RALEIGH — Cautioning that the federal dollars in your wallet could soon be little more than green paper backed by broken promises, state Rep. Glen Bradley wants North Carolina to issue its own legal tender backed by silver and gold.
The Republican from Youngsville has introduced a bill that would establish a legislative commission to study his plan for a state currency. He is also drafting a second bill that would require state government to accept gold and silver coins as payment for taxes and fees.
If the state treasurer starts accepting precious metals as payment, Bradley said that could prod the private sector to follow suit - potentially allowing residents to trade gold for groceries.
"I think we're in the process of inflating a dollar bubble that could be very devastating," said Bradley, a freshman legislator elected in November's GOP tide. "The idea is once the study commission finishes its work, then we could build on top of the hard-money currency with an actual State Tender Act that will basically [issue currency] in correspondence to precious metals stored in the state treasury."
Bradley's bill has yet to attract any co-sponsors among his fellow Republicans.
Mike Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University, said the notion of North Carolina reverting to having its own currency is outlandish.
"We dealt with this issue about 100 years ago when the Federal Reserve was established," Walden said. "If North Carolina were to have its own currency, that would put us at an extreme competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis other parts of the country and other parts of the world."
State Treasurer Janet Cowell joked that Bradley's precious metals proposal could increase efficiency in state government by providing a good use for her department's old basement vault, which is currently used for storage.
"I look forward to engaging in an important public policy debate about whose face should be on the gold coin," quipped Cowell, a Democrat.
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