By Keith Weiner
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There is strong opposition to any proposal to end the Federal Reserve and move away from its paper dollar. The Fed has many ideological and, of course, crony supporters. So it’s interesting that there was little controversy in Oklahoma around removing one of the obstacles to the use of gold as money. Republican Mary Fallin, the governor of the Sooner State, signed into law legislation that recognizes gold and silver as money. There was bipartisan support, particularly in the state Senate.
Oklahoma doesn’t force anyone to accept gold or silver in payment. It simply exempts them from state sales tax. While sales tax on the metals was probably a minimal source of revenue for the government, it was certainly a major competitive disadvantage to bullion dealers. Price sensitive buyers simply shopped out of state.
Utah has a similar law, which also exempts the monetary metals from capital gains taxes, and Arizona has been trying to pass one. Capital gains tax on the metals is a roadblock preventing their circulation. Although the Oklahoma law is more modest, exempting only sales tax, it’s an important step towards the gold standard.
For a hundred years, nearly every law and decree pertaining to gold was bad. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913. President Roosevelt is infamous for confiscating the gold belonging to the people in 1933. President Nixon is reviled for defaulting on the government’s international gold obligations.
It’s encouraging that Oklahoma is joining the trend to right these wrongs. Their new law is no mere tinkering with the sales tax. It’s about gold and silver as money, and the text of the bill states this clearly. Other states are working on gold bills, including Kansas, Texas, and South Carolina.
The gold standard movement is profoundly important. It’s becoming obvious that the dollar system is unsustainable. Debt is rising out of control, and the benefit of additional borrowing has diminishing returns. For example, companies like Cisco and Autozone are borrowing to buy their own shares, but are not investing in growth. Cisco recently announced another big layoff. Millions of job seekers are left out in the cold, and savers are euthanized.
How are people supposed to feel when they’re marginalized? What are they supposed to think about the endless news stories of our so-called recovery? How should they respond to the rising stock market and booming luxury sales?
They resent it.
We are at a crossroads. The road we’ve been taking for decades seems easier, but it’s paved with debt. This way descends to a bad place of central planning and wealth redistribution. Eating the rich, as Thomas Piketty proposes, helps no one and impoverishes everyone. If there’s any doubt, visit with the latest victims of socialism. Not long ago, the people of Venezuela were middle class. Now they are struggling with desperate shortages of basic consumer goods.
The other path is paved with gold. This way leads to a rediscovery of the founding principle of America. We began with absolute respect for individual rights, including property. The gold standard is just the right of property in the area of money. Everyone has a right to choose what to buy, and what money to use to buy it.
For thousands of years people have chosen gold, when they had that right. People will choose it again if we let them. Oklahoma is leading the charge of this growing American—indeed, worldwide—movement. Their new law is a step in the right direction. Congratulations to my friends in Oklahoma. I hope those who live in other states, and all over the world, will also rejoice in this victory.