In Michigan, locally printed currency is called "Detroit Cheers"; in North Carolina, "Plenty"; in New York, "Ithaca Hours"; and, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "BerkShares." People are able to trade in 95 cents in U.S. currency for one dollar in local currency so their "dollars" go further while helping stimulate their local economy.
Economist Jerry Robinson, author of Bankruptcy of Our Nation, points out that the concept of cities printing their own money actually was popularized during the Great Depression, when bank closings were common. So, local governments, businesses, and even individuals issued their own currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing without the need for banks. However, the law states that local money cannot resemble Federal bills or be promoted as legal U.S. tender.
Beyond localities producing their own currency, Robinson maintains that there are four ways to address the national financial crisis: raise taxes, cut spending, borrow funds, or print Federal money. "We have mainly focused upon borrowing and printing money. We are simply borrowing time. We have major structural flaws. For starters, we are taxing those who produce and we're printing money like crazy and it's all about to come home to roost.
"We need to talk about sacrifice. We keep passing the buck--pardon the pun--thinking someone else is going to take part of our problems. As individuals, we need to cut...