Baltimore, Maryland (API) George Hunsacker, a 50-year-old mechanical engineer from Prince George’s County, was getting a root canal one day last November, and recalls that just as he was getting the finishing touches on his enamel polish, his dentist turned to him and politely asked how he would be footing the bill.
The question came as a surprise for Hunsacker, who had hoped to pay through his employer’s insurance plan as he always had. But his dentist suddenly turned belligerent.
“Insurance?” Hunsacker recalls his dentist saying. “Why don’t you just pay me in chickens? Do I look like a friggin’ idiot?”
The dentist then suggested that Hunsacker call his wife and have her raid all the gold in the house, specifically any gold that might have once belonged to a grandparent or that had been passed down as a family heirloom. When Hunsacker said that the only gold was in his daughter’s mouth, his dentist said, “Well you ought to send her over. I’ll get the pliers warmed up.”
All over the country, such stories have become commonplace as America’s dentists increasingly stop accepting insurance, vouchers and the almost worthless U.S. dollar and start demanding instead up-front payment in gold rings, bracelets, pendants, ingots, bars, and scrap. Gold, they say, is the most stable medium of exchange right now–perhaps the only medium of exchange–at a time when the U.S. economy is in a free-falling spiral into the abyss, its fiat currency a laughingstock of the world.
“There’s only one thing that makes a crown in my office, and that’s gold,” jokes Alec Brommelstein, a DDS in Red Bank, New Jersey. “If you don’t have some gold in your house, then I suggest you lay off sweets, because I’m not fixing your god damn teeth anymore.”
Economists are quick to remind U.S. consumers that no paper currency of the world has ever survived, and the U.S. dollar will likely be no exception.
“It’s been propped up for too long by foreign countries using it as a reserve currency,” says economist Ralph J. Exley, a FOREX trader and former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Idaho. “Pretty soon though, the Chinese are going to be asking, ‘What do we need this shit for?’ America’s going down the tubes.”
“Kings have used gold since the days of ancient Egypt in 1500 B.C. to run their countries,” said Jack Angstrom, a dentist in Manhattan, Kansas. “Meanwhile, insurance company payouts have not kept up with inflation. That’s why I’m going to have to go in and rip this little girl’s teeth out without any Novocain. It’s sad, I know, but it’s a fact of life.”
Angstrom then disappeared into a dental suite from which blood-curdling screams emerged moments later. Outside, patients lined up carrying the ductile, malleable and shiny metal in the form of scrap, jewelry and other melted down forms, items often carried in briefcases, on dollies and in baby prams.
Most dentists in recent surveys said that they saw insurance companies as hostile to their business models, with 54% of dentists calling insurance companies “scum bags” and the other 46% calling them “homunculuses with tiny vestigial dicks.”
“The insurance industry has been very good to dentists,” said Simon Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Association of American Insurers. “You can believe me or not. I don’t care. We have a shit load of lobbyists.”
Dentists acknowledge that gold has many drawbacks. It doesn’t pay interest–which represents an opportunity cost–and sits idly while other assets appreciate. There are also costs to hold it. However, Brommelstein says none of this will matter in the end as governments expand the money supply, making the U.S. dollar worthless at the same time global warming turns the world into a Malthusian wasteland where humans are hunted like game animals for sport.
“Insurance is a thing of the past,” he said. “The dollar is the thing of the past. Anything but you giving me the sweet precious luminous metal that is gold is a thing of the past.”
He then turned back to a phone call he was taking.
“If you want me to straighten your god damn son’s teeth for his bar mitzvah, I suggest you bring me some of that sweet, sweet gold,” Brommelstein said into the phone. “Take it off your wife’s god damned finger if you have to.”