taxation, and protect investors. So, stick around for this eye-opening interview, coming up after this week’s market update.
As President Joe Biden pushed massive new spending initiatives in his address before Congress, investors shrugged off rising inflation risk. They pushed the S&P 500 up to a new record close on Thursday.
Gold, meanwhile, continues to be capped under the $1,800 level – at least for the time being. As of this Friday recording, gold prices check in at $1,778 an ounce after falling a slight 0.3% since last Friday’s close.
Silver shows a slight weekly gain of 0.2% to trade at $26.24 per ounce. Platinum is down 1.4% for the week to come in at $1,233. And finally, palladium continues to be the pace setter in the metals space – adding another 4.5% this week to hit a new record and bring prices to $3,021 an ounce.
As trading closes out for the month of April, precious metals bulls will be hoping for a more fruitful May. Although May is typically a quiet month in markets – not known for producing major crashes or price spikes – it can represent a seasonal turning point.
The old adage, “sell in May and go away” is premised on the stock market entering a seasonally weak period that typically lasts through October.
Last year was a very abnormal year, of course. And this one looks to be atypical as well. With all the fiscal and monetary stimulus still making its way through the economy, seasonal trends in markets could be moot.
A major breakout in gold and silver prices could occur at any time. A short squeeze in the futures markets remains a viable scenario given the still ongoing disconnect between tremendously strong demand for physical bullion and paper selling of futures contracts.
Some online silver investing communities are eyeing May 1st for a massive new buying campaign.
How much buying actually materializes remains to be seen. But with mints struggling to keep up with demand and dealer inventories for popular products including Silver Eagles, silver bars, and silver rounds already stretched thin, another buying surge could have an effect on premiums and availability.
Those who don’t have a particular desire to own American Eagles can still get much better pricing on silver rounds that contain the same .999 purity. We have beautiful designs to choose from at Money Metals Exchange, including the Buffalo and the classic Walking Liberty in the form of privately minted rounds.
Even better pricing is available for Vault Silver – our storage program for customers who don’t want to take personal possession of silver products but still want to directly own the physical metal in their own storage account.
Silver and gold markets are waiting their turn to ride the inflationary wave that has hit so many other markets this year.
Palladium and copper prices are soaring to new heights. The housing market is rising at one of its fastest clips on record as lumber prices go through the roof. Technology companies are grappling with a computer chip shortage. Retailers are struggling with a labor shortage as millions of working-age Americans stay home and collect government benefits.
Just about everywhere you look in the economy, supply chains are strained. The precious metals bullion marketplace is a case in point.
The fact that spot prices haven’t responded in kind over the past several months is a source of frustration for many gold and silver bugs. But it’s also a value opportunity.
Those who can see what’s coming know that the value of the Federal Reserve Note will continue to decline. They know that at some point the richly valued stock market will correct, pushing mainstream investors to seek alternatives. And they won’t be able to keep up with inflation by sitting in cash.
The tsunami of deficit spending and currency creation coming out of Washington will only increase going forward. President Biden just proposed trillions in new spending for what he euphemistically calls jobs and infrastructure. In reality, this spending represents the entire re-making of the U.S. economy.
Biden’s far-reaching agenda is leading some to compare him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR is commonly believed to have pulled the country out of an economic crisis through a range of government programs that fell under the banner of the New Deal.
What’s less commonly understood about FDR is that he radically expanded the power of government to control and destroy wealth. He threatened to pack the Supreme Court until it finally capitulated and stopped striking down his power grabs as unconstitutional.
Now Joe Biden is forming a commission to look into packing the Supreme Court with additional justices that would be more favorable to his agenda.
Back on May 1st, 1933, FDR issued Executive Order 6102 – making it illegal for members of the general public to own more than five ounces of gold bullion. Back then, the dollar’s value was pegged to gold. The government’s way of creating inflation was to raise the price of gold in terms of dollars and make sure as few people as possible were protected from the devaluation.
Under our current fiat monetary regime, the Biden administration need not bother with gold prohibition. It can spend and borrow at the will of Congress and get the Federal Reserve to produce all the monetary stimulus it desires.
