Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy President's Day

Sometimes we Americans don't make a lot of sense. We still use the English system of measurement when the majority of the world does not. We supported Pauly Shore movies enough that not only were they profitable but several were made. And we still use the dollar bill while many countries use a dollar coin.

However if the US Mint has their way perhaps that will change. The Mint announced that it will produce a series of new dollar coins. Beginning this year and every year there after five coins will be issued. Each coin will feature a former President and will be issued in their elected order (assuming they have been dead for at least two years). For all you presidential junkies out there, just wait for the trifecta of Martin Van Buren (2008), William Henry Harrison (2009), and Millard Fillmore (2010) in consecutive years. That should hold you over until the motherload drops: Warren Harding in 2014.

Don't get me wrong. I think it is cool that other US Presidents besides those you would expect to be honored on our coinage will finally get their due. But ultimately it is going to be another waste of time. The Mint is going to continue to make the dollar bill and so folks will never be forced to use the dollar coin, which the Mint explains is much cheaper to make and stays in circulation longer as it is more resistant to wear and tear.

Part of me thinks that the dollar coin has failed because the Mint won't pull the band-aid off and force us to use the darn thing. Because people aren't accustomed to using the dollar coin they tend to put them back and save them, thinking they are valuable. I remember when I was a child my mother showed me a Susan B Anthony dollar coin that she had saved for several years because she believed this same thing. My mom was right. It was valuable. It was and still is worth a dollar.

The other part of me realizes that maybe the Mint is on to something. They ultimately know that pulling the dollar bill will be disastrous for our economy. Think about some of the more scandalous parts of our economy. How the hell is somebody going to tip a stripper with a dollar coin? So then if the SOB doesn't have a two dollar bill lying around it is going to cost him five bucks to tip--that's a five thousand percent mark up for no good reason. But even if you have more Puritan sensibilities, how about tipping a valet? He doesn't want to run around with a bunch of coins in his pants and you don't want to look like a jerk handing him some laundry money.

This dollar coin is going to cause some real problems. Before the dollar coin if you wanted to look like a big shot you simply wrapped a twenty on the outside of a bunch of ones. If there is no dollar bill then there is no more fake wad. And no longer could you hand out dollar bills to your nieces or nephews like a fun uncle. A dollar bill to a child is awesome. A dollar coin to a child is a choking hazard.

So on today this President's Day, let's salute the dollar bill. The old tried and true dollar bill with the Father of Our Country on the front and some crazy pyramid with a human eye on the back. It is easily worn out and disease laden but for this proud American there is no other way for me to complete a dollar transaction.

Although my attitude might change after I see the two distinct Grover Cleveland dollar coins.


Blogger torporindy said...

One of the main problems with the dollar coins and even two dollar bills was that most store change drawers did not have a slot for them, so cashiers would have to slip them underneath the drawer. If they're not being handed out as change, then they're basically going out of circulation.

February 19, 2007  
Blogger Harry said...

The spot that was set up for half dollars can be used for dollar coins, and the bills can go (Right to left) 1, 2, 5, 10, 20. The big ones can go under the drawer. That solves that problem.

February 19, 2007  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

I hate carrying coins. This will not do.

February 19, 2007  
Blogger lemming said...

I'm with you in holding out for two different Grover Cleveland coins, though I have a soft spot for Franklin Pierce.

The mint is doing this ot make money - they plan on having folks hoard the dollar coins. Ah well.

February 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old men with the plastic squishy coin holders are going to have a fit! The uno coin would take up too much space.

February 21, 2007  

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