The Commonwealth of Virginia would begin minting its own gold and silver coins as an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar under a bill that Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) says he will file in coming days.
Marshall will ask the General Assembly to consider the idea when it convenes for its annual legislative session Jan. 12. It is a companion bill to a proposal he has already filed to establish a study committee to examine alternative currencies to that distributed by the Federal Reserve System "in the event of a major breakdown of the Federal Reserve System."
Marshall said his intention is to inject competition into the national economy and force the federal government to change monetary policy he believes is leading to hyperinflation. According to his bill, "many widely recognized experts predict the inevitable destruction of the Federal Reserve System's currency through hyperinflation in the foreseeable future." His critique mirrors that of the Tea Party movement, some of whose members have called for the end of the Federal Reserve system.
"State legislatures have to get a little more creative and savvy to counter the buffoonery that's been plaguing Washington," Marshall said in an interview.
Asked what he might say to people who believe the proposal is, well, a little wacky (after all, the last time Virginia used currency other than the U.S. dollar was during the Civil War), Marshall said he believes the Constitution allows for alternative currencies.
"The only people who would say that are people who don't understand or reject the clear language of the Constitution, of the law and of court decisions," he said. "We want to provide competition and some restraint on the profligates that have been running the Federal Reserve and the people in Congress who don't know the word 'no.' "
Marshall is one of the most conservative and controversial members of the Virginia legislature. He delights in proposing legislation that helps him advance his conservative philosophy and is considering running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
But Marshall's bills aren't always embraced by the rest of the legislature, even his fellow Republicans. He is also sponsoring legislation this year to bar gays and lesbians from serving in the Virginia National Guard.
By Rosalind S. Helderman | January 5, 2011; 4:42 PM ET
Imagine paying your next parking ticket in gold Krugerrands or renewing your driver license using American Gold Eagles.
A proposal in the Utah Legislature would require the state to allow just that, requiring government agencies to accept gold for transactions, and creating a parallel monetary policy for intrastate commerce tied to the price of gold.
Under the legislation that has been drafted, Utah residents could mint their own gold or silver coins, a storehouse would be created to stockpile the precious metal and the Utah Defense Force, an arcane state militia that may be called and armed by the governor, would be responsible for securing the inventories.
“I think it has merit,” said Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, who had the proposal brought to him by a constituent and committed to opening a bill file. Another representative will probably end up sponsoring the legislation.
“Fundamentally, what it comes down to is people’s concern about the fundamentally reckless policies at the federal reserve and what it does long-term to the financial standing of the country and giving folks another choice of monetary tools for their financial transactions,” Dougall said.