Given the extent of the Main Street Depression now raging across America, and given that monetary and fiscal policies have left America with insufficient legal tender to conduct local and regional commerce, should municipalities, counties, and even states consider issuing their own "scrip" as a means to expand the available money supply?
National Park Bank of New York Clearing House Certificate for $500 (1873)
During past depressions in the US, the appearance of local currencies in the form of "depression scrip" became commonplace (see examples). California has recently experimented with issuing warrants to its citizens in lieu of tax returns (see last example). The use of local and regional currencies is not without precedent in the US.
Five Dollar Certificate issued by the San Francisco Clearing House (1907)
Town, cities, counties, and states across the US are being strangled by deficits, and the supply of legal tender for commerce is simply inadequate to sustain current spending levels and public services. Should these same entities consider issuing their own currencies as a way to supplement the local money supply and maintain current levels of public employment and services? So far, a Main Street economic recovery appears elusive, especially given that our nation's fiscal and monetary policy-makers view local prosperity as a by-product of national prosperity. I would not be surprised to see local, regional, and even state currencies sometime in the near future.
Five Dollar Certificate issued by the Chicago Clearing House (1933)
Public entities that create their own currencies could use these "dollars" to pay public employees, contractors, suppliers, and pensioners. Additionally, public healthcare programs funded by states could be paid for using local currencies as services are rendered. Finally, local currencies could be used to pay public taxes due from taxpayers and business entities within those jurisdictions. Of course, this would mean that what America knows to be a "dollar" would become somewhat confusing. However, the creation of local and regional currencies could very well be a useful way for states to manage their budget deficits, or at least until the US money supply becomes more robust on a local and regional basis.
Warrant issued by California (2009)
The shortage of money in various localities and regions across the US has created a crisis, especially given that the nation's largest banks and corporations are continuing to hoard cash for whatever reasons. Perhaps expanding the Main Street money supply can be accomplished without the consent of the US Federal Reserve after all.
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