Saturday, December 28, 2013

Objection: “This Note Is Legal Tender!”

(Crossposted from the Tenth Amendment Center's Constitutional Tender Blog)

In 2009, when Georgia Rep. Bobby Franklin introduced my first version of the Constitutional Tender Act (HB 430) in the Georgia House, we knew it wasn’t just going to be difficult to get passed into law — it was going to be difficult to get any co-sponsors, it was going to bee ord in the Senate…

In short, it was going to be difficult, all around. Why? Because the bill would actually return the State of Georgia to obedience to the U.S. Constitution… and we knew that almost every single legislator there was clueless about what the Constitution actually required, at least when it came to monetary policy.

So, when the bill (which did get one co-sponsor — Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who later won a seat in the State Senate and is now running for U.S. Congress) was assigned to the Banks and Banking Committee, we were happy. Not only was that the right committee, it was a good committee, for a number of reasons… not the least of which was, because the Chairman was a friend of mine for whom I had campaigned when I lived in his district.

I knew he was a staunch limited-government conservative. I knew he took his oath to the Constitution seriously. And I knew he would be willing to at least listen to why this bill was needed. So when I asked him to actually give the bill a chance, he said he’d “do what he could”. And he did — he assigned it to not one, but two subcommittees, and we set to work with a coalition of grassroots activists across the State to pressure at least one of those Chairmen to hold a hearing.

Honestly, we didn’t hold out much hope for that happening. It was late in the session, which made it more unlikely we’d see any action at all. So, when we suddenly got word that there would be a combined subcommittee hearing for the bill — and soon — we were very happy. We quickly organized our supporters, put together our supporting speakers, and made sure we had a great turnout for the hearing.

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of that first hearing was the questions and comments made by the legislators on the subcommittees (and by the speakers in opposition). That experience helped me to draft an improved version of the bill in the next session (HB 3 — since we didn’t get a vote after the first hearing), to cover areas that obviously needed revision. It also helped me to realize that I had actually underestimated the legislators’ lack of understanding of what the Constitution requires when it comes to “legal tender” in the States.

That point was driven home when another State Representative on the committee — again, someone I had dealt with a number of times in the past, whom I knew to be a pretty strong limited-government conservative who often spoke strongly in favor of strict constitutionalism — took out a dollar bill during the hearing, held it up, and asked me point-blank:

“This Federal Reserve Note printed by the United States of America… it’s stamped on here, it says that ‘This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private’… and it has the force of law, correct?”

First, I made a small correction in his statement — Federal Reserve Notes are only technically printed by the United States government (Bureau of Printing and Engraving); they’re printed for the Federal Reserve, which of course is not an agency of that government. Then I responded that yes, it is U.S. law that FRNs are legal tender for all debts, public and private; but I also reminded him that the U.S. government is under the U.S. Constitution, so any “law” that’s passed only has the force of law if it’s Constitutional. (He asked me if it has been found to be unconstitutional by any court, to which I replied, “Not yet.”)
The point which he was trying to make, in the limited amount of time we had, was that Congress had passed a law declaring Federal Reserve Notes to be “legal tender for all debts, public and private,” and so, he believed, States are required to obey that law and use FRNs for all debts owed by and to the State. Therefore, he claimed, the Constitutional Tender Act — which would force the State to once again not “make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”, as required by Article I, Section 10 — was unnecessary, since Georgia was in compliance with federal law.

But the point which I was trying to make in response, in the limited amount of time we had, was that since that section of the Constitution has never been amended in any way, the State was still required to only use gold and silver for all of its debts, regardless of anything that Congress may tell them to do to the contrary — because Congress cannot force States to disobey the Constitution. As noted in our FAQ,
“Laws passed by Congress, such as legal tender laws, cannot contradict the Constitution. Article I, Section 10 states very clearly: ‘No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.’ Therefore, if any State accepts or pays with – in other words, “tenders” – any other ‘Thing’ (such as Federal Reserve Notes) except gold or silver coins, it is in violation of the Constitution. It’s that simple. 
Another thing to consider is that the U.S. Supreme Court itself has stated in Lane County v. Oregon, 74 US 71 (1868), ‘the general words “all debts” were not intended to be taken in a sense absolutely literal… the clause making the United States notes a legal tender for debts has no reference to taxes imposed by state authority, but relates only to debts in the ordinary sense of the word, arising out of simple contracts or contracts by specialty, which include judgments and recognizances.’ It also stated in Hagar v. Reclamation District No. 108, 111 U.S. 701 (1884), ‘The acts of Congress making the notes of the United States a legal tender do not apply to involuntary contributions in the nature of taxes or assessments exacted under state laws, but only to debts in the strict sense of the term; that is, to obligations founded on contracts, express or implied, for the payment of money.’”
Think of it this way: in the same section of the Constitution (Article I, Section 10), it states, “No State shall… coin Money”. Now, imagine that Congress, as a cost-cutting measure (I know, I’m dreaming here), decided to shut down the U.S. Mint, which coins all of our money (under Section 8). They realize that we all still need quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, so they pass a law requiring every State to coin its own money.

Well, then, that means that every State would have to coin money, right? It’s the law!

