Do you hate the $1 coin?

Posted by Robyn on Sep 23, 2008 in Politics

First of all, WTF penny? Go away. I am 100% in favor of getting rid of the penny. Heck, we could probably get rid of everything south of the quarter, and I’d be happy.

Ok, so the main reasons people keep giving for wanting to hang onto the $1 bill are that it’s cheaper to make, and it’s more convenient. First of all, $1 coins are crazy cheaper in the long run. $1 bills are technically “cheaper” to make, but coins last much longer, making them a lot more economical. That’s the whole reason the treasury would prefer to make the switch, and why they are advertising the coins.

Though a coin costs about three times as much to produce as a bill, it will circulate for an average of 30 years, whereas a dollar bill lasts 22 months, and for the last few of those, has all the charm of a grimy, germy handkerchief. In 2002, the United States General Accounting Office (now called the Government Accountability Office)* said we’d save $500 million a year in production costs if we shifted to coins; another GAO document puts the savings even higher, at $747.5 million.

Convenience is all a matter of personal opinion, but I would much rather keep a few coins on hand for things like vending machines, parking, tolls, laundry, and car washes. Getting those things to take $1 bills is sheer torture, if they take them at all. I understand that men don’t carry a purse. Fine. But you have these things called “pockets” where you already carry the rest of your change.

The catch is, people have to use them. Surveys suggest that the public prefers keeping the bill, by margins that vary widely from poll to poll, but the chief hold-up is habit. Shoppers won’t use dollar coins till they see businesses taking them; businesses won’t use them until banks give them out routinely; and the banks aren’t going to invest in infrastructure changes, like new coin-counting machines, until they see the public using the coins. Everyone’s waiting for someone else to move first.

But overall, I guess this response proves my point. Until they stop making $1 bills, people aren’t going to use the coins. Most people are sheep creatures of habit, so as I said before, the only way to get the $1 coin accepted is to stop printing $1 bills.

Same source as before. Seriously, you should actually read it this time. Don’t make me link it again.

Oh, and WTF penny? Go away.


Stop Printing One Dollar Bills

Posted by Robyn on Sep 22, 2008 in Politics

So, I have been hearing these new radio advertisements about yet another new one dollar coin. These ads are all about how great dollar coins are, and how everyone should use them, right? Well, I know another fantastic way to get people to use them. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to get people to use them.


Apparently, the Treasury isn’t allowed to stop printing dollar bills, though. It only carries out orders from Congress. And apparently, I kid you not, there is a dollar bill lobby.

They come, principally, from three groups: the folks at the BEP; Mississippi cotton farmers, whose fibers make up the 100-percent-rag currency paper; and Crane & Company, a Massachusetts paper mill known for excellent stationery and a century-old papermaking contract with the government. Around the time the Sacagawea was proposed, they formed a lobbying group called Save the Greenback, which, according to press accounts, had the ear of Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and, back when he was in Congress, Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Source. I highly recommend the article. It’s a great read.

Now, I personally can’t think of a single good reason to keep the dollar bill. Most small cash transactions are pretty automated these days — vending machines, car washes, tolls — and coins are MUCH easier to deal with.

What do you guys think?


Electoral College Crap

Posted by Robyn on Sep 8, 2008 in Politics

I am starting to hope that Obama wins the electoral vote, but McCain wins the popular vote. Now, I know there’s a very slim chance of that happening, but here’s why I hope for it. The electoral college is antiquated and does not reflect the votes of each American equally. Many voters in strongly “red” or “blue” states feel that their votes don’t matter.

And they’re right!

Since Bush won a narrow electoral victory, but lost the popular vote in 2000, the Republican party held tighter than ever onto a system that had just proven itself to be broken. If a Democrat were to win by electoral votes only, I think both parties might finally be willing to abolish the electoral college, and really make every vote count equally.

If America wants to stand as a global model of democracy, it’s time for both parties to stop focusing on what’s best for them, and focus on what’s best for the country.

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