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article imageMontana State Rep. Jerry O’Neil wants to be paid in gold, silver

By Andrew Moran     Nov 14, 2012 in Politics
Helena - Due to the devaluation of the United States dollar, the soaring national debt and the astronomical budget deficit, one Montana Republican lawmaker is asking to be paid in gold and silver bullion coins.
Since the economic collapse in 2007/2008, many investors and those concerned about the state of the U.S. economy have swarmed to precious metals, specifically gold and silver bullion, as a hedge against inflation.
Jerry O’Neill, a Republican State Representative in the state of Montana, is quite worried about the nation’s fiscal status that he is now requesting to be paid in gold and silver, according to an interview with the Daily Inter Lake newspaper.
This week, O’Neill issued a letter to the Montana Legislative Services citing Article 1 Section 10 of the U.S. constitution, which notes that no state can “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” He also explained that he didn’t want to be paid at the face value of $50 American Eagle coins, but rather the market value.
“Let’s say I made $1,800 in a month. They could give one gold American Eagle,” said O’Neill. “Hopefully this will be an example for our Montana citizens and prompt them to also have some of their own wealth in money that has intrinsic value.”
Montana legislators are paid $83 per day that the legislature is in session plus a per diem.
Although he has thought about it throughout his decade-long tenure as a legislator, he never made it a key focus of his career because it was “trivial” and he “didn’t want to be branded as a fanatic over an issue of no consequence.”
O’Neill stated that part of what his motivations for doing this is to urge Americans to be concerned over the $16.3 trillion national debt and be wary over the U.S. dollar collapsing because “only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value.”
He isn’t the first public official to call for payment in gold and silver. Retiring Texas Republican Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has espoused the value of gold and silver over fiat currency. The bestselling author of “End the Fed” and “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” has discussed the idea of allowing competing currencies, an important aspect in the Austrian School of Economics.
USA Today notes that O’Neill is a longtime supporter of Dr. Paul’s bids for the White House.
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