Cash for Gold

As much as I’d love to break down the excellent hockey game from New Jersey last night, I’ve decided to reach outside my comfort zone and discuss, of all things, politics.  See I was driving into work this morning and during a commercial break in my usual sports talk accompaniment I was scanning through stations and caught wind of this new currency bill that passed through the State House of Delegates.  Now, I’m certainly no economist and rarely delve into political issues, but something about this idea just sounded wacky to me.

If you haven’t heard, basically there is a fear among some of the more conservative members that the Federal Reserve is no longer trustworthy in its control of the country’s monetary policy.  In this fear, they seek to establish an independent Virginia currency, once again backed by the gold standard.  Something about that just doesn’t sound right.  The Constitution does not allow states to print their own money; however, supporters of this proposal led by Prince William Republican Bob Marshall believe the Constitution does allow for states to mint silver and gold coins.  Just to reiterate, supporters of this idea want to move to independent Virginia coins backed by gold and silver…

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this is crazy, as I said I’m no economist.  Please, by all means have at me in the comments below.  If I’m way out of line, I’d like to know.  There’s just something about this idea that has me shaking my head.  Maybe it’s the fact that Virginia hasn’t used its own currency since the Civil War, but the idea just seems archaic to me.

Maybe I’m missing something, as this idea does seem to have its supporters, many of whom are probably much smarter than me; but, some who certainly aren’t: Montana state representative, Republican Jerry O’Neill requested that his state salary be paid in gold and silver coins last year.  Even Marshall has opined that in the future, the US could resemble post WWI Germany with a, “worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation, and a crumbling government.”  Really?  Is this really where we’re heading?  I find it hard to believe.

Maybe it’s just I’m afraid of change, I don’t know; but, this idea just seems crazy to me.  Or maybe I’m just put off by Bob Marshall.  This guy is one of the most conservative members of Virginia’s legislature and has apparently made his name by proposing highly conservative bills solely for the purpose of advancing his own political goals.  Essentially, it seems he delights in advancing controversial legislation to build up his own name and rep as he vies for higher offices.  For example, he’s also sponsoring a bill to ban homosexuals from serving in Virginia’s National Guard.  Even if he’s right about everything surrounding the country’s economy and the need for independent currency, but he just doesn’t seem trustworthy to me.

As I said, maybe I’m way off base here…usually why I’m not going to post too many of these.  But this plan just seems backward.  The way to cure the economy is for states to begin producing gold backed coins?  Add to the fact that this just doesn’t seem like the type of guy we should be taking our policy cues from and it sums up to a really bad idea.  All the more reason why I was a little alarmed to see a 3-2 vote in favor of it in the Virginia House and now awaits tiebreak vote by the Lt. Gov. in the state Senate.  I get that the actual bill is for the establishment of a group to study the creation of such currency, but with such popularity among the state’s lawmakers, the potential for further legislation on the subject seems startlingly high.  And the whole idea is somewhat alarming to me. 

If I’m wrong, have at me.  I’m all ears…