ACTUALLY, Roosevelt paid $20.67/oz, and then immediately reset the value to $35/oz. At the time, people knew how things were supposed to work (this was before the behind-the-scenes US corporate bankruptcy) and the government simply couldn't print more money without having more gold reserves. (Nixon put the final nail in that coffin in '73.) By immediately declaring out of hand that gold was NOW worth $35/oz, Roosevelt gained the ability to print more money. This was the precursor to QE1, QE2, QE3, QE-infinity that we have now. At the time, Roosevelt essentially increased the US monetary capability by ~70% with the stroke of a pen. Now, Bernake just prints more money and "lends" us our own money for interest in a huge downward spiral!