By Steve Moyer
June 1, 2007
Size is approximate.
feel overtaxed, underpaid, overworked or some combination of all three.
We have an abundance of physical and human resources but a shortage
of money. The money system has failed to balance human needs with available
resources. Vermonters need a little relief. We need a new economy.
Vermont Freedom Currency
is a single pure silver coin worth 10 Community Credits. A single
coin is worth $10 with the State of Vermont for any service, fee or tax. This assures community
credits hold an established value for purposes of barter.
These coins would operate as a voluntary barter currency accepted by individuals and businesses who choose to accept them. They are not legal tender and cannot be converted into dollars except by a mutually agreeable private sector transaction, such as might be done through e-Bay or Craigslist.
Community Credits can circulate inside Vermont as an alternative currency to increase needed services to Vermonters, reduce taxes, and provide choice and flexibility in the economy.
How will it work?
A single coin minted of .999 pure silver
and identified as "10 Community Credits" will be sold
for $10 to anyone who wishes to purchase it. It will initially be made
available through town clerks, state offices and banking institutions
as well as the Vermont government web site. The coins also could be marketed through
Department of Tourism and Marketing.
Each coin is underwritten by the State of Vermont to be worth $10 towards any State service, fee or tax. It also will be accepted by transportation authorities for bus passes
State colleges for tuition, and state-funded community health centers. Since we all know the coins have value with the State we will have faith in them as Vermont currency.
The coins will cost between $3-5 each,
depending on the size of the coin and the cost of silver. At current silver prices the coins can be minted commercially for $4/coin.
This means that the State makes a profit of $6/coin for each coin sold
which is not returned to the State for redemption.
Even for those coins returned the State, there has effectively been a $6 interest-free loan for however long they were in circulation. These would be commemorative coins that would be sold to collectors throughout the world and to tourists. If collectors then the State permanently held the coins would receive a net revenue gain of $5-7 per coin. That's a little bit of relief for Vermonters!
Differences between money and credits
The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power
to "coin money and regulate the value thereof." Since
Community Credits are collectable coins that the State chooses to honor
for payment of any State service, fee or tax, conflict with the Federal
Government can be avoided.
Community Credit coins are NOT legal tender. They are voluntary currency and cannot be converted
into U.S. dollars except by private sale at a mutually agreeable price.
No one is required to accept them as payment for a debt.
The coins are CREDIT rather than debt.
The State can regulate the quantity of coins in circulation, their redemption
value for State services, and which programs and non-profits participate
to prevent inflation and maximize the positive impacts on taxes, the
Vermont economy and the quality of life for Vermonters.
The value of the credits to the State
could be changed by legislation providing that a sufficient period of
prior notification has been provided to the people.
Orders for the coins could be placed through State agencies and via the State web site prior to the initial release of coins. Collectors from around the world and Vermonters who want to support this alternative currency could empower Vermont Freedom Currency without any initial monetary investment by the State. Since at least two replacement coins can be purchased for every coin sold, there is no need for deficit spending in order to create more coins.
What good are Community Credits?
Community Credit currency can be used
for any financial transaction connected with any State agency which
requires the payment of a fee for a service or by selected State-funded
non-profit organizations which charge fees for services. This might
include health care centers, bus passes, campground fees at State Parks,
hunting and fishing licenses, driver's licenses, professional certifications,
car registrations, as well as all fines or taxes.
For example, if you had a bill with the
State for $55 you could pay $50 of it with five Community Credit coins
and $5 with U.S. Dollars.
Some coins would come back to the State
in ways which do not actually cost the State the ten dollars of value
per coin. Someone might choose to go camping because they have the coins.
It they had to pay with dollars they would skip it. The cost to the
State is much less than the redemption value since the cost of operating
the campground has only increased a modest amount.
This also applies to bus passes, health
care services and tuition for state-supported schools and colleges.
The cost of providing bus service to a community is not directly related
to how many people purchase bus passes. The majority of the cost is
in having the bus run its route for even one rider. Adding more riders
does not increase the cost very much.
The majority of the cost of running community
health centers and colleges is for infrastructure and employees. Providing
more health care services or teaching more students does not necessarily
increase the cost significantly. More value can be given to Vermonters
for less cost per service delivered. More with less.
Marketing, promotion and Issuance
Coins could be packaged with a brochure
explaining how they work and the history of money in Vermont. This package
could include a directory of businesses that accept coins for purchases.
