Keith the Snoozer - Aaron Klemz photo
by Steve Timmer
Apr 23, 2012, 6:00 PM

Keith the Crackpot

Three cheers for bi-metalism!

Why, you ask, is Downey a crackpot? We won’t get in to all the reasons today, but rather pick just one: Kurt Bills. Bills is a freshman representative in the Minnesota House who after one — now nearly two! — terms thinks he ought to be a U.S. Senator. And boy, what spooky fun that would be. We’ll get into that in a moment.

Downey is on the list of deep thinkers (the page has apparently been moved by the Bills campaign) in the Lege who are supporting Bills. It includes the usual suspects: Drazkowski, Franson, Buesgens, Hackbarth, Garofalo, Quam, Wardlow, and Mazorol (Mazorol?), among a star-studded cast of extremists.

Bills is a Ron Paul supporter — Bills introduced Paul at his recent pilgrimage to Minnesota — and the support is reciprocal. Paul has stated that Bills should be one of Paul’s extremist right hands in the Senate.


Bills has a shot at the nomination because of all of the Ron Paul/Tea Party types who have infiltrated the Republican party. Unseating Amy Klobuchar will be another matter.

This is a post about Keith Downey, not Kurt Bills, at least directly. But you’re known by the company you keep.

Harper’s – 1896

And here’s where it takes a real crackpot turn. Bills wants gold and silver coins as a medium of exchange — legal tender. But that isn’t even the best part. He wants the state to consider printing its own money.

Seriously? That’s crazy talk! Come on, you say; nobody wants to do that.

But Kurt Bills does; just read HF 1654 if you don’t believe me. Or — preferably and — read Aaron Klemz’s post here at the Stool entitled More GOP solutions: mint Minnesota money. Here’s the theory behind Bills thinking, from the bill itself:

The utter zaniness of both of these ideas — supported by the guy that Downey champions for the U.S. Senate — can hardly be understated. House Research did not even do a summary of the bill that it made it into a committee but never emerged.

31 U.S.C. sec. 5103 makes it abundantly clear that only U.S. minted coins and printed currency are legal tender. Not foreign coins, not privately-make ones, and not shavings off your gold ingot.

In order to print money, the state would need a state bank, which it does not have. (North Dakota does, but it doesn’t print money or strike coins.) A more serious problem with Bills truly goofball idea to print the true Loony is that it has been prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s Article I Sec.10 since the Constitution’s ratification.

It was otherwise under the Articles of Confederation, and it was one of the things that interfered with the creation of a nation and a national economy out of the states.

In the words of Andrew Jackson — who was talking to South Carolinians at the time (1832) — Bills stands on the brink of insurrection and treason.

Downey didn’t sign on as an author to HF 1654. But it is impossible to believe that Downey is unaware of Bills’ peculiar ideas about money. This kind of foolish extremism will find scant support in Edina, where many people understand — and profit from — interstate and international commerce.

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