Accept for value – magic words that solve every financial problem?
You may have heard of one of the magic-word fads that’s going around, the “Accept for Value” response to bills. As you will see, it involves certain very specific formulae to accomplish something that seems to anyone applying common sense to be impossible. As with most of the “magic word” fads, this one will get you in big trouble if you try it. Don’t.
I have had a chance to look at several accept for value videos and sites. They’re a little cagey, and it isn’t clear whether there is one main source and theory or whether there may be variations with slight differences. A lot of times, of course, one person comes up with an idea, and then a lot of people copy it, adding bells and whistles both as sales gimmicks and also to differentiate themselves from the competition. That appears to be the case with the accept for value “movement.” In any event, I’ll discuss them as if they’re one idea – if you encounter something a little different, look for the fundamental
similarities and don’t get too hung up on specific words.
The idea behind “accepting for value” defies common sense. It appears to be based on a belief that everything is free – or “already paid for,” which is the same thing. Naturally, there’s a conspiracy keeping people from knowing this or from using their free resources, and the advocates of acceptance for value are really the only ones who know the trick of how to do it. It involves some special forms and formulas we’ll be discussing.
Before getting deeply into the mechanics and theory of the “accept for value” idea, consider: if you were creating a law that you wanted to apply to everyone, would you write it in secret code that only a few people could understand?
Of course not. Now, not all laws are crystal clear (in fact, really none of them are), but they are designed to be known or knowable to everyone – because otherwise how could you expect people to obey them? And laws are meant to be obeyed, mostly. Whenever someone tells you there are “secret laws” or secret forms or language to use to obtain some publically available thing, you should instantly be
deeply skeptical. It’s almost always a scam.
If everybody had an account, and the money was already there for everyone to get whatever they wanted, wouldn’t it make sense that politicians would LOVE to tell you about it? Some bad-guy bankers
might not want it, since they couldn’t screw you out of money, but most politicians would love to tell you about it.
And if everything is free, why would the bad-guy bankers even want your money? If everything is free, what’s the point of being rich? This theory will only appeal to those who are so desperate they are willing to believe just about anything.
Okay, let’s move on to the way acceptance for value is supposed to be done.
To accept something for value, you apparently have to follow a specific formula.
On your bill, you write “Accepted for Value, Exempt from Levy.”
Then you sign and date it, and write “pay to the order of” your name in all capital letters, and put your
Social Security number down twice – once with dashes, and once without.
In some variations, apparently you’re supposed to make some reference to the US Treasury or the IRS,
a thing they very much do not appreciate – they’ve put out circulars referring to laws that make it illegal
and calling the whole thing fraud. It’s not clear whether anyone has ever gone to jail for trying the scheme, but it seems pretty risky to make any reference to government entities. Any suggestion that they will be the ones paying would be flirting with trouble for sure.
It would appear that the form used is intended to call to mind the form of a check, with your social security number being the account number. I believe one Youtuber said that was the idea, and that’s consistent with the main theory behind this idea, which is that when anyone is born, the government (or federal reserve, or whatever) creates a bank account in your name. In some videos, they say to send the bill with the stuff written on it to some government agency, in some they don’t mention this, but regardless, when you do what you’re supposed to do, the debt is discharged. It’s paid by the government!
One Youtuber compared it to playing a game of Monopoly where each player starts off with a certain amount of money as part of the game. It’s automatically created and given to you when you join the game. Your using the magic formula is the way you access your game money.
The problem is, this is not a game, and the real world does not work that way. You don’t start off with money, and things are not free.
When I make things for people to use, it takes effort, and I want to get paid for that effort. When you go to work, you want to get paid. Can you imagine the outrage you would feel if, at the end of the week,
your boss simply handed you a slip saying that your work had been accepted for value?
A company doing that would soon be out of business.
If you start returning bills with “accepted for value” written on them instead of including payment, you may find yourself out of business as well. This is such basic common sense, and so plainly obvious,
that it takes a lot of theory to gloss it over. And the accept for value idea has a lot of theory.
The problem is, the theory doesn’t work.
It all goes back, they say, to House Joint Resolution 192, June 5, 1933, Public Law 73-10, the law that “stole the people’s gold” – but made up for it by making everything free. As one person put it, “Your house is already paid for; your car is already paid for. You just don’t know it.”
It is true that Joint Resolution 192 has a sordid history, but nothing quite so lame-brained as that.
Joint Resolution 192 goes back to the early 1920s and the aftermath of World War I. One thing about war is it is very expensive and tremendously destructive, right? Prior to World War I, most governments
in the world were on a gold standard, meaning that if one country bought more stuff from another country, they settled the difference by paying gold.
During World War I, the governments ran out of gold, though, and started paying with their currencies. These, too, were theoretically backed by gold, and in 1920, if you wanted, you could go to the bank and exchange a dollar bill for a specific fraction of an ounce of gold. At the end of World War I, however, the governments owed large debts to businesses and other governments. They didn’t really want to pay them, of course, because who wants to pay a debt?
What governments can do about that is print more money.
If I owe you a dollar but have a good printing press, I can just print up a new dollar to give you. Costs me practically nothing, right?
Well, Germany did that in 1920 in order to pay some of the reparations it owed for World War I, and the value of a German mark went from maybe 2 per dollar to over a billion per dollar and that was just before they stopped counting. It was cheaper to burn paper money than it was to buy logs for heat.
That was pretty extreme, but all the governments of the world, just about, had some lesser variation of the problem, and they were all printing up money as fast as they could go.
Creditors don’t like lending money that is worth a lot and getting back money (in debt repayment) that is worth much less, so they began putting what were called “gold clauses” in their contracts. These attached the amount of money being lent to a more objective standard, the price of gold (for example). So they might say, “in exchange for $25,000, which is currently the equivalent of 50 ounces of gold, borrower agrees to make 100 payments of the equivalent of ½ ounce of gold” (along with other terms, of course). That way, the lender would get back the same value it had lent.
In a way it was fair, right? To make you pay back the same value as you had borrowed? But the problem was that so many people, and governments, couldn’t do that. So they passed a series of laws forbidding that (called the “gold clause abrogation laws”). Some of the laws prohibited equating debts to amounts of gold and required that they be named only in the local legal tender; other laws made sure that payment could always be made in that legal tender and that nothing else could be required.
You might say it was a huge rip off because it allowed debtors to pay big debts with little value and prevented creditors from protecting themselves.
House Joint Resolution 192 was a gold clause.
Put another way, it was a “legal tender” law which made all debts payable with bank notes rather than gold, and required that they be denominated in dollars rather than expressed as something else. It also underlined the relatively new legal reality that “federal reserve notes” were legal tender (but that’s a story for a different day).
It was indeed a (good) break for people who owed money, and a very bad break for creditors
who knew about inflation and had taken steps to protect themselves from it.
But it didn’t make anything free for anybody.
That’s the fraud the acceptance for value people have added to an interesting story. Don’t fall for it, and be assured that no judge ever will. Using the accepted for value argument will bring you only disaster and loss.