Just like during the days of the classical gold standard, a currency devaluation will ultimately be reflected in the dollar price of gold and silver as well.
The devaluation won’t be formally announced. But when the precious metals are trading at record highs again, it will be obvious to anyone who is paying attention that sound money serves as protection against the government’s steady confiscation of purchasing power.
Well now, without first delay, let’s get right to part 1 of Stefan’s recent interview with Palisades Gold Radio.
Tom Bodrovics: Welcome to Palisades Gold Radio. I'm your host, Tom Bodrovics. Joining me today is Stefan Gleason, President of the Money Metals Exchange and also a director of the Sound Money Defense League. How are you today, Stefan?
Stefan Gleason: Hi, Tom, thank you for having me on. I always enjoy your shows. When I go out running, I always have it on my iPod. So, I've been a listener for a long time.
Tom Bodrovics: That's awesome. I appreciate the support. And I want to congratulate you on winning Bullion Dealer of the Year by Investorpedia.
Stefan Gleason: Thank you. That kind of came out of the blue. We didn't know they were doing that, but they said we were the best overall dealer in the United States, and I think that the reason they gave us that was because of, not just our pricing and our service, but the array of services that we have that many of our competitors don't. We have a fully-integrated depository. We have a program to lend against precious metals. If somebody wants a line of credit against their own gold in our depository, they can actually do that for business purposes. Our Sound Money project, which we're going to talk about today. Some of those things, I think, kind of helped, but we don't take that for granted. There are a lot of good dealers out there.
Tom Bodrovics: Yeah, that absolutely makes sense, Stefan. Of course, you're the president of a bullion dealer and there's a lot there we can dig into, but as you said, we're going to dig into a bit more about the discussion around sound money related public policy. So, why don't we start by defining what sound money is to you and how you define that.
Stefan Gleason: The idea of sound money is stable money, money that holds its value over time, as opposed to political money, or fiat money, which is based on, not just nothing tangible, but is really at the whims of the political leaders or the central bankers. And so, as a result, you have a very unsound money, a money that's volatile and that generally has been depreciating.
Stefan Gleason: But the idea of sound money is storing purchasing power over time, not having huge amounts of variation in the purchasing power over time, and gold and silver have essentially been chosen by the market over the last 4,000 years as the money that sustains and preserves purchasing power. And so, that's probably the greatest example of sound money, but there are other things that could be sound money, theoretically.
Stefan Gleason: So, the idea of sound money is really the opposite of what we have today, which is political money, fiat money, and government control. Economic policy through government central planning, where the currency is one of the main tools used to control the economy or plan the economy. And that's Keynesian economics, as opposed to the Austrian School, or the hard money or sort of the sound money oriented economic thinkers, who have basically been completely run out of the academia.
Stefan Gleason: That school of thought has been essentially eliminated from legitimate discussion over the last 100 years, or 75 years, since the New Deal. It's starting to come back. Many of these people are prominent thinkers and are becoming more prominent, but the general mainstream is Keynesian economics and that's very contrary to the principles of sound money.
Tom Bodrovics: Excellent. So, you have a Sound Money Index on your site that ranks all 50 US states' monetary policies. So, what does this index try and help illustrate?
Stefan Gleason: We've been focused on public policy for at least the last five or six years as one of the areas that we think we can do some good for the industry and for our customers and for the country, and, of course, the main problem originates with federal policy, the Federal Reserve System, the removal of gold and silver from the monetary system, and, of course, the most recent and the most significant event was the removal of the last link to gold in the early '70s, which led to an explosion in government debt.
Stefan Gleason: There was no longer any tether or any restriction on the issuance of new currency units after we violated and broke the Bretton Woods treaty. Temporarily, I think, was how it was framed at the time. So, if you look at what happened with government since then, and government debt, it's like a hockey stick, and the debt expanded dramatically, and government expanded dramatically since the early '70s.
