Monday, December 01, 2008

My 100-Cents Worth

The US Mint is working on another design in a series of the dollar coins which most people have never seen unless the have used a vending machine at the post office which dispensed an amount of change greater than a dollar.

Austin has been selected as one of the cities where the dollar coins are being aggressively marketed. I've heard a number of promotional ads on the radio for the coins. And all this strikes me as odd. The United States Mint has faced a steep uphill acceptance battle ever since is released a redesign of the $2 bill back in the 1970s.

The government is spending money to persuade people how cool it is to use the new dollar coins, and expecting them to go the extra mile to visit a bank and request them and spend them, only to have them tossed in the back of the till by merchants and ultimately returned to the banks where the process theoretically renews itself.

This is a foolish waste of money and it won't work. Furthermore there is an easy solution to this problem which would require far less marketing and would save us $318 million annually. Maybe.

The obvious logical solution is to phase out the paper dollar entirely which would result in dollar coins being put to use immediately. The paper dollars have a very limited lifespan of just a few months whereas the coins last many years thus offsetting their higher production cost.

Of course, konagod always like to stir the pot even more. I would utilize the $2 bills to replace the dollar bills. There are millions of them printed already, sitting in vaults. What a waste. And what's the point? Sometimes I think we like to print currency and mint coins just for the hell of it.

If a dollar coin and a $2 bill still don't provide you with enough spending variables, well, there's always the half-dollar which weighs probably twice as much as the dollar coins, and for some odd reason is still being minted.

Corn, beans and squash — the “three sisters” of Native American agricultural tradition — will appear on the nation’s one-dollar coins next year, in a design to be announced Friday by the United States Mint.

By the dictates of an act that Congress passed last year, the reverse side of the gold-colored Sacagawea dollars will bear a new design each year starting in 2009, as part of a thematic series showing Native American contributions to the history and development of the United States.

Another day, another dollar.

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