Montana State Representative Jerry O’Neil fears the fiscal cliff so much that after he won reelection last week, he requested in writing to the Montana Legislature Central Services Office that he be paid his $7,000 annual salary in gold—coins, that is! Well, silver is OK, too.
He references his unusual request to Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which says that no state “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” He says in his letter that while he was campaigning, several of his constituents brought this matter to his attention and asked him not to ignore his obligation to uphold the Constitution.
In the letter, O’Neil also cites “the economic debacle hanging over our heads” and his fear that the U.S. dollar no longer backed by gold will be “… reduced to junk status.” according to media sources.
But in a conciliatory touch, he says that the coins not be counted at their face values of $50 or $1, but at their current market values of around $1,800 and $35. However, since most state employees are paid via direct deposit, this request could require a change in state administrative policy at the very least or even new legislation.
According to a recent report from Politico, the lawmaker’s payment request has been denied by the state.
Let’s hope that the O’Neil request does not encourage employees to emulate him or paydays at your company could become very interesting—and weighty! Does WB Mason sell wheelbarrows?