Bob Marshall admits he’s obsessed watching the U.S. dollar’s value diminish.
“It’s everything,” he said, as he walked outside the Manassas Virginia train station. “It’s all I think about. It’s all anyone should be thinking about.”
Marshall, who is a Virginia State Representative, says it’s time for something radical.
“I want to see the states step in,” he said. “It’s time. Past time.”
Marshall wants the state of Virginia to have its own currency to create what he calls “competition with the U.S. dollar.” He also says it will protect Virginia if the dollar falls even further.
“Our role as state legislators,” he explained as an Amtrak train rolled through the station, “is to protect the people, and the federal government is not doing its job.”
He points out the dollar’s value has fallen nearly 40 percent since 2001, and he says with a record debt and deficit it’s, only going to get worse.
“What I hope to accomplish,” he said, “is to put the brakes on this train that is running away down the tracks.”
“I don't see any brakes applied in Washington the only ones that can do it are the states.”
Marshal isn’t alone. Fifteen other states, (Wash., Idaho, Mont., Utah, Colo., Okla., Mo., Ind., Tenn., Ga., S.C., N.C.,Vt., Iowa, N.H.) are currently or have recently considered proposals for creating alternative currencies.
Some Constitutional experts call the trend “disturbing” and “blatantly illegal.”
“The Constitution flatly prohibits states from issuing their own currency,” says Eric Freedman, “whether in the form of coins or in the form of paper money.”
Freedman is a professor at Hofstra Law School in New York, and he predicts “economic catastrophe,” if each state has a competing currency.
“That would be the destruction of the country,” he said. “Even at the time of the Civil War it was thought that two separate countries wouldn’t survive with two separate currencies.”
“This is a proposal for 50 [currencies] in the same geographical territory. It’s ludicrous.”
“Well, I will tell you what's more devastating,” replied Marshall, “A Weimar Republic-style inflation where you have to take a wheelbarrow full of money to buy some bread,” referring to the Germany in the early 1900's that suffered under massive hyperinflation.
“The legal experts,” he continued, “should not just look at court decisions. They should look at the original debates about the Constitution.”
Marshall points out that James Madison, who is often considered the “Father of the Constitution,” “expressly talked about eliminating the power of Congress to emit bills of credit.”
“Do you know what bills of credit are? Paper money,” said Marshall.
He said he’s going to spend his time this year to convince fellow legislators to pass the proposal next year.