Wrong. As I tried to explain to that State Representative, any “law” that’s passed by Congress only has the force of law if it’s Constitutional. Article VI, Paragraph 2 states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” So if a law is passed which is not made in pursuance of the clear words of the Constitution, than that “law” is not a “law” at all — as John Marshall, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, said in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), “an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.” Justice Stephen Johnson Field, delivering the opinion of the court in Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425 (1886), wrote, “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the man whose face graces the ten-dollar bill, wrote in The Federalist No. 33, “acts of the large society [that is, the federal government -- WG] which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers… will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.” And Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, stated emphatically in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, “Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

Therefore, if Congress passed a law requiring every State to coin its own money, that “law” would be in direct contradiction to Article I, Section 10: “No State shall… coin Money”; that “law” would not be made in pursuance of the clear words of the Constitution, which is required by Article VI, Paragraph 2; and so that “law” would be “void,” “unauthoritative,” an act of “usurpation,” “not a law,” and “inoperative as though it had never been passed.” In other words, every State would be Constitutionally required to NOT follow that “law,” and ONLY follow the clear instructions of the Constitution itself.

The same would hold true if Congress passed laws requiring States to enter into a Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; emit Bills of Credit; pass Bills of Attainder, ex post facto Laws, or Laws impairing the Obligation of Contracts; or grant Titles of Nobility — because every one of those things is clearly and expressly prohibited for the States in Article I, Section 10… just like coining money.

So then, what about that law, which says that Federal Reserve Notes are “legal tender for all debts, public and private”? Does it mean, as that Georgia legislator implied, that States are required to obey that law and use FRNs for all debts owed by and to the State? And does it mean, as he further implied, that the Constitutional Tender Act was unnecessary, since Georgia was in compliance with federal law?

Obviously, the answer is an emphatic NO. By following that law, like every other State in America, Georgia has made some other “Thing” a ”tender in payment” (that is, they have made something else an offer as payment); they have by law declared that they will accept, and pay out, Federal Reserve Notes for any debts owed to or by them. Therefore Georgia, like every State, is in violation of Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. That is why there is a need for the “Constitutional Tender Act” — a bill template that can be introduced in every State legislature in the nation, returning each of them to adherence to the United States Constitution’s actual “legal tender” provisions.

Hey — why not join us, and take action in your State?

(By the way, “legal tender” laws, along with the Federal Reserve Act itself, very likely are unconstitutional, so States could probably “nullify” those laws as well; but that can be saved for another article.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Planning for AFTER the Federal Reserve's Inevitable Demise

There are several ways to "end the Fed", that is, to finally put an end to the fiscally destructive and economically immoral Federal Reserve System. There are top-down efforts, like Rep. Paul Broun's "End the Fed" and Sen. Rand Paul's "Audit the Fed" bills (both originally Rep. Ron Paul's bills); and there are bottom-up efforts, such as the Constitutional Tender Act. There is also the "long run" approach: due to the very nature of the Fed's destructive and immoral policies, it will eventually implode and collapse under the weight of its own inflationary fiat money system (perhaps a corollary to Keynes' reassurances that "in the long run, we're all dead").

Regardless of how it's accomplished, the eventual demise of the Federal Reserve is inevitable. The question for those who recognize that truth, then, must be: with what monetary system will we replace it? As Ron Paul has repeatedly been asked, "If we get rid of the Fed, what do we put in its place?"

While the most obvious short answer (which Rep. Paul often used) is "Nothing!", we really should discuss what ought to arise in place of the worthless Federal Reserve Notes that everyone uses now. In this article from a year ago, Doug Tjaden (Founder & Executive Director of the Christian Liberty Project) discusses the need for States to implement Constitutional tender laws now, in anticipation of the end of the Fed then.

So They Audit The Fed. Then What?
by Doug Tjaden

Let’s say for the moment that the Senate follows the House’s lead and calls for a full audit of the Federal Reserve. Let’s also dream that President Obama signs it. What are the consequences?

Rumors are, for decades the Federal Reserve has been engaged in the highest form of crony capitalism, big bank favoritism, purchase of politicians, nation building, and the bailout of foreign banks, corporations and governments.  If this is found to be true, it will add to the growing awareness of the Federal Reserve’s other nefarious activities. These include the fact the Fed and its debt-based fiat monetary system is confiscating the wealth of this nation and concentrating it in the hands of a few powerful interests. Not to mention the Fed’s money printing which enables the TSA, NSA, EPA, FDA, NEA, and USDA to unconstitutionally regulate our liberties into oblivion. Indeed, an audit could be the tipping point, generating enough public outcry to finally “end the Fed.”

It begs the question, “What’s next?”

The Federal Reserve Note is the officially recognized currency of the land, having long ago usurped the constitutional dollar as our monetary unit. The Federal Reserve system, like it or not, is responsible for insuring the flow of credit and currency around the nation and the world. Should the decision be made to end the Fed, it would take years to unwind its tentacles from the global economy and to replace Federal Reserve Notes with another currency.

As we call to “repeal and replace” the Federal Reserve System, it might be wise to think ahead and begin building that replacement system now. Unlike Obamacare, there isn’t an existing system which we can fall back on. All fifty states could nullify Obamacare tomorrow and there would be little impact on healthcare. End the Fed tomorrow, and like it or not, the global economy grinds to a halt.

The replacement monetary system that will insure the greatest long term protection of individual liberty is one built on limited regulation and sound money. The former must be dealt with at both the state and national level. The latter must be initiated by the states, and the states must maintain control over it. Centralizing monetary policy has been an abject disaster. The power it wields is too great for any one group of individuals or governmental authorities to handle. Without a broad set of checks and balances, it would fall into abusive hands again.

