"The reason it's more feasible now is that we are running out of answers to the monetary and financial chaos now. In 2008, when huge investment houses and banks started failing, people just couldn't get a loan, the whole system was paralyzed," said Jeff Bell, an adviser to Reagan in his 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, and now the policy director for the conservative group American Principles in Action.
The liquidity that the Federal Reserve created caused a bubble that "blew out millions of Americans' investment in their homes," he said. "The system is subject to these continuing crises now, and there's more and more inflation in the economy, so the time is right."
Opponents of the system, however, charge that switching to a gold system would expose countries to financial shocks, an argument that led to the abolition of the system during the Great Depression.
Others argue that switching to a gold standard would be costly for the U.S. government. They say it would be more effective if the Federal Reserve controlled the distribution of dollars instead, to rein in inflation.
No other countries in the world currently use the gold standard, which would also lessen the benefits for the United States and could end up reducing the dollar's value. Experts like White say European nations and Japan would also have to make the switch to make the system work better internationally.
It also limits the role of the central government in directing monetary policy, and would take away some powers from the Federal Reserve, though proponents argue that's the basic premise of the system.
But as the Tea Party, with its push to return to Constitutional values and cut spending, gains clout, and states consider bills like those in Utah, the issue is likely to once again find its way into the spotlight.