In the latest attempt to push right-wing legislation through the General Assembly, the House of Delegates passed a bill this morning that would establish a panel to research the possibility of Virginia creating its own currency. The bill, which basically passed along party lines, authorizes almost $18,000 to be spent on establishing a 10 person panel that would "study the feasibility of a metallic-based monetary unit."
In other words, it would require the state to spend financial resources on studying whether or not we want to return to the gold standard. On top of that, it would require state employees to spend countless hours on the project -- time that staff members simply don't have due to all the cuts Republicans have made to the public workforce.
Since the ultimate goal of the measure is something that's only supported by the extreme right flank of the GOP, it shouldn't be too surprising that the measure was sponsored by Bob Marshall -- a delegate from Prince William County who has earned the reputation of being extremely conservative and more than a little odd. Marshall has tried to pass similar legislation since 2008 and has tried to use it as a way to discuss his opposition to the Federal Reserve and the policies it promoted during the economic recovery process.
While many of his fellow Republicans might have joined in his opposition to a large centralized governmental agency like the Federal Reserve, he had a difficult time getting any support for the measure before this year. Governor Bob McDonnell, for instance, has publicly said that he doesn't think Virginia should print its own money. And the idea was once considered such an absurdity that a lobbyist handed out fake coins at a dinner in February of 2011 for the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association that read "In Bob We Trust."
The measure will probably have a hard time surviving both the Senate and McDonnell's veto pen, but it does force you to look at how conservative the House Republican caucus has become recently. I mean, the legislation has gone from being considered an absurdity being promoted by a lone ultra-conservative member to making it's way through the House.
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