If at first you can't secede, you can at least create your own currency.
In the latest lunacy among states which are losing faith in the union—or at least, the leadership of the union—Virginia is considering having its own metallic currency. The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill calling for a study (which would cost Virginia taxpayers more than $17,000) to assess the value of a state-issued coin. Several other states are considering similar plans. The idea is that Americans can't trust the Fed to operate monetary policy, and that the vaunted U.S. dollar might one day become worthless.
There are surely reasons to be concerned about the strength of the dollar. But it's still the gold standard (even if it's no longer backed by actual gold) among world currencies. When we worry about inflation, it's generally a function of a few percentage points—problematic for consumers, but nothing like the experiences of people in countries where there has been hyperinflation, where a loaf of bread might cost six times as much in the afternoon as it did that morning. And while fiscal responsibility is an important goal, does creating a new, limited currency really the answer?
It recalls the scene in Gone With the Wind, when Scarlett returns home to Tara from a burned-down Atlanta, finding her father impoverished and mentally unwell. He assures her he has loads of money in the form of bonds—something that reassures the heroine until she realizes they are Confederate bonds. Would a modern Virginia coin be much different?
If constituents in the Old Dominion are truly concerned about financial responsibility, there's an easy place to start. Don't spend the $17,440 the currency study would cost.
- Read Peter Roff: Karl Rove Vs. Conservatives in a GOP Uncivil War? Obama Wins
- Read Jamie Stiehm: Put Me on the NRA's 'Enemies List'
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.