Milwaukee Bucks

The residents of Cream City are pondering their own currency:

It's not a new concept—experts estimate there are at least 2,000 local currencies all over the world—but it is a practice that tends to burgeon during economic downturns. During the Great Depression, scores of communities relied on their own currencies.

And it's completely legal.

As long as communities don't create coins, or print bills that resemble federal dollars, organizations are free to produce their own greenbacks—and they'd don't even have to be green.

Well, it's not entirely legal—not all of the time, anyway. Just ask the folks who used to make and distribute Liberty Dollars.

The Milwaukee effort seems to be more about encouraging local business than taking a stand against the injustice of the federal monopoly on currency. But the opportunities for punning are excellent, given that the city's NBA team is the Bucks:

"Here's your latte, sir. That'll be three Milwaukee Bucks, please."

"OK, how about  Luc Mbah a Moute, Dan Gadzuric, and Charlie Villanueva?"

Read reason on alternative currencies in Argentina, too.

UPDATE: Because it's Friday.

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  • Tym||

    Ithaca hours is another one.

  • EJM||

    From a post-meeting MJS story...

    Organizers in the Milwaukee area met Wednesday at Martin Luther King Library, 310 W. Locust St., to discuss the currency.

    Since they're just taking first steps in trying to organize printing their own dollars, they didn't want to talk about details to the news media. But if they pull it off, they would be following in the footsteps of other neighborhoods, including the Madison Hours Cooperative for neighborhoods in the state capital.


    (The MHC has its own website; see also the related post by Sura Faraj, who's quoted in both stories.)

  • Kolohe||

    And it's completely legal.
    As long as communities don't create coins, or print bills that resemble federal dollars, organizations are free to produce their own greenbacks-and they'd don't even have to be green.



    The controlling factor, of course, is that the tax man gets his cut. Not using FRN's makes these calculations somewhat more arbitrary and hence give rise to disputes over how much is owed.

  • Ska||

    As long as NY doesn't switch to a local currency named the knicks. They're fucking worthless.

  • ||

    Ska-

    After July 1, 2010, they may not be so worthless-provided they win the James sweepstakes.

  • bill||

    Well greenbacks themselves are unconstitutional.

    Article 1, section 10, clause 1 of the Constitution states:

    "No State shall...make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts..."

  • thoreau||

    My question is, will Kopp's Frozen Custard accept the local currency? If not, then it's clearly worthless.

  • ||

    UPDATE: Because it's Friday.

    It ain't prog, but The Killer is cool.

  • Taktix®||

    "Here's your latte, sir. That'll be three Milwaukee Bucks, please."

    "OK, how about Luc Mbah a Moute, Dan Gadzuric, and Charlie Villanueva?"


    Wow, a text-based version of Friday Funnies.

  • Kolohe||

    Wow, a text-based version of Friday Funnies.

    I disgree. That quip was actually amusing :)

  • ||

    If they do this it will be totally legal and the Feds will not harass them like the Liberty Dollar people (who were shady as hell.) Because legal tender laws don't mean what libertarians often think they do. There is no monopoly on monopoly money.

  • ||

    bill, Greenbacks were issued by the Federal Government, not the states. Also, states can issue their own currency so long as it does not make them legal tender (require them for payments of debt).

  • ||

    Brandybuck,

    You are right. The government does require greenbacks when you pay taxes, but it does not require that you use them for other purposes. It only says that if someone gives you greenbacks, you can't then claim that you weren't paid.

    If you and another citizen both agree that you will conduct business in BobDollars, you are completely free to do so. You can print and coin away as long as they don't look like greenbacks.

    conversely, states (or anyone else) can't require that you use alternative currency to pay debts - although they are free to allow it.

  • Mike Laursen||

    If you and another citizen both agree that you will conduct business in BobDollars, you are completely free to do so.

    And the remaining part of the story is that the IRS will expect you to report, in dollars, the value of any income you get in BobDollars.

    Hmm, here's a question: Are there loopholes that would make it possible to get out of paying other taxes (state, property, sales, etc.) by using something like BobDollars?

  • ||

    And the remaining part of the story is that the IRS will expect you to report, in dollars, the value of any income you get in BobDollars.

    Well, yeah, I guess - but it's really a totally separate story: the one where the government can tax your income. About the loophole, I would say the answer is "no". If you set up a business that conducted trade using BobDollars, you would still have to collect sales tax at the appropriate rate. And you would have to calculate some conversion to USD and pay the state in USD. This is not at all unlike the many barter clubs that exist all over the place. You still have to keep the books in USD for tax purposes.

  • Mike Laursen||

    About the loophole, I would say the answer is "no".

    Too bad. I'll have to find some other way of shirking my part in "paying the price for civilization."

  • ||

    just wanted to say thank you to the players who came to Childrens hospital to see the children up here, My son loved it. Thanks again

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