Seamless integration of a decentralized monetary system built on constitutional tender and controlled by the states is possible. It is what our founders intended. The first step is for states to pass sound money legislation, reinstating gold and silver coin as a tender in payment of debts. We had better begin building the replacement system soon. If you realize it or not, the unstoppable process to end the Fed is already underway as world markets prepare to reject the endless piles of debt-money the Fed is creating. And we are far from ready for it.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chinese Bank introduces gold and silver coin ATMs

One of the objections we often hear to the Constitutional Tender Act is that it would force the States and their citizens to "buy silver and gold coins" and carry them around in their pockets all of the time. The only way to believe this, is if you believe that you have to "buy Federal Reserve Notes" and carry around hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to buy groceries, pay car payments, pay mortgages, etc.

Of course, you don't. You can use your debit card to pay almost anything nowadays. Bank computer programs automatically compute debits and credits; they can even automatically convert the cost of items from foreign currency to domestic currency, based on whatever the current market exchange rate is.

That's exactly what can be done by the banks under the Constitutional Tender Act's conversion formulas, as this story about getting gold and silver coins from ATMs in China proves. The unfortunate part of this story is that it falls into the modern trap of thinking that exchanging one form of currency -- fiat printed money -- for another form of currency -- gold and silver coins -- is the same as "buying gold or silver coins". If you go into a bank and exchange four $5 Federal Reserve Notes for a $20 Federal Reserve Note, did you just "buy an FRN"?

Of course not. If you exchange $25USD (U.S. Dollar) for $1SAE (Silver American Eagle), you aren't buying a once-ounce silver coin, you're exchanging American legal tender currency. And all you're doing at these Chinese ATMs is exchanging ¥268CNY (Chinese Yuan) for ¥10SP (Chinese Silver Panda) or other denominations -- you're not buying one-ounce silver coins, etc.

Regardless, this story once more shows how the ConTen Act could easily be implemented.

People in Beijing can now buy gold or silver coins at ATMs after the Beijing-based Hua Xia Bank introduced five of the machines earlier this month, according to Hong Kong's We Wei Po.

The bank installed the five machines at its branches across the city in Xidan, Fangzhuang, Zhongguancun, Dongdan and on Qingnian Road.

The ATMs look like ordinary teller machines but have an additional compartment to dispense the gold and silver coins. The machines currently offer panda souvenir gold or silver coins and Year of the Snake silver coin and plate sets.

A single 1-oz panda silver coin priced at 268 yuan (US$40) is the cheapest item available, while the panda gold coin set is the most expensive at 23,800 yuan (US$3,800).

Buyers can purchase the coins using their bank cards. After they place their orders using the machine's touchscreen, their payments are verified through bank card organization China UnionPay and they can pick up their purchased items through the opening on the lower part of the machine.

If they want to purchase more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) worth of items, they will first need to place their ID cards on the machine's sensor to verify their identity before the order can be placed, Wen Wei Po said.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Arizona governor vetoes bill making gold, silver legal tender

This is OUTRAGEOUS -- a "Republican" vetoing a bill that (a) would have moved Arizona closer to obeying the U.S Constitution (Article I, Section 10) and (b) would have ended up increasing overall revenue for the State. And why? Because it "would result in lost revenue to the state" and give an "unfair tax advantage" to some businesses that deal in this money.

Gov. Brewer obviously doesn't know anything about (a) the U.S. Constitution or (b) economics.

Oh, and who praised her veto? A leading Democrat, of course.


(Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a measure on Thursday that would have made gold and silver legal tender in the state, saying the legislation could have resulted in lost tax revenue.

The Republican-controlled state legislature voted through the measure last month in a response to what backers said was a lack of confidence in the international monetary system.

The bill called for Arizona to make gold and silver coins and bullion legal tender beginning in mid-2014, joining existing U.S. currency issued by the federal government.

"While I believe the concern over a devalued dollar as a result of an unsustainable federal deficit is justified, I am unable to support this legislation," Brewer, a Republican, said in an open letter to state Senate President Andy Biggs.

Brewer noted that the "administrative and fiscal burdens" for taxpayers and the revenue department "remain vague." She also cited uncertainty over whether the legislation would have required the state to exempt transactions involving collectable coins and bills that were authorized by Congress and could be used as legal tender.

"This would result in lost revenue to the state, while giving businesses that buy and sell collectable coins or currency originally authorized by Congress an unfair tax advantage," she said.

The push to establish gold and silver as currency has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years among some hardline fiscal conservatives, with the backing of groups including the Tea Party movement, American Principles Project and the Gold Standard Institute.

Senator Chester Crandell, a Republican and sponsor of the bill, previously said the ability to use gold and silver in everyday life in the state was still a "work in progress" and that more legislation was needed before it could be viable. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Democratic state Senator Steve Farley, an opponent of the measure who had warned it could create massive problems for businesses and government officials trying to administer what would in effect be a dual monetary system, welcomed the veto.

"I was very pleased the governor showed the common sense to realize this was a terrible move for Arizona that would have caused incredible negative consequences at a government and business level," Farley told Reuters.

Had Brewer signed the measure, Arizona would have become the second state in the nation to establish the precious metals as legal tender. Utah approved such legislation in 2011.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

AZ Bill making gold legal tender sent to Gov. Brewer

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - A bill allowing people to use gold and silver as legal tender is heading to Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.

