Depending on dollars to meet our needs becomes riskier as state and federal politices (made by lobbyists) shift to reward the wealthy (with special tax breaks, subsidies, entitlements, anti-union legislation, global market deregulation) and to punish the poor (with low minimum wage, competition for low wages, tax hikes, reducing or cutting off aid to children). The free market has become free mainly for the rich.
Both Republicans and Democrats, to different degrees, have made the middle class and poor fight each other for smaller pieces of the federal pie. Most federal money trickles up rather than down, as interest payments, as bailouts to failed banks, as contrazces for weapons nobody needs, for excess highway and prison construction, and so on.
While the dollar system is organized to maximize profits (top 1% own 40% of U.S. wealth), the HOUR system provides money that respects everyones’ time, talents and needs. Here are some differences between dollars and HOURS:
Dollars are issued when major corporations and banks buy U.S. Treasury Bonds from the Federal Reserve. Taxpayers are required to repay these bonds with interest.
Dollars are issued in inflationary quantity to repay interest to the investors above. As a result, the U.S. national debt increases by $2,500,000 every minute. Social programs are cut to balance the budget.
Dollars facilitate loss of wealth from Ithaca. Dollars leave town through chain stores, to be controlled by fewer and fewer distant corporatnions, which then gain more control of our food, fuel, housing and transport.
Dollars exploit labor by paying the least that the market will allow.
Dollar dependence makes us compete for scarce dollars.
Dollar success is measured as volume traded and accumulated (GDP), regardless of effects on environment or society.
Dollars feed an economy that thrives on war, and the destruction of communities and nature.
Dollar designs feature presidents and monuments of corporate government.
HOURS are issued by citizens directly, as promises to accept them, and are loaned without interest charges.
HOURS are issued gradually and carefully, as the community learns to use them. Since 1991, 11,000 HOURS ($110,000) have been issued. Social programs receive HOUR grants.
HOURS increase local wealth based on local talent, and increase economic stability in this region. They recycle endlessly within the community , expanding our capacity to trade with each other and to develop local supplies of food, fuel, housing and transport.
HOURS honor labor by promoting equitable hourly pay.
HOUR power allows us to cooperate to meet our needs.
HOUR success is measured by human connection and environmental improvement (Grassroots Local Product).
HOURS feed an economythat thrives on peace, and on the repair of communities and nature.
HOUR designs are colorful, featuring local children, natural beauty, plants and animals.