Two months ago; December 9, 2009, to be exact; Ron Paul introduced H.R. 4248: Free Competition in Currency Act of 2009, a bill “To repeal the legal tender laws, to prohibit taxation on certain coins and bullion, and to repeal superfluous sections related to coinage.”
Upon introducing the bill the congressman said,
“Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2009. Currency, or money, is what allows civilization to flourish. In the absence of money, barter is the name of the game; if the farmer needs shoes, he must trade his eggs and milk to the cobbler and hope that the cobbler needs eggs and milk. Money makes the transaction process far easier. Rather than having to search for someone with reciprocal wants, the farmer can exchange his milk and eggs for an agreed-upon medium of exchange with which he can then purchase shoes…
Over millennia of human history, gold and silver have been the two metals that have most often satisfied these conditions, survived the market process, and gained the trust of billions of people. Gold and silver are difficult to counterfeit, a property which ensures they will always be accepted in commerce. It is precisely for this reason that gold and silver are anathema to governments. A supply of gold and silver that is limited in supply by nature cannot be inflated, and thus serves as a check on the growth of government. Without the ability to inflate the currency, governments find themselves constrained in their actions, unable to carry on wars of aggression or to appease their overtaxed citizens with bread and circuses….
At this country’s founding, there was no government controlled national currency. While the Constitution established the Congressional power of minting coins, it was not until 1792 that the US Mint was formally established….
The first step consists of eliminating legal tender laws. Article I Section 10 of the Constitution forbids the States from making anything but gold and silver a legal tender in payment of debts. States are not required to enact legal tender laws, but should they choose to, the only acceptable legal tender is gold and silver, the two precious metals that individuals throughout history and across cultures have used as currency. However, there is nothing in the Constitution that grants the Congress the power to enact legal tender laws. We, the Congress, have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, but not to declare a legal tender. Yet, there is a section of US Code, 31 USC 5103, that purports to establish US coins and currency, including Federal Reserve notes, as legal tender.
Historically, legal tender laws have been used by governments to force their citizens to accept debased and devalued currency. Gresham’s Law describes this phenomenon, which can be summed up in one phrase: bad money drives out good money. An emperor, a king, or a dictator might mint coins with half an ounce of gold and force merchants, under pain of death, to accept them as though they contained one ounce of gold. Each ounce of the king’s gold could now be minted into two coins instead of one, so the king now had twice as much “money” to spend on building castles and raising armies. As these legally overvalued coins circulated, the coins containing the full ounce of gold would be pulled out of circulation and hoarded….
These actions also give rise to the most pernicious effects of inflation….In the absence of legal tender laws, Gresham’s Law no longer holds. If people are free to reject debased currency, and instead demand sound money, sound money will gradually return to use in society. Merchants would have been free to reject the king’s coin and accept only coins containing full metal weight.
The second step to reestablishing competing currencies is to eliminate laws that prohibit the operation of private mints…
The final step to ensuring competing currencies is to eliminate capital gains and sales taxes on gold and silver coins. Under current federal law, coins are considered collectibles, and are liable for capital gains taxes….
Just as pernicious are the sales and use taxes which are assessed on gold and silver at the state level in many states. Imagine having to pay sales tax at the bank every time you change a $10 bill for a roll of quarters to do laundry. Inflation is a pernicious tax on the value of money, but even the official numbers, which are massaged downwards, are only on the order of 4% per year. Sales taxes in many states can take away 8% or more on every single transaction in which consumers wish to convert their Federal Reserve Notes into gold or silver.
In conclusion, Madame Speaker, allowing for competing currencies will allow market participants to choose a currency that suits their needs, rather than the needs of the government. The prospect of American citizens turning away from the dollar towards alternate currencies will provide the necessary impetus to the US government to regain control of the dollar and halt its downward spiral. Restoring soundness to the dollar will remove the government’s ability and incentive to inflate the currency, and keep us from launching unconstitutional wars that burden our economy to excess. With a sound currency, everyone is better off, not just those who control the monetary system. I urge my colleagues to consider the redevelopment of a system of competing currencies and cosponsor the Free Competition in Currency Act.”
This happened just 7 days after the Boston Tea Party National Committee passed a resolution calling on Congress to introduce and pass legislation; that would repeal the legal tender law; repeal the government monopoly over the creation of coins for use as currency and prohibit federal and state taxes on precious metal coins and bullion.
The Boston Tea Party was founded in 2006 with a one sentence platform, “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In October 2008, the party’s National Convention adopted the four point program of the Campaign for Liberty. Their program calls for an end to overseas occupation, a restoration of privacy and other liberties, no increase in the national debt, and a thorough review of the Federal Reserve. Since October 2008, the Boston Tea Party National Committee has passed resolutions opposing the “banker bailout” and “stimulus” package, as well as a resolution in support of repudiating the National Debt and another in support of HR833, Ron Paul’s “Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act.”