Phase Out the Fed With State Sound Money Laws

Although it is very encouraging that the House voted 327 to 98 to audit the Fed last month, it is virtually certain that the Senate will not concur this year. Moreover, it is virtually certain that Congress will not act to end or phase out the Fed any time soon.

So, what’s to be done about the impending destruction of our currency by the Federal Reserve’s ongoing expansion of the money supply. Since 2010 there has been a continuation of this rapid expansion of the money supply.

The preeminent expert on Constitutional money, Edwin Vieira, has a strategy for phasing out the use of Federal Reserve Notes through new state laws providing alternative currencies, which he has been promoting via interviews and videos for the past several years.

Basically, Vieira advocates that states start taking advantage of their sovereignty as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment and their constitutional mandate under Article I, Section 10 not to “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts,” by passing laws providing alternative currencies in their states based on gold and silver.

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Peter Schiff Opens Hard-Money Bank

This is a real bank, that deals in real money.

In other words, you can open accounts in any denomination you want, whether fiat currency OR gold bullion — whatever you’d like.

You can even get a “gold debit card” that you can use anywhere in the world. It’s backed by actual gold, which converts to whatever currency you’re needing at the time you hit that ATM.

It’s the sort of thing that the Constitutional Tender Act calls for in banking…

…Well, there is one caveat: you can’t open an account at this bank if you’re a U.S. citizen.

U.S. security laws have become so intrusive, burdensome, and expensive to comply with, that it made it difficult for Schiff to offer his services to his non-U.S. clients on a globally-competitive basis. So, he opened his bank offshore, in St. Vincents and the Grenadines. Since it operates outside the jurisdiction of U.S. security regulations, and does not accept accounts from American citizens or residents, U.S. regulations don’t apply.

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The Constitutional Tender Movement in Georgia

cross-posted from the Sound Money Center

In early 2009, I was teaching a course on American Government at Gainesville State College here in Georgia. As I was going over with my students the powers prohibited of the States in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, we hit upon this one: “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”.

A student in the back of the room raised his hand, and asked, “What does Georgia use for paying its debts – money owed to the State, and by the State?”

“Federal Reserve Notes,” I replied.

“Not gold or silver coins?” he asked.

“No, not gold or silver coins. And no, Federal Reserve Notes are not backed by gold or silver coins, either.”

He raised his hand again. “Which States DO use gold and silver coins for paying State debts?”

“None of them,” I answered. “They all use Federal Reserve Notes, which were declared to be ‘legal tender’ by the U.S. Congress.”

“When did we pass a Constitutional Amendment to change this requirement in Article I, Section 10?” He had a puzzled look on his face.

My answer seemed to puzzle him even more. “We didn’t.”

It was quiet in the classroom at that point. I waited. I didn’t have to wait for long.

“How have the States gotten away with that?”

I didn’t have an answer to that question. And it bothered me. So, I went and did some research on it – and what I found confirmed that student’s concern: the Constitution makes it clear 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, which would include debts owed by and to the State. However, EVERY State in the United States of America HAS made some other “Thing” an offer as payment – they have by law declared that they will accept, and pay out, Federal Reserve Notes for any debts owed by or to them.

Therefore, every State is in violation of Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution.

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Changing to a “Legal” Gold & Silver Economy

Prof. Michael S. Rozeff recently wrote an article at LewRockwell.com entitled, “Changing to a Silver Economy“. It’s an excellent exercise in thinking about how to return to an economy based on sound money:

A libertarian in Columbia, South Carolina sent me a message recently. He works at a convenience store. He was interested in introducing silver as a means of payment or currency at this store. His specific ideas I thought would not work because of the taxes on silver. The government treats silver as a collectible subject to income taxes at ordinary rates. He had some ideas of buying bullion and then setting up a market in it by buying at a small discount to the spot price and selling at a small premium, thereby creating a bid-ask spread. He had some idea of getting people to transact in silver.

Instead I spun out the following proposal. It too has the fatal flaw that taxes on silver dealings occur, but thinking about this process is very useful anyway. It shows how stores might become 100% reserve banks and how the economy might transition from paper and slug coin currency to silver money. And, if this skeletal proposal has flaws, others can possibly improve on it. I merely want to demonstrate a degree of feasibility, so that the possibilities become more tangible.

The basic idea is that silver is the unit of account, but silver is not necessarily used as the medium that is used for redemptions.

Prof. Rozeff’s idea is a good one, but it’s also a little complicated and potentially legally hazardous – we all know how our wonderful federal government likes “competition” in currency, and the Secret Service and IRS are used quite effectively to squelch such attempts. So instead of trying to swim upstream like so many others have attempted… how about using the government’s own “legal tender” laws against it, as an alternative?

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