Stefan Gleason: So anyway, I just want to start by pointing out the main problem is federal policy, and we have some legislation addressing a couple of the areas there, but there's, of course, huge problems, the Federal Reserve system itself, and so on. But there are some things that states can do, and we've found that at the state level, there's a greater possibility of effecting positive change on the public policy front. And while we are still involved in federal policies, really the successes that we've had in the last few years have been at the state level, in certain states.
Stefan Gleason: Obviously, there's an opportunity to create competition between states. Some states are more left wing sort of oriented than others. That does affect their policies on lots of things. It affects their tax levels, it affects the freedom of their citizens, and not surprisingly, those states are generally lower on the index when it comes to sound money.
Stefan Gleason: But we basically just looked at all the things that a state can do, either is doing or could do, that would reaffirm the role of gold and silver as money, remove taxation from it when you buy and when you sell, other areas of public policy, such as whether the state has a state charter depository for precious metals, whether the state owns gold as an investment, say in the pension funds, whether a state has laws that harass dealers or even private investors who seek to buy or sell gold. And we can talk about a couple crazy things that states do on that front.
Stefan Gleason: And we also looked at a couple things like whether a state owns gold in the pension fund, whether it has it as a reserve asset, whether the state owns gold bonds, whether the state issues a gold bond. None of them do either of those things, by the way, yet, but I think you had Keith Wiener on at one point, and he's pushing that issue and making some progress.
Stefan Gleason: But about 55% of the overall index scoring is centered around whether the state has sales tax when you buy precious metals or income tax on gains if you sell precious metals. And so, that's probably the major issue. There's some remarkable differences between the states, though, on just those two.
Tom Bodrovics: So Stefan, explain to us why a sales tax on precious metals is a silly idea, and maybe use the example of breaking that $5 bill that you use in that index.
Stefan Gleason: When you're acquiring precious metals, you are simply exchanging one form of money, I wouldn't necessarily call it money, but we're told that it's money, for another. When you're buying a gold bar, for example, or a silver coin. And so, you're just changing, you're breaking the dollar into some other denomination of money, and in fact, better money.
Stefan Gleason: Many states consider that to be a taxable event. They consider that to be something where you have to pay a sales tax of five to 10% on that. So, that would be like going into a grocery store and saying, "I want four quarters for this dollar," and they said, "Okay, great. We need $1.07 before we give you the four quarters."
Stefan Gleason: And so, it's kind of a silly idea. Fortunately, many states have recognized that it's silly to be taxing money, that this is money. And if it's not money, it's an investment. Some of them don't necessarily say it's money, but they are willing to acknowledge that this is an investment. And what other type of investment do you have to pay a sales tax on?
Stefan Gleason: So, the idea of a sales tax is a consumption tax, it's the idea that you're the final user of this perishable good, that the last user pays the sales tax. On the wholesale level when the business buys it from the wholesaler and then sells it and it gets distributed, there's no tax, but then the final consumer pays the sales tax.
Stefan Gleason: So, that whole concept is totally invalid when it comes to gold and silver. Gold and silver is held inherently for resale or, if you're going to look at it as an investment, it's held for resale. It's not eaten. Well, I guess colloidal silver, you can drink colloidal silver, so, in that case, it's consumed. But gold coins, gold bars. These are not being consumed. They're not artwork. They are stored purchasing power, they're money, and they're an investment, and they're going to be sold again.
Stefan Gleason: And so, the idea of charging a sales tax on that transaction is ridiculous, 11 states out of 50 and the District of Columbia will tax that 100% in all situations, whether it be gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. They'll have a sales tax. There's about 10 states that have a sales tax on certain types of transactions involving precious metals and then there are roughly about 30 states that, or 28, I think, that have no tax at all. Five of them don't have a sales tax for anything and then the rest of them specifically have a law, some of which we have helped pass in recent years.
Stefan Gleason: But, many are recent. 20, 22, 23 states that specifically have passed a law that specifically exempts all gold and silver, platinum, palladium coins, bars, and rounds from sales tax. There's about 11 really bad states on that topic and we have bills today that are still live in this current legislative session in four of them.
Stefan Gleason: We had one in Mississippi that unfortunately didn't even get a hearing, but we still have a sales tax repeal in Maine, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and Minnesota. So there's actually five where we still, even this session, have a chance of expanding that list of states that exempt precious metals from the sales tax.
