Ron Paul has made a motion for Congress to consider allowing alternative currencies in the United States.
Why is this a good thing?
We in the U.S. now have what is called a "fiat" currency. A fiat, according to these folks, is "a command or act of will that creates something without or as if without further effort".
In other words, all those pictures of dead presidents printed on greenish paper in your purse or wallet or checking account? They're only worth something because our government has declared that they are worth something, and must be accepted for all debts, public and private.
But that sounds like a reasonable system, doesn't it? What would happen to retail cashiers if they had to have registers with 3,682 different bill and coin slots? What would happen to pricing? Exchange rates? Wouldn't things get complicated?
Yes, having only one type of currency in circulation is convenient. But who controls the amount of this fiat currency in circulation?
Senators who have to be re-elected every few years. Representatives who believe that their congressional district is somehow special, and needs money. Presidents who want to send the kids off to Foreign Adventures in a sandbox somewhere on the other side of the world.
Our government spends more than it takes in because they know if they get in trouble, they can always print more money.
Here's a chart showing the number of dollars printed, in billions, ever since the creation of The Federal Reserve. Note the Obama uptick on the far right. A 2009 dollar is now worth a 1913 nickel.
This devalued crap was printed to pay off government debts.
The Federal Reserve was created to stabilize the money supply. The dollar has lost 95% of its value since then. Things have less value as they become more common.
What do you think this new mega-increase in the money supply will do to the price of eggs and butter and beer?
(A special prize will be given to the first reader to email me an editorial blaming these upcoming price hikes on GREEDY CORPORATIONS.)
And why can our government get away with this? It's because our currency doesn't have a competitor. If someone owes me money, I'm required to accept Obamabucks as payment. (Or Bushbucks, Clintonbucks, Reganbucks, Bernankebucks, Greenspanbucks, etc. I'll be fair.)
What would happen if some banks were once again allowed to print their own currency, the way many banks did prior to the government monopoly? (One of our worst presidents once made it illegal to own gold, BTW. Statists hate, hate, hate competition.)
What would happen if some of these banks had honest managers/owners, and conscientious boards of directors, and they vowed to keep their money supply at a constant level?
Whose currency would you prefer? The system run by these hypothetical banks, or the system currently overseen by Reid, Pelosi, Obama, Bernanke and Company?
People would start asking if there's anything worse than losing 95% of value. Taken as a whole, even Bernie Madoff's investors fared better than that.