Was 80% of all U.S. dollars in existence created within the "last two months" as of April 16, 2022? No, that's not true: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), the agency within the Department of Treasury responsible for producing U.S. currency notes, told Lead Stories that the claim is false. Additionally, other "evidence" discussed in the claim is based on long-debunked conspiracy theories.
The claim appeared in the caption of an Instagram post on April 16, 2022. Although the image included in the post says that "80% of all U.S. dollars in existence were printed in the last 22 months," the caption, which opens as follows below, reads differently:
Were you aware that 80% of all U.S. Dollars in existence were created out of thin air within the last two months? Research 'The Creature from Jekyll Island' and the 'Secret Meeting of 1913', to truly begin to understand how the United States monetary system as well of the economy of the entire world, has been manipulated and usurped by the creation of the Federal Reserve as well as the removal of the dollar from the 'Gold Standard'.
This is how the post looked on Instagram on April 21, 2022:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Apr 21 14:20;11 2022 UTC)
The Instagram post mentions the value of U.S. dollars further down in the post ("... 20+ TRILLION DOLLARS that America is indebted to ..."). Therefore, Lead Stories interpreted the claim in terms of the dollar value of the currency in existence rather than in terms of the number of currency notes or coins in existence.
Lead Stories reached out to the BEP about the claim. In an email to Lead Stories on April 21, 2022, Lydia Washington, lead public affairs specialist for the BEP Office of External Relations, told us that contrary to the claim, 80% of U.S. currency was not printed in the past two months:
The BEP prints currency based on an annual, consolidated currency order received from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. On average, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints 7 billion notes per year. The production of notes per day varies per facility. However, due to the pandemic and the high demand for currency, the currency order request to BEP for FY 2022 has a range of approximately 6.9 billion to 9.7 billion Federal Reserve notes, valued at $310.6 billion to $356.2 billion. BEP is currently printing less than 28K notes per day, between both facilities. Here are the currency orders for FY 2021 and FY 2020. Note, there is a difference in currency notes printed versus the dollar amount.
Compared to the $2.27 trillion of currency estimated as being in circulation by the Federal Reserve as of April 14, 2022 -- right before the Instagram post was published -- Lead Stories found that $2.23 trillion of currency was estimated as being in circulation as of February 9, 2022, roughly two months before the Instagram post was published. Between the two figures, that was only a difference of $39.8 billion and a 1.78 percent increase.
Lead Stories also reached out to the Federal Reserve for more information and will update this fact check with any relevant response.
The Instagram post referenced "The Creature From Jekyll Island," a 1994 book written by noted conspiracy theorist G. Edward Griffin that describes a meeting between a politician and bankers held on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The ideas from the meeting eventually led to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The book has been criticized for its presentation of the historical meeting.
The Instagram post also repeats a disproven conspiracy theory about the relationship between former President John Kennedy and the Federal Reserve, claiming that when Kennedy attempted to "repeal the Federal Reserve, nationalize our monetary capabilities and absolve the national debt," he was assassinated. Many conspiracy theorists have pointed to Kennedy's signing of Executive Order 11110 as proof of his plan. However, research conducted by G. Thomas Woodward, formerly of the Congressional Research Service, that was published in 1996 explained that the executive order does not substantiate the claim that Kennedy was trying to abolish the Federal Reserve. Woodward wrote:
... E.O. 11110 had nothing to do with United States Notes, and did not affect any section of law referring to them. Second, E.O. 11110 did not anywhere mention any quantity of money; wherever the $4 billion-plus figure came from, it was not E.O. 11110. Third, The President had no authority to issue such an edict. Even utilizing the provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, the most the President could issue without statutory authorization was $3 billion.
Woodward went on to explain the actual purpose of the executive order:
What E.O. 11110 did was to modify previous Executive Order 10289, delegating to the Secretary of the Treasury various powers of the President. To these delegated powers, E.O. 11110 added the power to alter the supply of Silver Certificates in circulation. Executive Order 11110, therefore, did not create any new authority for the Treasury to issue notes; it only affected who could give the order, the Secretary or the President.
Before he was elected president, Kennedy also stressed the importance of keeping the "day-to-day operations of the Federal Reserve removed from political pressures" in his speeches (see here and here).