Ye Olde Specie | Idaho silver-based currency bills might have failed, but the 'sound money' movement marches on | Innovation | Boise Weekly
On a sunny Monday in January, Reps. Phil Hart and Lenore Hardy Barrett stood on the Idaho Capitol steps and introduced a crowd of Tea Partiers to two pieces of legislation that would have remade the state's economic landscape.
The Idaho Silver Gem Act, fronted by Hart, an Athol Republican, proposed that Idaho citizens ought to be able to pay their taxes with special medallions or bars struck from silver mined in North Idaho's Silver Valley--part of Hart's home district.
The Idaho Constitutional Tender Act, introduced by Barrett, a Republican from Challis, went even further. It sought to make silver and gold--both in physical coins and electronic ounces drawn from an online exchange--just as valid as Federal Reserve notes for the purchase of everything from groceries to new cars to property.
With similar bills floated in at least seven states, Tea Partiers chanting "end the fed" and the Idaho Republican Party adding "sound money" to its platform in 2008, the gold (or silver) standard may be making a comeback.
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