A modest proposal for the future of Iowa

It’s a new year in the Iowa Legislature and amidst the pomp, ceremony, and Lt. Gov. Reynolds’ frequent glances at the calendar, one prevailing theme has emerged that will guide our lawmakers as they work diligently in the best interest of all of us: We need less money!

I’ve never said those words either; but these are our learned representatives, elected to apply their calm, sober reasoning to the problems of the day. Clearly, they know of what they speak.

In the opening weeks of the 2017 session we Iowans have witnessed remarkable money-reducing measures advanced by the state House and Senate, all eagerly awaiting that brief moment when Gov. Branstad, between packing up his stuff from the mansion and tipping the moving men not to drop his collection of antique mustache combs, can autograph some bills before heading off to China.

As I’m writing this Gov. Branstad has yet to be confirmed as the new ambassador to China; but considering the sheer volume of noise generated by President Trump’s most recent cabinet confirmation hearings Gov. Branstad is going to look like George Marshall or Henry Kissinger by comparison.

Bills have recently been introduced, or studied in committee, that would reduce the collective bargaining rights of state workers, eliminate federal funding from the budget for Planned Parenthood, and ban the use of food assistance money for the purchase of any item that requires a refund value or deposit … so, cans and bottles, mostly.

Obviously, these examples represent a sound, reasonable answer to the problem of too much money. Fat cat union gangster teachers, often seen in their posh sports cars, flouting the rules of the road as they scream “tenure!” while blasting through a four-way intersection en route to the craps tables, are clearly a huge drain on the economy and are responsible for not only massive budget deficits but also for the world being a different place than it was when you were a child.

For shame.

Defunding Planned Parenthood will go a long way to ensuring our state pays as little money as possible for healthcare; combined with the elimination of collective bargaining rights Iowa will take a bold step into the future of turning a blind eye.

Now, we all know that food assistance recipients purchase large quantities of refund value items only to immediately exchange the items for that sweet, sweet change; it is a well known fact that the poor and indigent are addicted to arcade video games and wishing wells. While the powerful wishing well lobby may try to impede passage, I’m certain the legislature will do the right thing and ensure that the tired and the hungry will not continue to bilk Iowa taxpayers for thousands and thousands of nickels.

But it’s only been a month of activity and the Legislature has a long way to go to liberate Iowans from a reasonably funded government. So what’s left? A refund? No … just, no. Refunding money from the general fund is not going to help anything; no one ever solved the problem of having too much money by giving away money.

What we need is a more permanent solution, something that will ensure that, for years to come, the good people of Iowa will not have to worry about a state government burdened by functionality and capability.

And it is to that end that I propose a method to eliminate this problem once and for all: A return to gold.

Not “the gold standard,” but actual gold. Eliminate paper money, eliminate paperless money, eliminate all ATM cards, credit cards, and gift certificates. Get rid of it all and fire up the mint because it’s time to start striking some coinage!

What is the greatest problem standing in the way of a government trying to drain itself of all funds, thereby flattening its ability to perform even basic functions? Money travels far too quickly! When you visit an ATM and withdraw $300 to pay for your prescription that money is gone from your account in an instant; when you deposit the paycheck from your second job into an ATM that $97 is in your account in a matter of days, due to the legal requirement that all banks must use a single abacus when recording any deposit under $10,000. All way too quick, all way too easy.

But consider the gold coin. You can’t go to an ATM to withdraw gold, so you’ll have to visit the bank itself, just like the good old days. Your teller will simply grab the nearest scale and, weighing against approved lead counterweights bearing the seal of Iowa on one side and the likeness of the current governor on the reverse, measure out the requisite amount of coinage, slicing coins as necessary to complete the transaction; then all that’s left is to bundle them into a small leather pouch, affix said pouch to your riding belt, mount your horse and be on your way.

Gold coin conversion would be a boon to our travel industry as well! As any visitor to Iowa approaches the state they will pass through mandatory, guarded checkpoints established to assist the tourists with converting their “money” into gold coins; just set up the guard stations on bridges, or even slightly under the bridges, then have the guards emerge as passing motorists make their way towards the Field of Dreams museum to easily facilitate the conversion process.

Fat cat union gangster teachers and banning poor people from keeping a nickel can only take us so far; it’s time for the legislature to get behind gold coin conversion. Paper money travels too fast in the modern world and inexorably creates a far too functional government; it’s time to slow the gears of government the best way we can, with a gold monkey wrench.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or wburns@timesrepublican.com.