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Lawmaker Asks to Be Paid in Gold

A Montana state lawmaker is asking that he be paid in gold coins because of his lack of faith in the U.S. dollar amid a rising deficit.

Jerry O’Neil, a Republican just reelected in his northern Montana district, says his constituents told him he was not honoring his duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which O’Neil and Gold Standard supporters say requires the government to print money backed by gold.

“I believe that if you take a look at the Constitution, that’s what it says,” he told POLITICO. “I think we’ve gotten a tremendously long way from it.”

So he wrote a letter to the state Legislature asking to be paid his public salary in gold and stating: “It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value.”


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So many problems with this one. Unfortunately, because

education is so lacking on this topic, using the wrong arguments is bound to happen.

And when people lose using the wrong arguments, then others think the core of the point is lost, when it was really the wrong argument that lost.

#1 - There is nothing wrong with the U.S. Dollar. It is as strong as ever. The problem is, we aren't using it. This legislator was not due to be paid in dollars. Sure, his check would be denominated as such, but the bank was not going to give him dollars. They were going to give him Federal Reserve Notes with the word "dollar" printed on them.

#2 - The Constitution does not require the government to print paper backed by gold. It doesn't even allow for the printing of currency at all. It says Congress has the power to COIN money. And it says the STATES can't make anything but Gold and Silver COIN a tender in the payment of debt. The Framers even debated if they should explicitly prohibit Congress from issuing "bills of credit" —aka, currency, and they opted not to because they feared even mentioning it might cause some to think they could form a loophole and Congress would have the power anyway. The Framers were well experienced with the dangers of paper currency, backed or unbacked. It was a disaster. That is why they wrote in that only COIN shall be used and that is shall only be Gold and Silver COIN that is to be offered for payment legally.

#3 - a dollar is not an abstract accounting unit. It is a weight and measure of a particular fineness of silver. You can't print dollars. You can only coin them.

What this legislator should be doing is insisting on being paid in dollars and not Federal Reserve Notes.

THAT would illustrate the issue very clearly, and he'd be on solid legal ground. No state can make anything BUT Gold and Silver COIN legal tender. Thus the State of Montana can't offer to pay him Federal Reserve Notes. They technically, can't offer to pay him with a check. But he could agree to accept a check - a demand note, if Montana law required that the bank which is to make good on the note, actually only offers gold or silver coin upon his demand and doesn't try to tender FRNs to him.

I applaud his and his constituents in their goals, but their efforts are not going to get them there.

Excellent point.

I completely agree. More and more individuals should read not only the U.S. Constitution but the Anti Federalist and Federalist Papers as well. The Founding Fathers and Statesmen of that era were truly exceptional students of history and truly had an inherent understanding of not only the recent but also the antiquated past as well. And I would venture to say that our modern politicians of which the vast majority could not quote even one sentence from at least one Amendment of the Constitution. Tell me, how sad is that? And these are the people allegedly managing our state of current affairs. It's without question a joke and the joke is on we the people.

And of course the one (at least one of a few in Congress) exception is Ron Paul, our scholarly physician whom has educated himself in not only the Constitution but also Austrian Economics and several other educational fields of interest.

More people should do this.

More people should do this.