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South Carolina lawmaker seeks to ban federal currency

Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 1:44pm

South Carolina Rep. Mike Pitts has introduced legislation that would mandate that gold and silver coins replace federal currency as legal tender in his state.

As the Palmetto Scoop first reported, Pitts, a Republican, introduced legislation this month banning "the unconstitutional substitution of Federal Reserve Notes for silver and gold coin" in South Carolina.

In an interview, Pitts told Hotsheet that he believes that "if the federal government continues to spend money at the rate it's spending money, and if it continues to print money at the rate it's printing money, our economic system is going to collapse."

"The Germans felt their system wouldn't collapse, but it took a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread in the 1930s," he said. "The Soviet Union didn't think their system would collapse, but it did. Ours is capable of collapsing also."

The lawmaker believes that a shift to an economy based on gold and silver coins would give the state a "base of currency" should that collapse come. As one expert told the Scoop, however, his bill would likely be ruled unconstitutional because it "violates a perfectly legal and Constitutional federal law, enacted pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, that federal reserve notes are legal tender for all debts public and private."

In addition, since gold and silver regularly fluctuate in value, they could not easily function as stable currency.

But Pitts maintains that his state is better off with something he can hold in his hand and barter with as opposed to federal currency, which he described to the Scoop as "paper with ink on it." He says he resents what he considers the federal government's intrusions on states' rights.

Though he did not offer a timeframe, Pitts told Hotsheet that he anticipates a nationwide economic collapse "if our federal government continues the course it's been traveling under the previous administration and this administration."