This packaged coin would be profitable for both the State and Vermont
Special coins could be made with additional
words placed onto them for events like the Arts Festival, Reggae Festival,
Jazz Festival and County Fairs. These coins could be sold as commemorative
coins as well as currency for the event.
Adding a ring of text around the center
of the coin does not require a new dye for each custom coin. The State
could choose to sell the coins to specific event sponsors at the minting
cost prior to the event and collect the remainder after the event.
This would make it attractive to event
sponsors since the coins could be used to finance the event to some
extent. It would be an "interest-free loan" to the sponsor
from the State to help increase tourism and economic activity.
Every coin that leaves the State generates revenue for the State.
The coins could be re-used many times
during the course of an event, each time generating revenue for the
event sponsors and tax revenue for the State.
Ski resorts might choose to maintain
a storehouse of coins to sell to their patrons. They could choose to
accept the coins for payment towards lift passes and other services.
Restaurants could offer a free coin to
guests who spend a specific amount of money. This would be equivalent
to offering a coupon except that the State of Vermont will receive the
benefit, particularly if their guests are from out-of-state and keep
the coin as a souvenir.
Grants offered by the State could be
denominated in some portion of U.S. dollars and some portion of Vermont Community Credits.
Business contracts with State agencies
that require a bidding process could allow bidders to indicate what
portion of the bid amount would be acceptable in Community Credits.
Specific budget programs or initiatives
could be partially or wholly funded with community credits.
Businesses that choose to accept the
coins for goods and services could receive a free web page on a Vermont web site for the currency and a listing in the
directory that is distributed with the tourist package.
Citizens could propose projects to the
State or their local municipality that would be funded by Community
Credits allocated by the State. These projects would not require additional
tax monies, providing that the coins had already been purchased and
returned to the State.
It's easy to see how increasing State
revenues by selling these coins to visitors and collectors can provide
some modest revenue increase and therefore a potential tax reduction.
The more events that are held in Vermont, the more revenue is raised
through the sales tax.
Some state-sponsored activities and programs
could be partially funded with Community credits, reducing the amount
of taxes needed for these services. Examples include
The State could sell Community Credit coins in lieu of bonds. Since there is no usury on Community Credits the amount due in the future would be less than bonds.
Why should you support this?
Money needs competition. Tyranny can
be defined as "no other choice." The old adage "don't
put all your eggs in one basket" is a prudent advisory for us to
seek a diverse collection of economic solutions. Total dependence
on U.S. Government money is foolish. Independence only exists
when there is a choice.
The economy is political by its nature.
Governments create money and regulate its use. Our Federal Government
is taking us in the wrong direction, toward increasing debt,
endless aggressive wars to maintain global economic hegemony, and dependence
on the Federal government and Federal "debt money."
Vermont can set an example for other
States for how an alternative state-based system can take us in the right
direction --- towards increasing economic freedom and independence,
lower taxes and locally sustainable economies based on credit with the
State rather than debt to impersonal corporations and unknown foreign
The Vermont State motto of Vermont is
"Freedom and Unity."
Two currencies can be better than one, especially when one is based
on credit with the State. The Vermont government could decide in the
future to issue credits in another form, perhaps electronically, to
expand their utility. Someday we might all have our own electronic currencies
on the Internet, once appropriate standards are developed.
This proposal gives Vermonters added
flexibility in their economic lives. It can reduce taxes and provide
more services to Vermonters. It is a "more with less" proposal.
It is the natural resources of the land
and the skills and resources of the people that make a sustainable economy
possible. Fundamentally, it's the faith we have in each other which matters
most; the currencies we use for trade are the "grease" of
the economy rather than the substance of it. A healthy economy
builds healthy communities.
The existing money system is based on debt. It is unsustainable and will eventually need
to be radically changed. The Vermont Freedom Currency
system is based on credit with the State and faith in our neighbors.
It builds stronger community and provides people with choice.
Freedom is all about choice; the more
choice we give ourselves the more freedom we experience.
Since Vermont Freedom Currency
is voluntary nobody can be forced to participate. It works to the extent
that we cooperate with each other. It therefore teaches unity, trust
and faithfulness by its nature.
Let's get "out of the box"
of thinking that our economy can only have one currency. Freedom lies
in choice and if there is "no other choice" then we are not
Vermont Freedom Currency
provides a little bit more freedom for Vermonters: freedom from taxation,
freedom from dependence of U.S. currency, and freedom to create new
and more efficient ways of sharing the many blessings of modern society.