BATON ROUGE, La. (May 31, 2024) – This week, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed a bill into law that recognizes gold and silver as legal tender in the state.

Sen. Mark Abraham filed Senate Bill 232 (SB232) on March 1. Under the new law, “any gold or silver coin, specie or bullion issued by any state or the United States government as legal tender shall be recognized as legal tender in the state of Louisiana.”

On May 15, the House passed SB232 by a 92-0 vote. The Senate concurred with a vote of 38-0. With Gov. Landry’s signature, the new law goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2024.

Beyond the provisions to make gold and silver legal tender, the bill also specifies that “no person shall incur any liability for refusal to accept recognized legal tender for the payment of debts, except as provided by contract.”

In practice, including this contract clause means if parties voluntarily agree to be paid, or to pay, in gold and silver coin or bullion, the Louisiana courts could not substitute any other thing, e.g. Federal Reserve Notes, as payment.

Enactment makes Louisiana the fifth state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender, as they always should have been doing. Utah led the way, reestablishing constitutional money in 2011. Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Arkansas have since joined.

Practically speaking, this could allow Louisiana residents to use gold or silver in various forms as money rather than just as mere investment vehicles.

The effect has been most dramatic in Utah where the legal tender law opened the door for the development of a gold and silver market in the state. With some legal hurdles cleared away by the state’s legal tender law, the United Precious Metal Association (UPMA) in partnership with Alpine Gold Exchange set up the state’s first “gold bank.” The Utah Specie Legal Tender Act has also led to the creation of Goldbacks, a local, voluntary medium of exchange. Goldbacks are notes made from fractions of an ounce of physical gold. The company created a process that turns pure gold into a spendable physical form for small transactions.

BACKGROUND

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 Louisiana 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.

Treating silver and gold as legal tender takes the first steps against 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. It also sets the stage for the people to undermine the Federal Reserve monopoly by introducing competition into the monetary system.

The next step would be for people to start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve notes.

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.

Michael Boldin

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