200 men against 1,500 enemy troops.
They were never going to win. They fought anyway. Everyone died. It’s a story that most Americans are vaguely aware of, but the tale of the Alamo is seared into the heart of every Texan.
In losing the battle in such heroic fashion, the defenders rallied others to the cause, helping the Tejanos defeat the Mexican army in 1836. Like that, the country of Texas was born. Nine years later, the young nation joined the United States, and became the only state to join the union by treaty.
These few facts provide a sense of how many Texans (including my wife) view the world.
Defend the home. Defend the community. Stick together.
As I’ve noted many times, I rarely see Floridians wearing t-shirts with the state flag, but every Texan I’ve ever met has a Texas flag t-shirt in his drawer. They want everyone to know where they come from.
Texans are also very welcoming… unless you try to impose new rules or views on them.
If people move to Texas and find something they don’t like, that’s fine. They’re free to leave. Even though they love their country, Texans fiercely hold on to their independence, both personally and as a state.
This goes a long way in explaining their latest endeavor – building their own gold depository.
The University of Texas endowment is worth $24 billion, and is run by the University of Texas Investment Management Co (UTIMCO). During the financial crisis, UTIMCO built a huge gold position, eventually amassing about $1 billion.
There are lots of ways to own gold, but most of them involve nothing more than a claim on a piece of paper. Apparently the UTIMCO officials weren’t comfortable with that arrangement. So, they did something unusual.
They took delivery of their gold. All 6,643 ounces of it.
The problem with delivering gold is that you have to find a place to store it. Putting a few ounces in your sock drawer, or holding a dozen or so ounces in a safe deposit box, is all well and good. But where do you put over 6,000 one-ounce bars?
Where everyone else does: in New York.
That idea didn’t sit well with the Texans. The point of physical gold is to set it aside for any problems that might arise in a financial crisis. Having the actual metal on hand establishes clear ownership. Having it sort of on hand, 2,000 miles away, controlled by a bunch of bankers who caused the financial crisis in the first place, just seemed wrong.
So they did what anyone would do. They set about building their own gold depository.
If things go well, the physical location could be up and running within a year. The plan is to open up the depository to all Texans, not just the University investment fund. And it won’t be just a storage facility. The state legislature authorized a bullion depository that can receive and send fund transfers.
Suddenly, the Texas Bullion Depository looks a lot like a bank, with deposits backed by gold, which takes their independent streak to a whole new level. Apparently they aren’t just mad about paying banks in New York to store their gold. They’re mad at the whole darn system!
If Texas succeeds in setting up a metals-based bank, they will create one of the highest-profile alternatives to the traditional, fiat money banking system that we use today.
Yes, Bitcoin is once again riding high. But the digital money system suffers from one of the same weaknesses that plagues fiat cash – at the end of the day, there’s nothing behind it.
But Bitcoin and the Texas Bullion Depository do address one of the biggest problems in our current system. It’s open to manipulation by the government and central bank any time they feel like tinkering with it.
Government bureaucrats sitting in Washington (and areas across the country at regional Fed banks) can decide to take value from our hard-earned dollars and savings whenever they deem it appropriate.
When it comes to the Fed, we have absolutely zero control. We can’t fire them or vote them out. We work for our money, risk our capital on investments, pay our taxes, and yet are still beholden to a small group of people that can impair our personal wealth in the name of a greater good.
Some people like this. They believe the government should control the wealth of the country, pulling different levers to promote growth, inflation, or whatever else they think could be beneficial to the nation as a whole.
This implies that government officials know better than individuals how to use their funds, and that, if we would simply give the centralized government more control, they could solve our economic problems.
I don’t think many of these people are from Texas.
In keeping with their independent nature, Texans prefer a small government and localized control, allowing people to keep as much of what they earn as possible, making their own decisions about their wealth.
I think I’ve heard that before. It sounds a lot like the arguments made by another group who fought for their independence and drew up a document in Philadelphia to that end.
I hope the Texas Bullion Depository succeeds. In addition to being a great example of Texas, I think it’s a fine example of being American.
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