Is it me or are dollar coins just a waste of time? Why do I ask, you ponder? In the next few days, President Bush may sign a bill that creates one dollar coins commemorating many past presidents, from Washington to Reagan, immortalizing them in currency Ã¢â‚¬â€œ surely one of the greatest honors bestowed upon anyone in U.S. history. However, to me, this just seems like yet another wasteful project thrust upon the tax payer by a government that seems to lose sight of the big picture Ã¢â‚¬â€œ regardless of which party is in Ã¢â‚¬Å“power.Ã¢â‚¬Â?
Now donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get me wrong (or excited), this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a Bush bashing column and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going to wax political. This is about common sense, wise spending and large scale (read: national) economics. So lets take a stroll down memory lane and consider a quick thumbnail history of the one dollar coin.
The one dollar coin has been in existence since the United States Mint was established by the final signature of President Washington in 1792. Used as a common piece of currency for many years, the one dollar coin lost luster in the mid 50Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and never resurfaced. Honestly, no one seemed to miss it.
In 1979 the Carter Administration pushed, with avengence, to make the dollar coin sexy again by creating the Susan B. Anthony version but a poor design decision (its was only slightly larger than a quarter and was often confused as such) and general apathy failed to move the coin into mainstream use. But the U.S. Mint wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t done.
In 1999, Congress reintroduced the one dollar coin once more. This time, learning from past mistakes, they colored the coin gold, made it slightly larger, and paid homage to our nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Native America culture by putting a Shoshone woman upon itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face. And once more, wide scale release was met with nothing but national indifference. Despite the federal governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best efforts, the coin failed to make an impact. So that makes Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem 0-2 if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re scoring at home. But hold on for a sec, it appears weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going down this road yet again.
For me, it makes no sense to create yet another dollar coin. Let me break it to you: it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t catch on and people will have little interest (except perhaps the esoteric and hording collection community). The fact remain Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and have been empirically proven time and time again Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the United States isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a coin carrying nation.
So do us a favor, drop the coin and focus on the paper product. And if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re feeling frisky, why not redesign the one dollar bill with the freaky oversized portrait, add a splash of color, and call it good.