Date: 2005-03-10 12:55:00
Tags: rant, money
american currency
When is the US going to finally pull the $1 bills from circulation? They've tried twice to introduce dollar coins, first with the Susan B. Anthony and again with the Sacagawea. Both attempts have largely failed because the $1 bills remain available in more quantities than ever before.

Even the Euro, which is now worth more than the US dollar, has a 5 euro note in the smallest denomination. Same with the Canadian and Australian dollars. What is the American fixation on paper vs. metal being the distinction between more vs. less than $1?

The reason this annoys me today is that I opened my wallet and it looked like I had a bunch of cash, but it was really just $8 in $1 bills.
vending machines would suck if i had to get $4 back in quarters :(
For me, dollar bills are much less annoying to carry than change. I hate change jingling around in my pockets when I walk or falling out when I sit down. In fact, if they made really small paper versions of change, I would probably really love that. Also, I arrange my money with larger denominations in the back proceeding to lower denominations in the front. It makes it easy to select the cash I need. With change you just have to dig into your pocket, pull it all out, try to juggle the change around and count out what you need without dropping it etc... just a hassle.
yeah imagine losing $1 vs. 25c everytime a coin falls out of your pocket :(
[info]libertango : Change on the street
Me, I pick up an average of $5.00 a year from the street in coins. Have for years. (I know because I'm the kind of nut case who balances their pocket cash in Quicken, and "change from the street" is an income category.)

So, if I were to pick up more mopney... cool. I ain't responsible for your lack of attention. ;)
I also am perfectly happy with dollar bills. Coins are bulkier and heavier. I don't even keep them loose in my pocket; I have a coin pouch in my wallet, and I still find it annoying having more coins than bills.

BTW I presume the dollar coins didn't catch on partly because they look too easily confused with quarters due to similar appearance.
[info]libertango : Similarities
"I presume the dollar coins didn't catch on partly because they look too easily confused with quarters due to similar appearance."

That's true for Susan B. Anthony dollars. It's not true for Sacajawea dollars -- they're a different size, different weight in the hand, different color, and have a different edge.

On the other hand, how many have you ever seen? {shrug} Thus my comment about how the Treasury refuses to produce them in sufficient quantity. The truth is, we don't know if Americans would ever take well to replacing the paper dollar bill, because it's never been tried with more than a tenth-hearted effort, at best (let alone half-hearted).

Certainly I find I carry less change in Europe or Canada than I do in the US (I use a coin purse, too). In Europe, I suspect that's because not only do they have equivalents of dollar coins, they have also removed the equivalent of the penny. So I carry one or two more larger coins than in the US, sure, but I also carry many fewer smaller coins.
Three reasons:

  • Changing a currency in any way devalues it.

  • Changing from a bill to a coin devalues it even more because it shows the insignificance of the one dollar, the unit of measurement of the currency.

  • Lots of people hate coins

And you say "even the euro," as it's some standard historic currency that has had to adapt to modern times! There's no legacy or complexity to that currency's form, which has only been around for about a decade and only commonly used in the past few years.

[info]libertango : Theories
Hm. Yet, re #2, the Canadian dollar and the Swedish kronor have both climbed against the US dollar since replacing their lowest paper denominations.

And, re #1, the implication is that the US dollar has been sinking because of all the redesigns in the last few years, and not our abysmal trade balance, our worse federal budget deficit, and third-world levels of confidence in our debt repayments? It's an... interesting theory to be sure, but... do you have any examples from other currencies?

(Or, for that matter, wouldn't introducing a new currency be the ultimate "redesign"? In which case, how do you explain the rise of the euro against the US dollar, since it would be a three time loser in your scheme?)
[info]dbaker : Re: Theories
Um, heh, did you even read my post, or did you invent your own and then reply to that? It seems like you're replying to:

1) The reason the USD is down against the Euro is because of the change in the large denomination bills.

2) When you change the design of a currency, it is doomed to fail and will never again hold value.

[info]libertango : Re: Theories
"Changing a currency in any way devalues it."

I'm looking for the, "Of course, other factors, far greater, may apply, but..." part of that statement.

For that matter, I don't see anything that says, "Then again, the devaluation may be extremely short-lived in a floating market, whereupon currencies that have changed may increase to a point of being more valuable than before the change." (Cf. the Canadian dollar, the Swedish kronor, any former currency in the Euro zone, the Russian ruble, etc.)

I'm also looking for some clause that says, "The recent redesigns of the US currency across all denominations except the $1 don't apply, because..." No, it would seem those redesigns would fall under "any change". So, again, you seem to be saying that it's the redesigns that have led to the fall in the US dollar, and not other macroeconomic reasons. Or, at the very least, you're not saying what weight should be given to the various possible reasons. (For example, are you saying the dollar wouldn't have fallen if the redesigns hadn't taken place?)

"Changing from a bill to a coin devalues it even more because it shows the insignificance of the one dollar, the unit of measurement of the currency."