The GOP-led Senate gave final approval to the bill that could make Arizona the second state in the nation to recognize gold and silver as legal tender. If signed into law by Brewer, the measure would take effect in 2014.

The state Department of Revenue opposed the measure and it passed in the House only after an amendment was added to exempt the department from having to accept gold or silver as tax payments.

The Senate had previously passed Senate Bill 1439, but it was sent back for final approval after the House amendment passed.

The measure reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money amid the declining value of the dollar.

Send a message encouraging Gov. Brewer at to sign this bill into law and help restore sound money in Arizona -- and America!


Sound Money Promotion Act Re-Introduced

Earlier this month, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah introduced S. 768: Sound Money Promotion Act. This legislation seeks to treat gold and silver coins used as legal tender in the same manner as United States currency for taxation purposes.

Under current law, legal tender gold and silver coins are considered to be collectibles for taxation purposes. As such, any gain derived from the sale or exchange of such coins is typically subject to capital gains tax at a rate of 28%. Notably, this is almost double the long term capital gains tax rate of 15% which applies to most other assets such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

The bill seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Code such that gold and silver coins declared legal tender by the Federal Government or any Sate government would not be subject to taxation.

The Federal Government issued legal tender gold coins for circulation before 1933 and legal tender silver coins for circulation before 1964. In more recent times, legal tender gold and silver bullion coins, such as American Gold and Silver Eagles, have been issued. A multitude of numismatic and commemorative gold and silver coins have also been issued with legal tender face values.

At the state level, Utah and Arizona have both approved measures to make gold and silver legal tender in their respective states. More than a dozen other states have introduced or considered similar measures.

In the 112th Congress, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina had introduced the Sound Money Promotion Act on June 28, 2011. The bill died in committee.

The current bill S. 768 was introduced on April 18, 2013 and has been referred to the Senate Finance committee. The two co-sponsors of the bill are Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.


Arizona gold bill moving forward

PHOENIX -- A bill that would make gold and silver legal tender in Arizona has passed both the Arizona Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives.

"All this bill does right now is put into place the language to recognize gold and silver coin as legal tender," said Sen. Chester Crandell, the Heber Republican who authored the bill.

The state Department of Revenue has refused to back the bill, but the Arizona House passed an amendment to the bill ensuring that the Department of Revenue would not have to accept gold and silver as payment. Crandell must approve the amendment before it goes to both houses for a final reading then to Gov. Jan Brewer for signing.

Crandell said the bill would remove the commodities tax currently in place for gold and silver.

"This gives a lot of opportunity for those who would like to use an alternative method of payment," Crandell said.

The current bill only has language in place to add gold and silver as legal forms of currency. It does not include instructions for how merchants would accept payment, though Crandell said it would not necessarily mean that customers would have to lug around gold coins.

"I don’t think we need to go back into the dark ages and everybody has to take their gold coins to the store," Crandell said.

Instead, he said he envisions a system where private companies hold the gold and silver and issue credit or debit cards for people to use.

Arizona Democratic Sen. Steve Farley opposed the bill.

"I’ve looked at some of the charts of the value of gold and silver over time and they are anything but stable," Farley said. "In the 19th century when we had private mints we had counterfeiting problems, depressions, bank runs, and people buying up all the gold coins and cornering the market."


Perry, Some Lawmakers Want State's Gold Back in Texas

Call it the Rick Perry gold rush: The governor wants to bring the state’s gold reserves back from a New York vault to Texas.

And he may have legislative support to do it. Freshman Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, is carrying a bill that would establish the Texas Bullion Depository, a secure state-based bank to house $1 billion worth of gold bars owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, or UTIMCO, and currently stored by the Federal Reserve.

The idea isn’t entirely new. Some Republican members worked on a gold bill last session that was never filed. And gold-standard-backing Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman, has raised repeated concerns about the safety of states' gold supplies.

"If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible," Paul told the Tribune on Thursday. "Texas is better served if it knows exactly where the gold is rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve.”

Bringing Texas' gold home has gained more traction this legislative session because of Perry’s vocal support for it. On conservative radio host Glenn Beck’s show  on Tuesday, the governor said Texas was “in the process” — the legislative process, he later clarified — of “bringing gold that belongs to the state of Texas back into the state.” He argued that the state was at least as capable as the Federal Reserve of safeguarding Texas’ “physical gold.”

“If we own it,” Perry said, “I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not.”

State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said he was familiar with Capriglione's bill but was skeptical that it addresses a legitimate problem facing the state.

“We’ve got plenty of real problems that we’re not going to deal with this session," Burnam said. "Let’s deal with them.”

Capriglione said he was at a Tea Party event in Tarrant County earlier this year where Perry spoke about the state’s gold investments as an economic development tool. Since then, he has been working with Perry’s office on the bill. 

“Something on the scorecards of a lot of these businesses in deciding whether they want to come to Texas is stability and gold as being one of those items,” Capriglione said. “I think it’s been in his consciousness for a while in trying to get some sort of depository in the state of Texas.”

He has also spoken with UTIMCO, which owns the 6,643 gold bars currently housed underground in New York City.

“We’re trying to figure out the right amount of gold to have here in Texas,” Capriglione said. “'We don’t want just the certificates. We want our gold. And if you’re the state of Texas, you should be able to get your gold.”

