Friday, November 30, 2012
We're Too Stupid For That
I can go back 25 to 30 years to my time in Europe when various countries still had their own currency, pre--euro. The Swiss had a one, two, and five franc coin. At the five franc level it was worth about three dollars. The Britts had £.50 and a 1 pound coin. The French had a five franc coin. And you could find examples of coins worth more than a US dollar in virtually all of the European nations.
I remember back in the early 1960s going to Las Vegas and seeing one dollar silver coins used rather than gambling chips. Then suddenly they all disappeared. They were taken out of circulation.
People didn't really like walking around with a pocket full of five or six big silver dollars. Nobody complained about the removal. Then of course we had the Susan B Anthony dollar. People said it looked too much like a quarter. Sure, it had octagon corners and was gold colored and slightly larger than a quarter but they just couldn't tell the difference. So, nobody wanted the Susan B Anthony dollar even if given as change. You can't find one anymore.
But that doesn't stop Americans. We have been minting presidential commemorative dollar coins for two decades. We stamp them out, box them up and put them in a warehouse. Meanwhile we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars printing and processing consumable paper one dollar bills.
Can I be excused for a feeling of déjà vu when I see this:
Congress Considers New Dollar Coin
We will probably have to make it out of plastic with little spikes on the edges so that the average American can determine what it is. Meanwhile look for the fool standing in front of a vending machine stuffing a limp piece of paper into a slot as it repeatedly spits it back out into his hand.
He has to do that of course because his credit card is maxed out and the machine won't take it.