Stefan Gleason: That's one area that the Sound Money Defense League has been focusing on, is promoting these repeals of sales tax on precious metals, and then at the same time defending against repeal attempts... Let me back up. We have states where we're trying to expand the exemption and then there are states where the other side has been trying to rollback those exemptions and in some cases, outright repeal them. And so we've had some serious battles in, for example, Washington State. On at least the last two years, they have attempted to eliminate the exemption for sales tax on precious metals, and we stopped them. And that was actually a pretty big battle. We had a lot of grassroots people involved in that.
Stefan Gleason: On the other hand, we did lose Ohio. So Ohio, as of two years ago, did not have a sales tax on precious metals, and it does now. They repealed it. And there's all kinds of reasons why these things happened. That's a Republican legislature too, which is even more disappointing. But I think part of the problem there was that there was a big scandal about 20 years ago in our industry, and they tried to tie the sales tax exemption that existed to that old scandal involving a local dealer in the state that the state got into some big scheme with, and it blew up.
Stefan Gleason: They called it the exemption, I can't remember the guy's name, but they put his name on the exemption and said, "Let's repeal the so and so exemption." And they were able to do it, and we weren't able to stop them.
Stefan Gleason: But there is interest in reinstituting that exemption. So, we have friends in that legislature that are looking at reintroducing a bill to fix that.
Tom Bodrovics: Excellent. So, Stefan, how does this concept also go against taxpayers when holding metals and then having to report a capital gain, when it was likely just a phantom gain that resulted from the depreciation of the value of the currency that it's measured against?
Stefan Gleason: Right. Yeah, so this is the big scam of inflation. It's why inflation is a tax because, I mean, not only are you losing purchasing power, but when you end up with capital assets that appreciate in value according to the currency that they're being measured in, you end up getting taxed on that, as though you had a gain, but in many cases, it's not a real gain at all. It's a gain, simply, it's a nominal gain that results only from the devaluation of the Federal Reserve Note. Yet the IRS says you had a gain, and you have to pay even more of your assets to them.
Stefan Gleason: That's the injustice, one of the great injustices of our inflationary system, is that it slowly whittles away at people's assets, and then it taxes them in the process. The problem usually begins with the federal level again, because the IRS currently has the position that gold and silver is a collectible. Gold bullion, even a non-rare coin, just a Gold Eagle or a gold bar, it's a collectible. As a collectible, and this is without statutory backing, this position, but as a collectible, it would be taxed at a higher 28% long-term capital gains tax rate federally, whereas a piece of real estate or a bond or a stock only gets taxed at 15%, or 20% if your income's over a certain level.
Stefan Gleason: So, gold and silver is already taxed at a discriminatorily high 28% long-term capital gains tax rate. Now, of course, as we just talked about, that gain isn't necessarily a real gain, but they call it a gain and you pay 28%. Then, the states will typically follow your federal income number. So, you do your federal taxes, and then the states piggyback on that. And so, if you had a gain, an income, if you had income federally, then the state starts with that number and says, "Okay, here is your state income," and then they do their adjustments and then they charge you their tax.
Stefan Gleason: So, if we could get Congressman Mooney's bill passed, which is called the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act, then it would remove gold and silver completely from federal income, and thus remove the income tax from gold and silver, and then states wouldn't have that income included in the number they start calculating your state tax on. That would be step one.
Stefan Gleason: One way of attacking this would be to pass Congressman Mooney's bill, which he reintroduced about two weeks ago. Then, some states have said, "We're going to undo the error happening federally. We're not going to include, or allowed to be included, gold and silver gains as income in state income taxes." Three years ago, we helped the state of Arizona, or our allies in Arizona, pass a bill that took gold and silver income out of the calculation of state income taxes.
Stefan Gleason: So, if you had a federal gain, you subtract it at the state level. And that was tax neutral, just like the federal bill. So, if you had a loss that you deducted federally, then technically, you would have had to add it back to your Arizona income. And, I'm fine with that because, first of all, we're saying gold and silver should be a nonentity, completely, from a tax standpoint, and so, we don't necessarily need a one-sided giveaway.
