I am not one who looks at our current monetary system and believes that changes must revert back to a standard based on precious metals. I understand that such a standard requires government intervention by controlling the prices of the metals in order to create a monetary standard that does not allow for growth and expansion. History shows that the attempt to control the prices of precious metals while trying to maintain economic growth has not worked. We can look at the Coin Act of 1873, also known as the Crime of 1873, for manipulating silver out of the monetary system and creating a series of recessions and depressions because of the lack of real growth.

On the other end, taking the U.S. off the gold standard in 1933 was the first step in expansion of the U.S. economy. The final step in economic growth was fully breaking the dollar’s tie to gold while allowing the price of gold and the U.S. dollar to trade freely on open markets. Even though the United States experienced a concept call stagflation in the 1970s, the strength of the U.S. dollar was growing around the world. It was during this time that many economies were basing their own currencies on dollars to where some countries use dollars instead of their local currency.

After many years of seeing the dollar take over economies all over the world, the European Union joined to form a common currency in order to offer an alternative to the U.S. dollar. When the Euro was launched in 1999, the two European economic powers went in different directions. Germany, which has a significant manufacturing and technology base, joined the Euro while Great Britain, worrying about its sovereignty because it could not control its currency, kept its currency based on the Pound. Today, the Euro is having problems with the economic programs throughout Europe (Greece, Ireland, and Portugal with Spain not far behind) and Great Britain able to weather their own storm, albeit not without protest. Talk about replacing the Dollar with the Euro as the benchmark currency have subsided.

The issue of sovereignty becomes an interesting question with a joint resolution introduced to the Virginia House of Delegates. House Joint Resolution No. 557, introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas 13th district), to “[Establish] a joint subcommittee to study whether the Commonwealth should adopt a currency to serve as an alternative to the currency distributed by the Federal Reserve System in the event of a major breakdown of the Federal Reserve System.”

As with many bills on both the federal and state level, the bill begins with paragraphs what begin “Whereas….” For this joint resolution, it claims authority by cherry picking rulings from 19th century rulings made during the height of the Robber Barron era before the introduction of the various Anti-Trust Acts to justify the assumptions. They also cherry pick statements from the United States Code (U.S.C.) that take the statements out of context in order to pervert their meanings.

The “Whereas…” section also claims that “many widely recognized experts predict the inevitable destruction of the Federal Reserve System&rsuqo;s currency through hyperinflation in the foreseeable future.” Who are these experts?

If the resolution passes, it directs that a joint committee will be created to study whether the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Bureau of Financial Institutions can and should coin its own money for use within the Commonwealth should the Federal Reserve or other sources collapse. The committee is supposed to report its findings by the first day of the 2012 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

After living in the Washington, DC area for almost 20 years and having jobs that worked with the federal government, I have seen my share of wingnuts from both sides of the aisle. But I have come to learn that the extremes on either side is aptly described as extreme. The extreme nature of this resolution ignores Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution that says “No State shall… coin Money.”

While the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Mint has its issues regarding the policies of the manufacture and distribution of money (remember the Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints the currency), proposing to violate the constitution is unconscionable. Besides, if it ever gets to the point that the Federal Reserve fails, Virginia coining their own money may be the least of our problems.

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