By our apathy for the Sacagawea dollar and the Susan B. Anthony dollar, you’d think the Treasury Department would have learned its lesson, but they haven’t.
This Thursday, the latest attempt at trying to convince Americans to use dollar coins instead of bills will begin, when new $1 coins will go into general circulation — despite a new survey that says 3 out of 4 Americans don’t want the change, both literally and figuratively.
This time, the government hopes to stimulate your interest by putting the US Presidents on the coin, releasing them in chronological order every three months (George Washington’s first, then Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and so on). By my math, they’ll get to the George W. Bush coin in the fall of 2017, just about the time we start withdrawing some of our troops from Iraq.
The hope is that you’ll collect them, because they can just sense that you’re clamoring for more Zachary Taylor and Chester A. Arthur memorabilia. Creating collectibles should not be the business of the US Mint — leave that to companies like the Franklin Mint.
There’s an old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s clearly the case here. I mentioned the Sacagawea and Anthony precedents, which might lead you to believe that this is only the third time the dollar coin has been foist upon us. In fact, it is the fourteenth dollar coin series in US history!
Through all those attempts, the Treasury Department has ignored the public’s indifference toward a huge pocketful of change, just as it has dismissed the lack of cooperation from the private sector. Most vending machines still don’t take dollar coins. Nor do parking meters. Slot machines are going coinless and using paper instead. Moreover, we have moved on to using plastic for a larger number of our purchases — even fast-food places have accepted credit cards for years. For many of us, it is not unusual to go through an entire day without using any coins or currency, so why invest more in an outdated technology?
Clearly, the Treasury Department has lost its mind, along with huge amounts of money — your tax dollars. With each failed attempt at launching a dollar coin, the federal government has lost more and more money. It takes time, manpower, energy, and materials to make those coins — and then they have to find a place to store them when they fail and are pulled from circulation.
They’d better start building some new warehouses — they have ordered 300,000,000 George Washington dollars so far, approximately one for every single person in the United States who won’t use them.