Montana State Legislator Wants to be Paid in Gold and Silver Coins

Republican representative for the state of Montana, Jerry O' Neil, has written to the Legislative Services requesting that his salary be paid in gold and silver coins

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A 'Double Eagle' gold twenty dollar coin is displayed at Goldsmith's Hall on March 2, 2012 in London, England.

A GOP state representative in Montana who asked to receive his salary in gold and silver coins has been rebuffed by the state’s Office of Legislative Services. Rep. Jerry O’Neil, who hails from the small town of Columbia Falls in the northwest corner of the state, sent a letter earlier this month requesting that his salary from here on in be paid in coins.

Given the state of the U.S. economy and the massive national debt, O’Neil reportedly worried that America’s paper currency could be on the brink of collapse. “Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value,” he explained to the local Daily Inter Lake newspaper. According to USA Today, O’Neil is a longtime supporter of Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman and perennial presidential candidate who advocates a return to the gold standard.

(MORE: Europe’s Elusive Gold Reserves)

However, it was O’Neil’s constituents who led him to consider requesting his salary in coins.  O’Neil has never before raised the subject of how he should be paid during his six terms as state representative for Montana’s Flathead Valley. “My constituents, when I went door to door, one of the things they were interested in was the $17 trillion national debt,” he explained to the Huffington Post. “Some of my constituents said we would not have this problem if we had currency backed by gold.”

Making his case to the Daily Inter Lake, O’Neil cited Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constution, which says, in part, that “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.”

“How can we in the Montana Legislature protect our constituents?” O’Neil asked in his letter to the Office of Legislative Services.

“The only answer I can come up with is to honor my oath to the U.S. Constitution and request that your debt to me be paid in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status.”

(MORE: Country Half Full: An Optimistic Take On Our National Debt Nightmare)

Montana state legislators are paid $10.33 per hour while the legislature is in session; O’Neil estimated his salary to be about $1,800 a month, close to the market value of one 2012 American Eagle One Ounce Gold Proof Coin, according to Politico.

Sheryl Olson, the deputy director of the Montana Department of Administration, told the Huffington Post that state employees are paid either by a state warrant of payment (basically, a check) or via direct deposit. To her knowledge, O’Neil is the only government worker to have requested payment in gold coin, she said.

Montana legislative attorney Jaret Coles responded to O’Neil’s letter last week, informing him that neither the U.S. Constitution nor Montana state law requires an agency to pay its debts with gold and silver, according to the Flathead Beacon. Coles explained in his letter that if a member of the legislature wishes to be paid in gold or silver “a bill could be introduced to accomplish this result,” reports Politico.

O’Neil has decided not to follow through on this advice and is looking into other options.

10 comments
StephenGrange
StephenGrange

Dear lord, how many years of no inflation needs to occur before the ridiculous and wholly unsupported mythology dies of printing too much money causes inflation?

And the gold standard being reintroduced? Yeah, that's smart, lets crash the entire world's economy in one swoop why don't we? The right came within 3% of the POTUS and this is their level of comprehension of economics?..Terrifying.

Bastiat
Bastiat

@StephenGrange It would serve you to have a longer and wider view of economic history, pick up a history book. You're a sad, uneducated and naive fool who shouldn't be posting moronic comments about things you don't grasp. 

StephenGrange
StephenGrange

@Basiat Your empty headed bellowing remind me of the angry white men shaking their fists at the new Americans on Faux....Equally unable to learn the right lessons from history, wedded to what never really was and immersed equally  in their own self importance and ignorance.  

StephenGrange
StephenGrange

@Bastiat And where, pray tell, did I ever say you were anything other than  a "reminder" of the same loud empty vessels you so clearly emulate? Your argument's are as puerile as your insight, so now it is "why do you care?" vs. "You are so stoooopid?"...run along sonny..you are dismissed.

Bastiat
Bastiat

@StephenGrange What doesn't make any sense at all is that you care what some other guy wants to be compensated. What difference does it make to you. Might want to step back Steve and consider your misplaced righteousness. And just so you know, I'm Mexican American smart guy.

PennyLoafer99
PennyLoafer99

Yes, all employers should just break out their gold and silver stashing for payment.

re-finder
re-finder

Go to Kitco and look at the 5 and 10 year chart for gold and I think you will understand why he wants to be paid in gold.  The smart move would be to hold as little cash as necessary and put the rest into bullion.  It does not matter whether or not you agree, but facts do not lie.   The dollar is dying due to over printing by the Fed and gold just keeps going up.  What do you think will happen if the dollar collapses?  Could panic buying drive the price of an ounce of gold to the stratosphere?  Absolutely.

TimeKeepsTicking
TimeKeepsTicking

This GOP representative from Montana must be smoking something, and if he is what is it and can I have some? Lol, love how some people think this day and age!!

backyardsage
backyardsage like.author.displayName 1 Like

If Jerry O'Neil is so obsessed with gold and silver, perhaps he should move to California, get a job at Disneyland, and run the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride.

It takes a special sort of popular ignorance for someone like Mr. O'Neil to get elected to public office........