BOISE, Idaho (March 9, 2023) – Last week, the Idaho House passed a bill that would create a process for the state to buy, sell, and hold gold and silver. This would set a foundation for Idaho to achieve more financial independence and help undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.
A coalition of Republicans led by Rep. Barbara Ehardt introduced House Bill 180 (H180) on Feb. 21. The legislation would authorize the state treasurer to buy physical gold and silver with “idle moneys.” In effect, it would create a process for the state to hold reserves of gold and silver.
“Idle moneys” is defined as “the balance of cash and other evidences of indebtedness that are accepted by banks as cash in the ordinary course of business, in demand deposit accounts, after taking into consideration all deposits and withdrawals, on a daily basis.”
On March 2, the Idaho House passed H180 by a 40-29 vote.
The bill’s statement of purpose notes that holding a portion of state funds in physical gold and silver would “help secure state assets against the risks of inflation and financial turmoil and/or to achieve capital gains as measured in Federal Reserve Notes.”
From a practical standpoint, holding gold and silver would provide a net benefit to Idaho taxpayers. As the Sound Money Defense League points out, under current law, “Idaho’s reserves are invested almost exclusively in low-yielding debt paper that carries counterparty risk while its value is diminished by inflation.”
“Inflation has impacted every Idaho family. With inflation rates in the 7 percent to 9 percent range, the real annual rate of return for Idaho taxpayers on its $10.4 billion in ‘idle moneys’ is deeply negative,” Sound Money Defense League policy director JP Cortez said.
As already noted, holding gold and silver would allow the state of Idaho to shield its assets and hedge against rapidly depreciating Federal Reserve notes.
As Cortez noted while testifying in favor of a similar bill in Wyoming, “Proposals encouraging state gold holdings have come before the legislature since January 2019, but no bills have been passed. During the last four years of inaction on sound money, gold bullion, priced in declining dollars, has risen by 50 percent.”
Holding gold and silver in reserve would also create a pathway for Idaho to maintain financial independence should the U.S. dollar collapse, a very real possibility as the world moves away from the greenback as its reserve currency.
In fact, central banks around the world have been buying gold to limit their dependence on the U.S. dollar. Last year, central banks bought 1,136 tons of gold. It was the highest level of net purchases on record dating back to 1950 and the 13th straight year of net central bank gold purchases. According to the World Gold Council, there are two main drivers behind central bank gold buying — its performance during times of crisis and its role as a long-term store of value.
It’s hardly surprising then that in a year scarred by geopolitical uncertainty and rampant inflation, central banks opted to continue adding gold to their coffers and at an accelerated pace.”
These factors are as relevant to Idaho as they are to India.
When Texas opened its gold depository in 2018, University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus made a similar point.
“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”
The United States Constitution states in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Currently, all debts and taxes in Tennessee are either paid with Federal Reserve Notes (dollars) which were authorized as legal tender by Congress, or with coins issued by the U.S. Treasury — very few of which have gold or silver in them.
The Federal Reserve destroys this constitutional monetary system by creating a monopoly based on its fiat currency. Without the backing of gold or silver, the central bank can easily create money out of thin air. This not only devalues your purchasing power over time; it also allows the federal government to borrow and spend far beyond what would be possible in a sound money system. Without the Fed, the U.S. government wouldn’t be able to maintain all of its unconstitutional wars and programs. The Federal Reserve is the engine that drives the most powerful government in the history of the world.
The passage of H180 would set a foundation for sound money in Idaho.
It would also take another step in the process of abolishing the Federal Reserve system by attacking it from the bottom up – pulling the rug out from under it by working to make its functions irrelevant at the state and local levels, and setting the stage to undermine the Federal Reserve monopoly by introducing competition into the monetary system.
In a paper presented at the Mises Institute, Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene said when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve Notes, it would effectively nullify the Federal Reserve and end the federal government’s monopoly on 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.”
Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state-by-state level is what will get us there.
H180 will move to the Senate for further consideration. It was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee where it must get a hearing and pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
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