As mentioned, there are at least two currencies where this hasn't been true -- Canadian dollars and Swedish kronor, where their "unit of measurement" was recently replaced by coins. (I suspect, though don't know off the top of my head, that it was also true among some of the constituent currencies of the Euro zone.) Do you have any examples of when it has been true?

To use your own tone and standard, did you even understand what you were writing? Or did you rely on your reader to telepathically know what you meant, rather than what you wrote, even when that would be a direct contradiction of what you wrote?

This is one of the possible problems in writing phrases that read as if they're true under all circumstances. Especially when there are, you know, a number of circumstances when they're obviously not true. :)
why would changing out paper money devalue it? We all know that currency is evaluated as a contexualized pile of bits in a computer. Fractional banking implies that real, tangible, paper is only 1-3% of the cash reserves in the market. If the dollar were to be replaced with a coin, my coke would/should still cost a buck, not suddenly inflate to the next higher paper denomination.
Where do you think the value of the dollar comes from? Currency markets are affected by all sorts of different actions.

The reason why all bills are the same size and largely use the classic green ink and the original design is vastly the same is because of the historic strength of the USD and wanting to maintain that appearance.
I doubt there's very many currency traders who actually shuffle piles of cash around.

The paper money isn't the basis for the value of the dollar; the dollar is the basis for the value of the paper money.
I think you're looking at the issue completely on the surface. The matter isn't if people feel that the paper is worth less -- it's the change in design of a document that reflects stability and strength. Currency markets reflect all sorts of concerns, and a major change in the design of US currency reflects a willingness to change and perhaps a change in financial policy.

This isn't just a theory I made up -- feel free to google around and you'll find supporting evidence.
[info]qarl : Coins are good

I have the other side to your $8 story. I just checked the coins in me pockets and found $15. That was 9 coins, so it isn't a huge burdan to carry. Of course my dollars (New Zealand) are worth less than yours, so it is about US$11. 5 years ago it would have been US$6.
You know, here in Canada, I really miss the $1 and $2 bills. The only "bonus" is that as I sift through my change purse in the cash-lite days leading up to payday I can usually pull out about $10 in coins.
(anonymous) : Two words
Strip Clubs

Handing the stripper a $1 coin just doesn't have the same cache as sliding a $1 bill into her g-string
[info]ghewgill : Re: Two words
I was wondering whether somebody was going to bring up that all-American use of $1 bills.
[info]6opou : Re: Two words
I was gonna point this out, too, but someone beat me to it. I did notice that the sex shows in Amsterdam weren't set up to give money to the strippers.
(anonymous) : Re: Two words
I don't know about other places, but when I was in Australia (where the $5 bill is the lowest paper currency) the strip clubs offered laminated coupons about the size of a dollar bill (pre-folded) in $2 denomination in $20 blocks. At the time, AU$2 was about US$1.

And, of course, there was no refund for unspent money.
I for one welcome our new coin-slotted, stripping overlords.
[info]texaspatsfan : Get over yourself!
paper dollars >>>>>> dollar coins.

although, if there were only coins under $5, I would certainly save a lot of money, because I generally don't carry coins with me. Which probably means I'd never have cash and someone would always be spotting me!


I already carry a ton of stuff in my pockets. Coins would just be too much.

    Things I have on my body right now.
  1. Work mobile phone
  2. 4" pocket knife
  3. 2 security badges
  4. Keychain with 7 keys
  5. Wallet
  6. Blackberry
  7. Sunglasses

I need a man-bag.

[info]libertango : Dollars
The problem isn't that there are "too many" $1 bills in circulation. That can be fixed easily by taking them out and replacing them with whatever the replacement is (think of the redesigned $5, $10, $50, $100, and the two $20 designs in the last ten years or so).

No, the dollar coins failed by design precisely because the Treasury refuses to make enough of them, and pull the old $1 out of circulation.

One story I've heard -- not sure if it's urban legend or not -- is that the vending machine operators are die-hard against any dollar coin, mostly because of the necessity to upgrade their entire installed base to accomodate one.

On the other hand, I certainly know there have been a number of studies where dollar coins would save the government (and thus, the voters -- same thing in a democracy, after all) tons of money because of their increased durability, thus cutting into replacement costs.

Yet another way that Amurrican culture has no sense when it comes to making money.
[info]decibel45 : Re: Dollars
The average life of a $1 bill is 18 months.
[info]libertango : Oops
Oh, and we've all forgotten...

The US has tried three dollar coins. We're leaving out the Eisenhower dollar (which I always thought was cool as a kid, because the back is reminds me of a NASA patch for Apollo).

These days, those few remaining in circulation are mostly at Las Vegas casinos for the slot machines.
[info]cetan : Re: Oops
I have about 10 of those Eisenhower dollar coins stashed away at my parents house. I fogot all about them until your post. :)
It's a Where's George conspiracy.
Greg Hewgill <>