The United States and many other countries stopped pegging their currencies to the gold standard decades ago. Capriglione said the bill is not about putting Texas on its own gold standard. Rather, a depository would give the state a reputation as being more financially secure in the event of a national or international financial crisis.

“For us to have our own gold, a lot of the runs on the bank and those types of things, they happen because people are worried that there’s nothing there to back it up,” Capriglione said. “So I think this cures a problem before it can happen.”

Physically transporting gold that various state entities own from New York City or other banks to Texas would be impractical from a security and logistics standpoint, Capriglione said. He believes it makes more sense to sell the gold Texas has elsewhere and repurchase it within state lines.
He said he doesn't think the measure would be a significant expense, because the gold bars could be safeguarded in a small area, no bigger than 20 square feet.

Capriglione said he is working on revisions to the bill to address some concerns he has heard. He plans to make sure the bill would not cause the state to change its overall asset portfolio to be more heavily invested in gold. Also, to lower the bill’s costs, he expects to change the language to allow some of the administrative costs of building and running the depository to be handled by the private sector.

Such a bill might not divide lawmakers along strictly party lines. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, called the bill "an interesting concept" but said he would want to learn more about it and talk to "colleagues in the financial industry" before weighing in on its merits.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Trust in Gold, Not Bernanke, as U.S. States Promote Bullion

Distrust of the Federal Reserve and concern that U.S. dollars may become worthless are fueling a push in more than a dozen states to recognize gold and silver coins as legal tender.

Lawmakers in Arizona are poised to follow Utah, which authorized bullion for currency in 2011. Similar bills are advancing in Kansas, South Carolina and other states.

The measures backed by the limited-government Tea Party movement are mostly symbolic -- you still can’t pay for groceries with gold in Utah. They reflect lingering dollar concerns, amplified by the Fed’s unconventional moves in recent years to stabilize the economy, said Loren Gatch, who teaches politics at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“The legislation is about signaling discontent with monetary policy and about what Ben Bernanke is doing,” said Gatch, who studies alternative currencies at the Edmond, Oklahoma-based school. “There is a fear that the government, or Bernanke in particular and the Federal Reserve, is pursuing a policy that will lead to the collapse of the dollar. That’s what is behind it.”

Bernanke has pushed interest rates to near zero since the 18-month recession that began in December 2007. The Fed said in March it would continue buying $85 billion in securities each month in a program known as quantitative easing that has ballooned its assets beyond $3 trillion and is aimed at keeping long-term borrowing costs low to support economic growth.

Tame Inflation

Consumer prices rose just 1.3 percent in February from a year earlier, according to an inflation measure favored by the Fed. That was below the central bank’s 2 percent target and compares with occasional bouts of more-than 10 percent increases in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Bets that inflation would pick up because of economic- stimulus measures helped fuel a 78 percent jump in gold since December 2008. The dollar’s rise to less than 1 percent below a one-year high set in July and monthly increases of about 2 percent or less in the U.S. consumer price index have curbed demand for bullion. Since reaching a record $1,923.70 an ounce in 2011, gold prices have fallen and are near a bear market.

Gold futures for June delivery fell 1.2 percent last week, to $1,575.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York, after touching $1,539.40 April 4, a 10-month low for a most-active contract.

Texas Depository

In Texas, lawmakers are considering a measure supported by Republican Governor Rick Perry to establish the Texas Bullion Depository to store gold bars valued at about $1 billion and held in a New York bank warehouse. The gold is owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Co., or Utimco, which took delivery of 6,643 bars of the precious metal in 2011 amid concern that demand for it would overwhelm supply.

The proposed facility would also accept deposits from the public, and would provide a basis for a payments system in the state in the event of a “systemic dislocation in a national and international financial system,” according to the measure.

Should Texas take such a step, it would offer sovereign backing for deposits and make buying and storing gold easier, said Jim Rickards, senior managing director at Tangent Capital Partners LLC in New York and author of “Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis.” He said the coin measures, while impractical, have symbolic value.

“We are seeing a distinct movement back to a world where gold is considered money,” Rickards said.

Inflation Protection

The measures give “people the option of using money that won’t lose any purchasing power to inflation,” said Rich Danker, economics director at the American Principles Project. The Washington-based public-policy group supports the steps as well as a return to the gold standard, which pegged the dollar’s value to bullion. President Richard Nixon formally ended the convertibility of U.S. currency to the precious metal in 1971.

“People in these states find the idea of having the option to use hard currencies appealing over these policies they have no control over,” Danker said.

The U.S. Constitution bars states from coining money and also forbids them from making anything except gold and silver coin tender for paying debts. Advocates say that opens the door for the states to allow bullion as legal tender. The measure being considered in South Carolina would recognize foreign or domestic minted coins as legal tender.

Utah’s law applies only to U.S.-minted coins, while other states are less clear on whether privately produced coins qualify. Arizona leaves the door open for private coins if they are declared legal by a non-appealable court order.

Tax Breaks

In Utah and some other states, the measures also eliminate state capital gains or other taxes on the coins.

Critics say the state measures are unwieldy. In Arizona, Senator Steve Farley, a Democrat, unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would have recognized as legal tender other state commodities, such as citrus fruit, as well as sunbeams. The amendment was intended to reflect the absurdity of the bill, said the 50-year-old lawmaker from Tucson.

