Illustrator Jess Bachman diagrams Glenn Beck's shady links to Goldline in an accessible infographic. To summarize: Goldine is a sponsor of Beck's TV and radio shows. Beck tells his audience that they should buy gold as a hedge against inflation, but not just any gold. Beck says you should buy antique coins because there's this 1933 executive order that empowers the government to take all your gold except antique gold coins.

Beck tells his audience to go to Goldline and buy whatever they recommend. Serious investors buy bullion coins, which are standardized coin-shaped chunks of gold valued entirely for their metal content. Wouldn't you know it? Goldline is pushing collector coins instead of bullion. The value of these so-called numismatic coins depends heavily on their appeal to collectors, which in turn depends on their aesthetic and historical properties. Guess what? Goldine is selling old gold coins of minimal collector value. If you want to invest in gold, the worst place to keep it is inside a numismatic coin.

More to the point, Goldline is vastly overcharging its customers for these trinkets compared to its competitors. Ripping off your customers isn't necessarily illegal, however. All kinds of stuff is vastly overpriced in this great free market of ours. What did our ancestors fight and die for if not our right to pay through the nose for overpriced crap?

Beck has a conflict of interest regardless. He's using his show to steer his viewers towards a lousy investment. A congressional investigation found that the coins are so overpriced that they're useless as a hedge against inflation. The price of gold would have to nearly triple before the buyers of Goldline's American Eagle coin could even break even. Beck is helping his sponsor fleece his audience.

Click on the graphic to see the full-sized version.


Infographic by The Big Picture