Stefan Gleason: But on the other hand, most of the time because of this inflationary system, there's going to be gains, because just by going nowhere, they're going to have a gain when priced in Federal Reserve Notes. So, taxpayers will more often than not win with that kind of law, even though they might have to subtract, or I should say, add back their losses if they had deducted them federally.
Tom Bodrovics: Hopefully, we don't ever have to really sell our gold or silver for a loss.
Stefan Gleason: Unlikely to have to sell for much of the loss in this crazy inflationary environment that we're in, a loss from their standpoint anyway. The law passed in Arizona. We had a law in Idaho. We only passed it through one house, so that wasn't enacted, that would have removed gold and silver from the income tax. There is a bill in South Carolina right now that would do this, and we did pass such a bill in Wyoming. Actually, we passed in Wyoming with some help of allies in-state and Campaign for Liberty based in-state. We were able to pass a law that said there shall be no taxes of any kind on gold and silver, no property tax, no sales tax, no income tax, no taxes. And it also acknowledged and reaffirmed that gold and silver is money at the state level, under Article I, Section 10 of the US Constitution. It says that gold and silver is the money of the states. It actually forbids states from using anything but gold and silver as money in making payments, but that's fallen by the wayside, but that's still in the Constitution.
Stefan Gleason: So, Wyoming eliminated all taxes. Sales tax is sort of a main area of battle right now, because especially with the passage ofthe ruling in 2018 of Wayfair versus South Dakota, which essentially imposed a sales tax on the internet, on internet transactions across state lines.
Stefan Gleason: So, now this is something that everyone is having to contend with, every online dealer, wherever you buy gold and silver. If you're in a jurisdiction that has sales tax, then you're going to be charged sales tax. And so, it's become an even more important issue, but income tax is sort of a tier-two issue that we're focused on and a few others down the way from there.
Tom Bodrovics: So Stefan, are there any possibilities, let's say, for somebody to go next door to a state that has more favorable, let's say, tax regime around gold and silver, and then bringing it back across state lines. Are there any examples of that that you know that are, let's say, you don't have to declare necessarily or-
Stefan Gleason: Yeah.
Tom Bodrovics: Do you have to declare all of those?
Stefan Gleason: Okay, so there's sales and use tax. So, sales tax, it's the same thing, essentially, but if a state has a sales tax, they expect individuals to pay a use tax if the person from whom they bought the good didn't charge a sales tax. So, there's actually a place on state income tax returns to say, "Here are the use taxes that I owe, because I didn't pay sales taxes."
Stefan Gleason: Now, that's something tax bureaucrats recognize, that most individual taxpayers aren't going to report that and frankly, most of them aren't even going to know they have to report that. It's not everyone is a CPA, and keeps every receipt and looks and sees if they were charged this tax, "Oh, I owe the tax. Oh." They probably have no idea that gold and silver could be taxed in their state.
Stefan Gleason: The way that sales tax is determined is based on the delivery state. For example, my company, Money Metals Exchange, has a depository in Idaho. So, in Idaho, and there's no sales tax in Idaho. So if somebody is in a state where if we were to ship to them their purchase, we would have to collect and remit sales taxes to their government in their state, they could choose to store it in the depository in Idaho, and it would be lawfully exempt from tax because it was delivered into Idaho, and there's no sales tax on precious metals in Idaho.
Stefan Gleason: One thing that has happened in the states that are surrounded by jurisdictions that have no sales tax, and they're an island that does, people cross state lines, and they go and purchase from a local dealer in the neighboring state, and they bring it back. And that's happening. It does not have to be collected by the seller, they're showing up on his doorstep, in a state where there's no sales tax.
Stefan Gleason: But what's happened, honestly, in these states that have sales taxes, and particularly now, because there's 39 states that have either some or no sales taxes on precious metals, what's happened is the dealers in those states have gone out of business. There are a lot fewer big coin shows in those states, as well.
