Thursday, February 15, 2007

A diller a dollar

In two unrelated items today, the dollar bill (and all the other denominations) are about to get a makeover. The Treasury Department announced that we will all be soon getting dollar coins in our change. This, despite the fact that the country has tried on at least two occasions to introduce dollar coins, only to have them end up in mint storage somewhere gathering dust. Dollar coins are popular in other countries, probably because when they were issued the governments of those countries withdrew their paper dollars from circulation.

This time it will work though, the Mint has decided to honor each dead President with his own dollar. They are doing this,of course, in hopes of people collecting the dollars between now and 2016, like we have the quarters (I still don't have South Dakota). Unlike a quarter, you can still buy some things with a dollar, if you have a few pennies for tax. I forsee children all over the country pilfering James Monroes and Grover Clevelands from the parent's collection whenever the money is needed. After a couple of years, the temptation will become too much to stand, as the dollars accumulate.And the dollars won't be so easy for the kid to sneak back in to replace.I can hear the parents now. "Hey, why are there three John Quincy Adams dollars here, what happened to Harrison & Tyler ?"

The main reason that dollar coins are no good is that they set off metal detectors in airports and jingle around in your pocket. All these new dollar coins will do is cause every damn vending machine in the country to switch to dollar minimum purchases. The same is true for the parking meters. No more ten cents for six minutes. It's a dollar for and hour or nothing, and no change pal. This is the same thing that has happened to popcorn and hamburgers over the last thirty years. You buy this monster burger or this giant tub of popcorn for five dollars or you get nothing. There is no such thing as a small.You may not eat it (and if you do you will get fat) but that's the only way sell things.

The unrelated item is a ruling by a Federal District Court that paper money is unfair to the blind. Jeez, how long did it take for us to figure that out ? So finally, a court has ordered that the Treasury Department make bills in such a way as to allow the blind to differntiate between denominations. They have thirty days to begin working on a plan (or appeal, but no President is going to lose every blind vote in the country by appealing). The Judge left the field wide open as to how to differentiate. I suppose that it can be different sizes (like coins) or raised printing of some kind on the bill. They could give each bill its own fragrance, I think that would be cool, or have the bills tell you their denomination, using the same technology as the talking urinal cakes that I wrote about last weekend."Hi, I'm Abe Lincoln and I'm a five dollar bill."What will probably happen is that the government will sell "branding rights" to each denomination. Can you imagine ? For a billion dollars, Exxon gets to put a tiny raised tiger on a ten dollar bill for a year. It may not seem like much, but these bills stay in circulation for a long time. And they will know that everyone who sees the ad is a consumer. Hell, that's why they have got the bill in the first place, to consume.

I see nothjing but good times ahead for the Treasury Department, and for all citizens. I am already looking for a new big mat with dollar holes in it so that I can start collecting my Presidents.


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