Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R)
Virginia sure has been a hotbed of activity on issues with national implications, hasn't it? Republicans in the commonwealth pushed a scheme to rig the electoral college (which failed soon after), launched an ugly redistricting scheme (which now appears doomed), and crafted an absurd voter-ID bill (which seems likely to become law).
And while all of those are clearly important, this is the one that amazes me.
Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall fears that a financial apocalypse is coming and only one thing can save the Commonwealth: its own currency.
The idea that Virginia should consider issuing its own money was dismissed as just another quixotic quest by one of the most conservative members of the state legislature when Marshall introduced it three years ago. But it has since gained traction not only in Virginia, but also in states across the country as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy.
Marshall's proposal sailed through the House of Delegates this week, passing by a two-to-one majority.
And why, pray tell, does Marshall see the need for Virginia to have its own currency? Because he and other stark-raving-mad lawmakers fear the wholesale collapse of American civilization, as precipitated by the Federal Reserve. The Washington Post noted that Bob Marshall believes it's possible the U.S. could look like "the Weimar Republic of Germany after World War I: a worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling government."
Of course, Sideshow Bob also believes in "death panels," equated the Recovery Act with slavery, and is convinced that women who have abortions subsequently have disabled kids because God is punishing them.
This is the man who wants to shape monetary policy in Virginia.
Mainstream economics maintains that America is in little danger of turning into postwar Germany. Inflation is below 2 percent even though the Fed has tripled the amount of money in circulation since the 2008 financial crisis. Investors view the dollar as a safe haven, buying up greenbacks when turmoil strikes around the globe. A single currency is one of the bedrock assumptions of modern economics.
But that doesn't mean Virginia shouldn't be ready, Marshall and his supporters believe. His proposal would create a 10-member commission to study "the need, means, and schedule for establishing a metallic-based monetary unit to serve as a contingency currency for the Commonwealth." The study would cost $17,440.
If you're thinking it's unconstitutional for states to print their own currencies, don't worry, Marshall has thought of that, too -- he thinks there's a legal loophole that would allow the commonwealth to mint silver and gold coins.
What a relief.
Before we move on, let's not forget that state House Republicans, when they weren't passing the currency resolution, were also attacking the non-binding Agenda 21 plan for sustainable development. The measure, championed in the chamber by Republican Scott Lingamfelter, argues that Agenda 21 threatens "infringement on the American way of life and individual freedoms and ability to erode American sovereignty."
Lingamfelter also hopes to be elected lieutenant governor later this year.