Stefan Gleason: And so, one of the arguments that we point out to these legislators is that you're losing economic activity that is actually probably reducing your overall revenues, tax revenues. You're losing out, because there's not going to be as many conventions in your state and people are going to go to another state and purchase their precious metals, and your local businesses are going to go out of business. And that's been the case.
Stefan Gleason: In fact, in Louisiana a few years ago, they briefly repealed the sales tax exemption on precious metals and very quickly, some businesses started having big problems. They lost conventions in New Orleans, and so forth. And they quickly repealed it and said, "We made a big mistake. We cost ourselves way more than we thought we were getting."
Stefan Gleason: When you're talking about five to 10% being added to the price of precious metals. It's a big incentive for somebody to figure out a way to store precious metals in a state that doesn't tax or acquire them from a state that doesn't tax and take them back to their state.
Stefan Gleason: We certainly see a lot more, even more interest in our depository than ever because of this developing sales tax situation. And as I mentioned, in Idaho, like many states, there is no sales tax and so, it gets stored in the depository, no tax.
Tom Bodrovics: Yeah, it sounds like there's a lot of intricacies around how all of this works, and that resource on your website is excellent. And I encourage everybody to go look at it. We'll absolutely link to it in the show notes there, as well, Stefan. What does having a state gold and silver bullion depository achieve?
Stefan Gleason: There's one state that has such a system, and it's Texas, and this made the news five or 10 years ago. They created a state depository system and they had independent or private contractors all bid on being the state-chartered depository. And so, it's under the auspices of the state control. So, it's sort of indirectly a part of the state's regime, if you will. It's not state-run, but it's-state overseen, I guess is probably the way.
Stefan Gleason: So, I mean, obviously, that's a tricky issue. On one hand, I think there's benefits. On the other hand, I'm a private business owner, and I don't necessarily want to be competing against a government-supported depository. But the theory on why that's a good idea is that there may be greater protection for such a depository, one that's under the state police powers or the state financial system, directly, or even somewhat indirectly, in the case of a federal aggression, because states have the preeminent position, states themselves, in being a protection, if you will, against a federal confiscation or something like that.
Stefan Gleason: So, theoretically, a state-run depository would be in a better posture if the Fed said, "All gold has to be turned into the federal government." Regulation in Idaho, we are under a regulatory regime with the state Department of Finance, and I think many depositories in their states have some level of regulation, but I don't necessarily think government intertwining with my business would be a good thing and so I'm not really eager to be a state depository, so to speak. But it is a policy that we have on the index because we think that there's some merit to the idea.
Stefan Gleason: And now, one thing that's interesting in Texas, part of the reason that that whole thing was started is because Texas is one of the few states that has a very significant holding of gold bullion. And so, part of the rationale for a state depository system was, why do we want to store this bullion that the state owns for the teacher pension fund, and they have a billion dollars worth of gold, for the Texas teacher pension retirement fund, but it was in the hands of Wall Street.
Stefan Gleason: And they were paying storage fees, of course, which may be less if it was inside of a state chartered depository. I think that's what got the ball rolling in Texas was, "Hey, we got a billion dollars worth of gold. That represents a few million dollars a year in storage fees. We're not real thrilled with the idea." And so, to their credit, the people involved in the pension fund who brought this up and others in the state said, "Hey, we don't necessarily want Texas' government-owned gold, which is supposed to help secure the pensions of our teachers, to be in the hands of Wall Street bankers and bullion banks, which may have rehypothecated it or done something. And besides, it's costing a lot of money to store it there. We could create jobs here in Texas, and store it in Texas." And so, that's what started that.
Stefan Gleason: So, in Tennessee right now, it's likely to pass. It's already passed one of the chambers, the Senate. There's a hearing Wednesday, the 14th. There is a hearing in the House committee in Tennessee on a bill that would commission a task force to research having a Tennessee bullion depository.
Stefan Gleason: It's a valid idea and it's one of the things that we rank in the index.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of that interview and we’ll play the conclusion of this recent appearance by Money Metals president Stefan Gleason in one of our upcoming podcasts.
Well, that will do it for this week. Be sure to check back next Friday for our next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast. Until then this has been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a great weekend everybody.