Well it goes back to the original Founding Fathers and the meaning of the word "dollar". "Dollar" is actually a weight measure of silver, 371.25 grains, to be exact. Our American silver dollars are actually heavier, since other metals were added for durability. But that 371.25 grains of silver WAS the dollar, matching in weight an unbroken chain of accepted monetary units that reached back through the Spanish Milled Dollar, the Dutch Daller, back to the German Thaler; the product of a silver mine which sold its product in coins of an exact weight. The Coinage Act of 1792 defined our dollar to exactly match in weight the silver dollars in use around the world, and then defined the gold dollar to be that amount of gold which would equal the worth of silver in a silver dollar, 24.75 grains, 1/15 the weight of the silver in a silver dollar.
So, what's wrong with this? Nothing really. When you, as a citizen, hold a silver dollar or a gold dollar in your hand, you hold that actual worth of metal. Nothing the government can do can change the worth of the money in your control.
Take the Roman Silver Denarius pictured above. The Roman Empire is long gone, but the money that Rome issued still has worth because the coins themselves had inherent worth. Long after the collapse of the empire, Roman silver coins were still used as money, because the silver in the coin itself did not depend on the issuing government for its worth.
Of course, carrying around too much coin can be bothersome, so many nations, including our own, issued paper notes as a convenience. But that paper currency of the nation was just a convenience. The gold and silver certificates were merely "claim checks" for the equivalent weight of gold or silver held in the treasury, and which would be produced on demand when the certificate was presented. But in the end, the lawful dollar of the United States was 371.25 grains of silver, or 24.75 grains of gold.
The problem with this system from the point of view of the government or the banks is that it limits the amount of money they can work with. When the bank runs out of silver or gold (or the equivalent certificates) it can no longer lend any more money with which to earn interest. When the government runs out of gold or silver (or the equivalent certificates) it can no longer spend money (just like the rest of us).
The immediate effect of ending the gold standard was that with the paper dollar no longer legally dependent on 371.25 grains of silver or 24.75 grains of gold, more paper dollars (now called "Federal Reserve Notes") could be printed, their actual worth no longer under the control of the citizens but under the control of the issuing central bank, based on the total number of dollars printed (or created as credit lines) divided by the estimated worth of the nation's assets. The more dollars which are created out of thin air, the less each one is worth.
The swindle of the system is simple. The Federal Reserve Bank hires the US Treasury to print up some money. The Federal Reserve only actually pays the treasury for the cost of the printing, they do NOT pay $1 for each 1$ printed. But the Federal Reserve turns around and loans out that money (or credit line) to banks at full face value, those banks which have exhausted their deposits then loan that Federal Reserve fiat money to you, and you must repay it in the full dollar value (plus interest) in work product, even though the Federal Reserve printed that money for pennies, or created it out of thin air in a computer.
As the Federal Reserve overprints more money, the money supply inflates, and too much money starts chasing too few goods and services, which means prices go up. But contrary to the charade put on by the Federal Reserve, inflation doesn't just come and go due to some arcane sorcery. The Federal Reserve can halt inflation any time it wants to by simply shutting down those printing presses. It therefore follows that both inflation and recession are fully under the control of the Federal Reserve. This means the cycle of inflation and recession is an intentional one; a gigantic heartbeat that pumps paper certificates out to the working class, while pumping real wealth in to the owners of the banks. - by Michael Rivero