Changing the dollar will weigh down our pockets
Updated: February 8, 2012 3:22PM
I have nothing against the dollar bill.
My only complaint is that I don’t have anywhere near enough of them.
But the government doesn’t share my fondness. It wants to eliminate dollar bills.
On Jan. 31, a bipartisan bill
(S 2049) was introduced in the
U.S. Senate to replace the dollar bill with a dollar coin. There is
complementary bill (HR 2977)
in the U.S. House of Representatives. So, it could happen that the dollar bill is on the road to extinction.
Getting rid of the dollar bill is touted as a cost-saving measure. Being made of paper, dollar bills wear out a lot faster than metal coins. The General Accounting Office estimates using coins instead of dollar bills will save the government $5.6 billion over 30 years.
The thing is, we Americans have not shown a fondness for dollar coins.
Remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar? First issued in 1979, it was issued for only four years. People didn’t like it, confused it with quarters, for one thing. And nobody wanted to lug around a pocketful, or pocketbook full, of coins.
The latest such attempt — the Presidential Dollars — hasn’t done so well either. The government suspended issuing these dollars last year for lack of public interest. It has in storage $1.4 billion Presidential Dollars and, it is estimated, would have had $2 billion piled up by 2016, the year there were no more presidents to commemorate. From now on, Presidential Dollars will be minted only on demand
for collectors. The next president to be honored will be Chester Arthur, so hurry up and get in your orders.
With bipartisan bills in both houses of Congress, dollar coins may become a reality whether we citizens like them or not.
If that happens, I bet the most noticeable result will be a big increase in the cost of everything.
The dollar will become the new quarter.
Instead of being able to park for an hour for four quarters, motorists will now be instructed to deposit four dollars for an hour.
Eight quarters for a load of wash at the laundromat? Nope. Eight dollars.
And a newspaper? Well, a newspaper is a bargain at any price.
And since no one will want
to lug around a bunch of heavy
dollar coins, the $5 bill will be
the basic bill of exchange. And
that also will facilitate upping prices.
People will use credit cards and electronic devices to pay for things even more than they do now.
So, perhaps what we’re seeing is not just the end of the dollar bill, but the beginning of the end of money in general.