“It is simply grandstanding to get people afraid that somehow President Obama’s agenda is going to drive us into hyperinflation and economic collapse,” Farley said. “We have enough real problems to deal with. I don’t see undercutting our entire financial structure as a priority.”

In Utah, officials haven’t yet figured out how to accept gold and silver for tax payments -- though some residents have asked to pay that way -- or integrate the precious metals into commerce, state Treasurer Richard Ellis said. Lawmakers have established a task-force to study implementing the law and to examine how the state can accept gold and silver, with their fluctuating values, for payment, Ellis said. He’s not optimistic that it will work, he said.

Regulatory Barriers

“People point to Utah and say we are leading the way, but nothing much has happened because regulatory hurdles have gotten in the way,” said Ellis, a Republican. If gold and silver is being used in the state as legal tender, it is probably only in transactions between individuals, he said.

The Utah Precious Metals Association, established after passage of the 2011 law to advocate for the use of gold and silver coins, has about two dozen members enrolled in a two month-old bill-pay service in which their accounts are held in gold, said Lawrence Hilton, the group’s chairman. Hilton envisions a future with an alternative monetary system based on precious metals in which merchants accept silver coin while gold mostly backs electronic transfers.

Gold Producers

The Arizona measure, sponsored by Republicans, won preliminary approval in the House of Representatives April 4 after passing the Senate on a party line vote Feb. 28. Gold is mined in both Arizona and Utah, while Nevada is the largest U.S. producer, according to National Mining Association figures.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Chester Crandell, 66 of Heber, said he is convinced the move is the “logical thing for the state of Arizona to do.”

“I think you look at some of the things that are happening and the amount of money printed by the Federal Reserve and who has control of that money, and I think anybody would be concerned,” Crandell said. “Gold and silver have been around a long time and people are secure with it and we should give them an opportunity to use it.”


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Arizona Gold & Silver "Legal Tender" Act Passes House Committee

We noted earlier that Arizona has introduced a version of the Constitutional Tender Act (the "Legal Tender Act") which was advancing in the Senate; it passed there, and it's advancing now in the Arizona House.

Arizona lawmakers back gold, silver as currency

Arizona lawmakers say the global economy is on the precipice of financial ruin and the U.S. dollar could soon be worth less than the paper used to make it.

These doomsayers are pushing forward legislation that would declare privately minted gold and silver coins legal tender, no different under state law than the U.S. dollar printed by the federal Department of Treasury.

The measure is Arizona's latest jab at the federal government, which prohibits states from minting their own money. It also reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money.

"The public sees the value in it," said Republican Rep. Steve Smith, of Maricopa. "This is the type of currency we have had over the history of mankind."

The bill, which advanced in a 4-2 vote by a House committee Monday, states that gold and silver should be legal currency not subject to tax or regulation as property. The Republican-led Senate gave the bill its blessing in February in a 17-11 partisan vote.

The bill would let people use the precious metals as money as long as businesses agree to take them. If made law, it would take effect in 2014.

Democrats oppose the measure. They say it would be a bureaucratic nightmare because businesses don't have the equipment to determine the value of gold and silver.

"This should be addressed by the Federal Reserve and not by the state," said Democratic Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon, of Green Valley.

Keith Weiner, president of the Gold Standard Institute, which supports gold-backed currencies, said he envisions a system where people can pay for goods and services with debit and credit cards backed by gold and silver.

Paper money is a "recipe for worldwide bankruptcy," Weiner told Arizona lawmakers Monday. "Everybody is going bankrupt on this system so we need a sound and honest money system, such as gold and silver."

In 2011, Utah became the first state in the country to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. Lawmakers in Minnesota, North Carolina, Idaho, South Carolina, Colorado and other states have debated similar laws in recent years.

Many investors have invested their money in precious metals in recent years as a hedge against the declining value of the dollar. When the value of the dollar declines, gold prices rise.

Gold rose $12, nearly 1 percent, to $1,604.60 per ounce on Monday with news of Europe's bailout plan for cash-strapped Cyprus. Silver inched slightly higher, up 2.3 cents to $28.874 per ounce.

The dollar was up against the euro, the currency used by 17 European countries, as well as the Japanese yen and the Canadian dollar in February.

Proponents of the switch to gold and silver argue paper money is too vulnerable to government manipulations. When central banks boost the amount of currency in circulation to drive down interest rates, the value of that currency relative to others can decline.

"It's actually strange to me that we don't have this already," said Republican Rep. David Livingston, of Peoria.

Gold-backed money fell out of favor during World War I because the U.S. and many other countries needed to print more cash to pay for the war. In 1971, President Richard Nixon formally abandoned the gold standard.


If you live in Arizona, you can voice your opinion about SB 1439 by contacting your Arizona Legislators. For their contact information, visit:

Tell your Legislators that this bill is about more than politics - it's about the U.S. Constitution, it's about ARIZONA, and it's about saving the money of the citizens of this State!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Arizona Gold & Silver "Legal Tender" Act Passes Senate Committee

Yet another State has introduced a version of a "Constitutional Tender Act" -- this time, it's Arizona, where the bill (the "Legal Tender Act") basically recognizes that U.S. Minted gold and silver coins ARE legal tender (which, of course, they are, under U.S. law). What that would mean, if this bill becomes law, is that they would NOT be taxed when exchanged for Federal Reserve Notes, since it's nonsensical to tax exchanges of currencies that are legal tender within the same country. (That would be like going to a bank, asking for two five-dollar bills for a ten, and having to pay a 50-cent tax for the exchange!)

