Opinion Columns & Blogs

One billion in gold bullion?

Special to The Telegraph


“The more he talked of his honor the faster we counted our spoons.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Cynic. “A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.”

The American Heritage Dictionary Second College Edition

A man told me…let me just quote him: “John Deere will stand behind all the farm equipment they manufacture except their manure spreader.”

Certainly there’s lots of stuff — untrue and often absurd — being spread today. Whether there’s more than in times past, I am not certain, but it’s so much easier to spread (technology) and so many more spreaders. And, I believe that lots of people believe because it’s what they want to believe and they want to spread it as the truth even when they really doubt it is true. Sad and dangerous.

With all this in mind, when my neighbor, Tom Welsh, told me about a huge gold bullion buy by the University of Texas, not only was I astounded, but I was also a little skeptical. Now, I didn’t doubt Tom one whit. I know his absolute integrity and his keen intelligence, so I asked of him whether he thought what he had told me was true or was it just some kind of “urban legend.” In typical Tom Welsh fashion, he obtained verifying information references and brought them to me. This is what I found out.

Let’s see what “Politifact” reported on June 12, 2015 and specifically what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reported in a press release: A Texas law, he said, “will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas.” The article went ahead to report that the University of Texas Investment Management Company paid to store its 6,643 gold bars — worth around $1 billion — in what he calls “the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank in New York.”

Then, from CBS News, June 17, 2015, with Tom’s help, we found this quote from Texas State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione: “…But when I first announced this, I got so many emails and phone calls from people literally all over the world who said they want to store their gold…in a Texas depository. People have this image of Texas as big and powerful…so for a lot of people, this is exactly where they want to go with their gold.”

And, lastly is this from the Star-Telegram under the headline, “Gold depository could soon be on its way to Texas”: Under the new Texas law, the comptroller’s office is working to create the state’s first bullion depository — which could hold deposits of gold and other precious metals…storage fees will be charged…. For instance, Texas pays about $1 million a year to store its gold in New York…”

Has the University of Texas recently purchased $1 billion of gold bullion? I don’t know, but I do know it seems more logical now, to me, than when Tom mentioned it to me a few days ago. And, I do know that there are lots of people today, possibly some are your neighbors and friends, who are buying and stockpiling gold bullion and in many cases guns and ammunition. That speaks of a lack of confidence in our country’s institutions and most specifically in our financial institutions and in our government.

I know that it used to be that about the most dangerous thing you could say to many people was that they were not telling the truth. It was so inflammatory, and I hate to use the word, that if you called someone a “liar,” you often times would be putting your own well-being or even your life in danger. Has shading the truth or spreading untruths become so common that the gravity of questioning another’s integrity is different from what it used to be?

I do not want to become a cynic. I choose to believe that most people are good and want to do the right thing. If it gets to the place where you have to constantly “count your spoons” with most everyone with whom you deal, then we’ve lost it. We’ve lost it and we might not be able to get it back.

Pray for our president. Pray for our country. I think that’s better than stacking up gold and ammunition.

By the way, one of my favorite sayings is: “For every complex problem there is a simple answer — and it’s wrong!”

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.