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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Gold Could Be Money in Utah

Boris Engelberg | Stock4B | Getty Images

That is the debate raging around the Internet after the question was put to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in this semi-annual testimony to Congress.

Is gold money?

Congressman Ron Paul: “ Do you think gold is money?”

Fed Chairman Bernanke: “No”

But not everyone agrees with the chairman’s answer, especially in Utah where the governor has signed a bill that “recognizes gold and silver coins issued by the federal government to be legal tender in the state” and allows for the “… possibility of establishing an alternative form of legal tender.”

One of the co-sponsors of that bill is Utah Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, a Republican. And the great thing about state senators is that they also have day jobs—I was able to reach Sen. Jenkins almost immediately at the company he owns, Great Western Supply, a plumbing wholesaler, and asked him whether or not gold is a currency.

“In its raw form it’s not currency," says Sen. Jenkins. “The constitution says that if the state is going to make currency it has to be gold or silver. We are reaffirming that as a state we have that right.”

What Utah legislators are now doing is going through the process of figuring out how to get gold from its raw form into a coin that could be used as legal tender. How much gold in each coin, what increments the coin would be issued in and the tax consequences are just some of the questions that need to be answered.

"Our goal," he says, “would be to mint one-ounce coins in gold and silver and then, yes, it would be currency.”

If Utah is successful in its pursuit, that will certainly change the conversation.


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