Lawmaker wants Utah to invest in gold, silver

American money proclaims that in God we trust, but one Utah lawmaker does not have unfailing trust in the U.S. dollar — and pushed a bill Wednesday to allow the state to hold some of its funds in gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve notes.

It also would allow Utah to place gold and silver into a commercial repository — such as the local United Precious Metals Association. That would allow it to use so-called “gold dollars” or “silver dollars” — credits based on the value of the metal in its deposits — to pay state bills.

Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, said his HB224 could allow the state to avoid relying solely on federal money during emergencies such as bank failures, a currency collapse or a currency war between countries.

However, Ivory said he still has work to do on the bill, and asked the House Revenue and Taxation Committee to hold it for consideration later.

But Ivory still gave some early arguments about why his idea might help save the state in possible emergencies — and help its investments hold value better than Federal Reserve notes.

Ivory held up a 1964 silver half-dollar coin. “In 1964, this little coin would buy about three or 3½ gallons of gas. Today it won’t buy a fraction of a gallon of gas,” he said. “But the value of the metal of the coin would buy three gallons of gas. That’s what we’re talking about in terms of preserving purchasing power.”

He said the number of grams of gold needed to buy $1 has fallen dramatically through the years, so stockpiling gold itself would have prevented a loss to inflation.

College tuition, priced in gold, “is about the same as it was in the 1930s,” Ivory said, adding that the price of food based on the value of gold has fallen over time.

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