On Feb. 17, 2009 — the day Obama signed into law his $787 billion stimulus bill — gold was selling at $970 an ounce. For a mere $600 billion, we could have bought two ounces of gold for every man, woman and child in America, and the value of that investment would today be more than $1 trillion, or $3,514 per capita, a net gain of 81 percent.
Not a bad return on one’s investment, if I say so myself. My second thought, though, was “Is there that much gold in the world?”
Let’s see. Gold is quoted in troy ounces, which run about 31.1 grams apiece. Securing 62.2 grams for each of 310 million people would therefore require 19,282,000 kilograms, or, as the pundits say, 19,282 tonnes.
One research operation asserts that there is “above ground” — we have no idea what’s left to be mined — “somewhere between 120,000 and 140,000 tonnes.” So we’d have to buy up about 15 percent of the world’s supply of gold without (literally in some cases) getting up in someone’s grill. But, theoretically anyway, it could be done.