While these kinds of bills (like the Utah law passed in 2011) are not "pure" Constitutional Tender Acts, since they only allow for voluntary exchanges of gold and silver coins (rather than requiring the State to use only gold and silver coins in all transactions, as Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution requires), they are still useful steps towards that ultimate goal of getting back to the Constitution and ending the Federal Reserve from the bottom up.

(To be honest, from a pure Constitutional position, this bill is still unconstitutional, because it states:
1-702(A): Legal tender in this state consists of all of the following: 
1. Legal tender authorized by Congress.
That is in violation of Article I, Section 10, which specifically states that "No State shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts". This means that no State can make something besides gold or silver a "tender in payment" (which means they cannot "make something else an offer as payment") for any debts -- regardless of whether Congress calls it "legal tender" or not. But let's not be picky at this moment...)

Arizona's Senate Finance Committee voted 4-3 in favor of this bill, so it now goes to the Senate Rules Committee as the next step on the way to a full vote in the Arizona Senate.

By the way, the reporter who wrote the article linked below got it WRONG, as so many reporters often do when discussing Constitutional Tender Bills. Usually, they make the mistake of saying "such-and-such State wants to print their own currency"; this time, the reporter claims that the State wants to make "privately minted gold and silver coins" legal tender. Oh well, at least WE know what's going on...

If you live in Arizona, scroll down to take action in support of this bill!

Bill before AZ Senate committee called hedge against hyperinflation

February 21, 2013 12:00 am • Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX - Arizonans who fear the federal government will make their folding money worthless may soon be able to substitute privately minted gold and silver coins.

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday took the first steps to making such coins legal tender in Arizona. SB 1439 would give them the same legal status as the bills and coins authorized by Congress.

Nothing in the proposal by Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, would force anyone to actually accept these coins as payment for any debt. Their use would be voluntary.

But proponents said it's only a matter of time before the country suffers hyperinflation, making the greenback worthless.

"We need to have a lifeboat for Arizona so we can construct Plan B," testified Miles Lester.

The measure is crafted in a way intended to get around a provision of the U.S. Constitution that bars states from minting their own coins. But supporters also note it says states cannot "make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts."

That, they contend, permits states to recognize coins minted by others.

Crandell said the ultimate bottom line is a lack of confidence in the dollar - or at least the real value of the dollar, what with the Federal Reserve continuing to print new money.

"I think you can see that all over the country," he said. Countries including China are moving to have their own currencies recognized as an international standard "because the dollar doesn't do what it used to do."

But Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, questioned whether something else was at play. He said a similar Utah law adopted in 2011 was pushed by Old Glory Mint, a company that makes these gold and silver coins.

Beyond that, Farley said while the current financial system has its flaws, the country hasn't had the financial panics that occurred regularly in the 19th century.

"I don't see the need to go back to something that has proven to fail," he said.

But Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said there may be reason to worry.

"We've never had this amount of debt as a country," he said. And Worsley said if people want the right to use silver and gold coins as legal tender, "I'm OK with that."

Sen. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, said she wasn't going to speculate on the soundness of the dollar. But she agreed to go along, saying, "I don't see where it could hurt, either."

One thing the legislation would do is say taxes incurred by people using these coins "shall be paid proportionately in the same legal tender." Crandell said that is designed to ensure that people are paying only what they owe, without fear of losing value based on some artificial exchange rate.


If you live in Arizona, you can voice your opinion about SB 1439 by contacting your Arizona Legislators. For their contact information, visit:

Tell your Legislators that this bill is about more than politics - it's about the U.S. Constitution, it's about ARIZONA, and it's about saving the money of the citizens of this State!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Utah city to vote on bill supporting right to pay with gold coins

By Betsy Schow - Correspondent

HIGHLAND -- Highland residents might someday be able to pay their utility bills in gold or silver. At least that's what Councilman Tim Irwin would like to see happen.

The Highland City Council will vote on two resolutions Tuesday that would give Highland's support to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's policies on public land and the use of gold and silver as legal tender. Irwin drafted both.

"The point is to give support to the governor to bring back sovereignty to Utah," Irwin said. "I'm getting active and concerned with the overreach of the federal government, and I'm doing my part in Highland to protect our freedoms for our grandkids."

He worked together with the Utah Precious Metals Association and Utah Lands Association to craft the resolutions for Highland...

Irwin claimed that proceeds of gold and silver coin minting were once used to pay off the national debt, and if coin usage were encouraged, it could serve as part of a possible debt solution. He hopes Highland's formal support would help the state move ahead in implementing the law's intended purpose -- to create a federally insured depository that would allow individuals to use the worth of the metals more freely. He envisions that if things go well, Highland might follow up with its own ordinance that would allow residents to pay their utility bills with gold and silver...


SD legislators say no to making silver and gold coins ‘legal tender’

Warnings about “hyperinflation” didn’t persuade South Dakota legislators to endorse the use of gold and silver coins on Wednesday.

Rep. Dan Kaiser, R-Aberdeen, had asked the Legislature to declare U.S.-minted gold and silver coins to be “legal tender” that could be used to pay state taxes at their market value.

“Within the borders of South Dakota, for our intra-state commerce, we are going to reserve the right for our citizens to use gold and silver as currency, especially in some case of emergency, if the U.S. dollar is no longer trustworthy as a source of currency,” Kaiser said.

