Other nations have signaled a fear of the dollar but now it’s happening in the states
The Utah House was to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state. (AP)
It's been nearly 80 years since the U.S. stopped using gold coins as legal currency, and nearly 40 since the world abandoned the gold standard, but the precious metal could be making a comeback in the United States -- beginning in Utah.
The Utah House was to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state. The coins would not replace the current paper currency but would be used and accepted voluntarily as an alternative.
The legislation, which has 12 co-sponsors, would let Utahans pay their taxes with gold and also calls for a committee to study alternative currencies for the state. It would also exempt the sale of gold from the state capital gains tax.
The bill cleared a state legislative committee on Wednesday, the first of 11 similar bills in statehouses across the country to do so. If the bill clears the House, it would have to pass the Senate before the governor could sign it into law.
Attorney and Tea Party activist Larry Hilton, author of the original bill, said he doesn't foresee any roadblocks.
"There's enough uneasiness going on in the economy to trigger people to feel that, hey, having a little Plan B, kind of a backup system, is not a bad idea," he told FoxNews.com.
The U.S. used some version of the gold standard from 1873 until 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlawed the private ownership of gold amid the Great Depression. An international monetary system based on a gold-exchange standard continued until 1971 when President Richard Nixon stopped the U.S. from redeeming dollars for gold altogether.
Critics of the gold standard say it limits countries' control over its monetary policy and leaves them vulnerable to financial shocks, such as the Great Depression. But supporters argue that the current financial system's dependence on the Federal Reserve exposes the value of U.S. money to the threat of inflation.
Rep. Ron Paul, a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve who has called on a return to the gold standard, has praised Hilton's efforts.