There’s a story going around about gold bars that plugs of gold have been drilled out and substituted with tungsten. Why tungsten? Because tungsten has a density similar to that of gold. While a gold dealer might spot the substitution if he weighed the bars (the densities are not exact), the average consumer would not. The Bible talks about such shenanigans and shows that it’s a symptom of a corrupt society:
How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water (Isa. 1:21-22).
None of this should surprise us since our government does far worse on a daily basis. If you’re the government, you can print money all day and everyday and pass it off as something of value. Colorfully designed scraps of linen and cotton — the material that makes Federal Reserve Notes — are things of value because the government and the people have faith that they are.
A private citizen cannot perpetuate the same charade by printing money even if it looks just like the money the government prints. What’s sound fiscal policy for the government is counterfeiting for you and me. A politician can get reelected over and over again by manufacturing money out of thin air. You or I would go to jail.
Governments don’t believe they are bound by such moral laws. Remember, we’ve heard for decades now that morality can’t be imposed on other people, so our elected officials oblige us by dispensing with morality. As a result, our money is worth less and less each year because our government is more immoral than the people Isaiah wrote about. At least in Isaiah’s day there was some wine and some silver in what was being sold.
Today, there is no silver or gold in any of our currency. We’re being sold dross — linen and cotton, electronic digits, and base metals — and we’re shocked that our economy teeters on the brink of insolvency.
And what is the government’s solution to the imposed fiscal immorality?: bigger printing presses, more electronic digits, and truck loads of dross. God is not mocked.
If you’re worried about getting dross-laden gold, I suggest that you stick to bullion coins. Pre-1963 US silver coins are a good choice. They are easily recognizable. The same is true of gold American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and South African Krugerrands. The international coins are not as expensive.