Monday, March 17, 2008

Money and the Founding Fathers

The Intelligencer Journal of Lancaster PA wins the Freakwenter Prize for Investigative Reporting with its March 3 story on the arrest of Fritz Schrom, a man who claims to have spent "$80,000 worth of gold, silver and copper as payment for goods and services in the last year."

Prosecutors charged Schrom with "theft by deception" after he convinced a clerk to accept five ounces of silver and an ounce of copper as payment for his $111 electric bill. If found guilty, Schrom could face fines up to $5,000 plus jail time.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul, who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, would side with Schrom. Paul has often argued that the writers of the American constitution were strongly opposed to using currency not backed by precious metals. Indeed, the US constitution constitution addresses the issue somewhat directly in article 1, section 10, where it is written, "No state shall ... make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts."

The Freakwenter finds it comforting that the intentions of the founding fathers are no longer taken seriously by the general public. The intentions of America's founders on issues of suffrage and civil rights, for example, were rather stunted, so they hardly qualify as a respectable source of wisdom for the modern student of governance. (The mothers of the founding fathers allegedly had very little say in 1787.)

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