It’s an old idea being revisited by at least one incoming legislator, state Rep.-elect Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) who has made news with his pre-filed bills to remove restrictions from carrying concealed weapons in the state. He says Georgia should consider setting up its own currency system, a mantra of libertarian Ron Paul whom Gregory supported for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gregory follows in the steps of the late Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta), arguably the most conservative member of the General Assembly during his long tenure. In the 2011 session, he introduced a bill proposing to set up a Georgia currency system based on gold and silver coins. Franklin died in July 2011. His bill, like many others he sponsored, never reached the floor of the House, effectively killed by the leadership.
In recent years legislators in a dozen states ranging from Minnesota and Iowa to Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia have taken up the cause of state currencies, CNN Money has reported. It’s seen as a way to avoid “hyperinflation, depression or other economic calamity related to the breakdown of the Federal Reserve System,” in the language of a 2011 bill introduced in the North Carolina legislature.
Utah actually enacted a bill in 2011 recognizing U.S. Mint gold and silver coins as legal tender in the state and mandating a legislative study of an “alternative form of legal tender.” Not much has come of that. A source close to Gov. Gary Herbert said after he signed the bill there “would be some major constitutional issues” with the alternative currency idea.
Now U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) has assumed the mantle of the retired Ron Paul, longtime Texas congressman. Broun this week introduced a measure to return America to the gold standard, same as Paul did time and again. Reverting to the gold standard would base currency on the U.S. gold stocks.
Newt Gingrich in his run for the GOP presidential nomination promised to appoint a new commission on gold, taking his cue from Ronald Reagan. Gingrich said, “Part of our approach ought to be to re-establish something Ronald Reagan did ... and that is to have a commission on gold to look at the whole concept of how do we get back to hard money.” Gingrich figured it would take 15 to 20 years to undo all the “paper, debt and leverage” in the Federal Reserve system.
Gingrich “did not promise to support a gold standard, only to appoint a commission,” the New York Times observed in January 2012, suggesting there would be “little chance of a move to gold” even if Gingrich won the presidency. Reagan’s gold commission did fulfill a 1980 GOP platform promise but otherwise the president “showed no inclination to buck the collected wisdom of most economists,” said the Times.
Likewise, don’t expect the Republican leaders in the Georgia General Assembly to show an inclination to set up a state currency system.