On the surface this seems almost nonsensical: affirming a right that already exists in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. But it is much more than that.
Senate Bill 862, which Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law this week, says,
Gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in the State of Oklahoma.
No person may compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government, except as agreed upon by contract.
The new law also exempts all state-level taxes that Oklahoma residents would otherwise have to pay when exchanging gold or silver back into paper money:
For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2015, there shall be exempt from Oklahoma taxable income, or in the case of an individual, the Oklahoma adjusted gross income, any amount of net capital gains ... which result from the sale or exchange of gold or silver for another form of legal tender.
All this appears to do is affirm the language from the U.S. Constitution: "No state shall ... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts."
But it does much more. Sean Fieler, Chairman of American Principles in Action, one of the bill’s primary supporters and promoters, came close to explaining why:
I commend the people of Oklahoma, particularly Senator Clarke Jolley and Governor Mary Fallin, for asserting their state’s constitutional right to declare gold and silver legal tender.
With the Federal Reserve actively suppressing interest rates and eroding the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, it is welcome news to see one more state give its citizens free access to money that holds its value over time.
It’s about options. When citizens become comfortable with using money that retains its value over time, it will mark the beginning of the end of paper currency backed by nothing. This would be the inevitable end point of the process that began on August 15, 1971 when then-President Richard Nixon unilaterally ended the dollar’s convertibility into gold. For the past 43 years the world has been subjected to floating currencies pegged to nothing other than future promises to pay in more paper money. As Ron Paul noted in his book The Case for Gold, first published in 1982,
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