Lawmakers in President Obama's home state want to know who is buying and selling gold.
Illinois' Precious Metal Purchasing Act, or SB-3341, would require every gold and silver transaction to be registered with the state.
The bill passed in the state's Senate last spring and the House is considering amendments.
Amendment 1 reads: "Authorizes inspection of records by local police departments. Requires reports to law enforcement on a daily basis. Exempts persons licensed under the Pawnbroker Regulation Act."
The bill is apparently intended to help police recover stolen property and help raise revenue for the state. But the federal government's history of confiscating gold has some concerned this bill could be an ominous sign of things to come.
Eighty years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the confiscation of most gold from private citizens with his Executive Order 6102. People were directed to turn in their gold in exchange for paper currency.
The ban on owning gold lasted more than 40 years, until President Gerald Ford signed legislation in 1974, making it legal to own gold again.
However, in 1971, President Richard Nixon had taken the U.S. off the gold standard, ostensibly to keep countries from trading their surplus for gold. Nixon decreed that the U.S. would no longer exchange dollars for gold.
Nixon also announced the federal government would no longer redeem currency with silver. As WND CEO Joseph Farah wrote, "That was the last vestige of a dollar tied to a hard metals standard in America."
Why the government infatuation with precious metals, particularly gold?
Critics say separating currency from something of real value, such as gold, is another form of wealth confiscation, because the Federal Reserve Bank can merely pump as many dollars as it wants into the system, causing money to lose value through inflation.
WND has reported that even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan felt that way.
In his 1967 book "Gold and Economic Freedom," Greenspan wrote, "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value … The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth."
WND reported that President Herbert Hoover felt similarly. Hoover said [unbacked] paper currency helps politicians by making it possible for government to take "the savings of the people by manipulation of inflation and deflation. We have gold," Hoover said, "because we cannot trust government."
More recently, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has advocated abolishing the Fed's system of fiat currency (money that derives its value from government regulation) to return to dollars backed by gold.
In 2009, WND quoted Paul as saying, "Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar."
He added, "Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy."