In the waning hours of the 2011 Utah Legislature, lawmakers avoided tackling some major issues and focused instead on a law that is virtually meaningless. Thursday the Senate approved a bill making gold and silver coins minted by the U.S. government as legal tender in Utah.
What a relief!
Like many others across America, my family has been hurt by the economic downturn. What a comfort it is to know that if things get really desperate, I can dip into my hoard of gold and use it as legal tender. Except that the bill doesn’t force anyone to accept gold or silver coins and as far as I know, the government is not issuing gold and silver coins.
The bill’s sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, reportedly said, “It will put some pressure on the federal government. That’s the goal here because right now we have a dollar that’s just running away with inflation and our hope is that this is a little bit of a shock that’ll say we want to deal with inflation.”
It’s hard to imagine this move will even be noticed by Washington, let alone cause lawmakers there any pressure.
I can envision President Obama and other important officials gathered together on Friday morning talking about relief efforts and the possible economic impact of the Japan earthquake. In the middle of that discussion, an aide bursts into the room and says, “Mr. President, I’m afraid we have another issue to deal with. Utah just approved the use of gold as legal tender. Let’s forget about all this other stuff and tackle inflation, NOW.”
Instead, if the Utah bill gets any mention, my guess is it will be more along the lines of: “Hey everyone, listen to what those ignorant yahoos in Utah have done this time!”
If Utah Senators are concerned about inflation and want to get the attention of folks in Washington, there are surely better ways to go about it than to pass a meaningless law like this. Perhaps they could instead draft a letter that says something clever like: “We are really concerned about inflation and the economy and we want you guys to do something about it.” Then they could send it to every representative in D.C.
Fortunately Utah lawmakers were also smart enough to approve HB477—a government secrecy bill that makes it much difficult for people to find out what state leaders are doing. That means in the future when Utah lawmakers consider misguided and meaningless legislation like the gold law we might not even learn about it.