The bill, House Bill 1100, left it optional for private businesses to choose whether to accept gold and silver coins, but said the metallic currency “may be used… in satisfaction of any tax.”

The state Department of Revenue opposed the bill, saying it would cause serious complications for state operations...

Supporters of HB 1100 repeatedly criticized the current U.S. dollar, whose value is maintained by the Federal Reserve rather than tied to a commodity.

“When we have a chairman of the Federal Reserve who contradicts the Constitution by saying that gold is not money… it is time for us to question the Reserve and make up our own laws,” said Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes.

Lederman cast HB 1100 as a minor measure that wouldn’t have much effect — but one that laid the groundwork for future monetary reforms.

“To be honest with you, I think this is just the first step,” he said. “I really would like to see us return to using commodities as the value of the dollar, tying the dollar to the real world, not policies set by the Federal Reserve”...

Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said she had “too many questions and not enough answers” about the proposal, and worried it would force “merchants to be experts in gold and silver.”

Disagreeing, Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, argued that “fiat currency” not tied to the value of a commodity was bound to collapse.

But he ended up in the minority. HB 1100 was killed 9-4.

After the vote, Kaiser, a first-year lawmaker, said he was going to focus on researching the issue to better address criticism next year.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Gold and Silver Legal Tender Law Introduced in Indiana

Posted by

Senate Bill No. 99 has been introduced by State Senators Greg Walker and Jim Banks to free US-issued gold and silver coins from sales, use, and capital gains taxes.

SB-99 will add a new Chapter to the Indiana Code effectively making all taxes on gold and silver coins and transactions a thing of the past. From the bill’s synopsis:
Specifies that gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in Indiana. Provides that a person may not compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government, except as agreed upon by contract. Provides that the sale or other exchange of gold or silver coins issued by the United States government is exempt from state gross retail tax and use tax. Specifies that capital gains incurred on a sale or exchange of gold or silver coins issued by the United States government are not included in adjusted gross income for purposes of the state adjusted gross income tax.
On Monday, January 7 it will be read and referred to Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy where co-author Sen. Walker sits. Should it pass on to the rest of the legislature then on to the governor’s desk and signed, the bill would become law by July 1 and the income tax aspects would be in effect January 1, 2014.

The fiscal impact report estimates that 2% of the US Mint’s gold and silver coins are in Indiana, calculating a $9.4 million loss in state revenue from retail and capital gains taxes. If accurate, that is a nice takeaway for Indianans who choose to transact with what the US Constitution lays out as legal tender under Article I, Section 10 – which reads “No State Shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”

Dr. William Greene, in a paper for the Austrian Scholars Conference, explained how state legal tender laws can be an effective method to ending the fed from the bottom up. In essence, pulling the rug out from under their monopoly control of money:

“Over time, as residents of the State use both Federal Reserve Notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve Notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve Notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the State’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the State – as people in other States carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve Notes for any transactions.”

Utah passed a similar bill, HB-317, in 2011 legalizing Constitutional tender, gold and silver coins issued by the federal government.


If you live in Indiana, contact your state legislator. Let him or her know of your support for SB-99 and that you expect him/her to become a co-sponsor. Click here for contact information.

If you live outside of Indiana, still contact your state legislator. Inform him or her that you hope similar legislation will be introduced in your state. Visit this link for model Constitutional Tender legislation that can be introduced today:

Nick Hankoff is a monthly co-host for Tenther Radio, a member of the TACs national outreach team, and the Chair of the Los Angeles County Repubulican Liberty Caucus.


You can voice your opinion about this bill by contacting your Indiana Legislators. For their contact information, visit:

Virginia coin moves closer to reality

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall fears that a financial apocalypse is coming and only one thing can save the Commonwealth: its own currency.

The idea that Virginia should consider issuing its own money was dismissed as just another quixotic quest by one of the most conservative members of the state legislature when Marshall introduced it three years ago. But it has since gained traction not only in Virginia, but also in states across the country as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy.

This week, the proposal by the Prince William Republican sailed through the House of Delegates with a two-to-one majority.

“This is a serious study about a serious topic,” Marshall said Tuesday. “We’re not completely powerless.”

So far, only Utah has approved a law recognizing nontraditional currency. Four other states have bills pending this year. Marshall said he is unsure of his proposal’s prospects in the Virginia Senate. One Democrat derided it as a descent into “la-la land.”

But the fact that the debate is happening at all reflects a deep-seated distrust in the very foundation of the country’s economic system — the dollar.

Much of the anger is directed at the Federal Reserve, which controls the nation’s supply of money. Since the financial crisis, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to help avert what Chairman Ben S. Bernanke believed could have been the next Great Depression. Critics worry the Fed won’t ever stop.

Marshall believes that the result could resemble the Weimar Republic of Germany after World War I: a worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling government.

And those are only the problems that the Fed might create. Who knows what other threats may be lurking in the shadowy world of cyberattacks, Marshall said. The Fed acknowledged Tuesday that its computer systems were recently compromised, although the problems did not affect critical operations and have since been fixed.

“This is a lifeboat study; what happens if?” Marshall said.


You can voice your opinion about HJ 590 by contacting your Virginia Legislators. For their contact information, visit:

Tell your Delegate that this bill is about more than politics - it's about VIRGINIA, and saving the money of the citizens of this State!