Most of the new US dollar coins are doing absolutely nothing right now. The modern ones, the large, gold-looking coins in production today? They’re sitting in federal vaults, collecting dust. A billion of them. Why? Because NOBODY USES THEM. And yet we still manufacture them at ridiculous rates. Planet Money says so, which makes it true. (If you’re not listening to Planet Money’s work, or that of other NPR contributors, you’re missing out.)
Let’s put aside the number of Susan B. Anthonys I’ve mistaken for quarters (I could likely ballpark that around 3-5; it’s not like anyone uses those things either), dollar coins have proven virtually useless in my existence. Aside from the novelty of the first Sacajawea I put in a Pepsi machine (which I now consider wasted; Coke is infinitely better), dollar coins have served to simply inconvenience me ever since. Anyone remember this unsightly Sacajawea-era joke?
Person A: “Excuse me, do you have change for a dollar?”
Person B: “Why certainly I do!|
Person A: “Sweet.” ::pulls out a dollar bill and gives it to Person B::
Person B: ::hands over a dollar coin:: “See? Change! For a dollar! It’s funny because it’s a coin, but it’s a whole dollar!” ::laughs:: I’m so funny! ::laughs harder:: God, I mean, that’s just so…hilarious… ::convulses and passes out from laughter::
So now the government has decided that, in order to attempt the increase of circulation of dollar coins, they want to run a series of the faces of the presidents, like they did with the state quarters. What they failed to realize is that people collected the state quarters because THEY WERE ALREADY USING QUARTERS. State quarters were not a case of tons of people looking for a hobby to replace the Pokémon cards they used to collect. And now our government has committed itself to running an entire presidential circulation of the damned things (you’d know that if you listened to the article; shame on you if you didn’t. Here’s another link. Go do yourself a favor and use 3-and-a-half minutes and listen to it).
What bothers me more than the failed attempt to get those coins into circulation is how dogmatic the government seems to be about making more of the things. They’re not in anyone’s pockets right now, they’re not going to gain ground in an increasingly pay-with-plastic world, and you’re burning taxpayer dollars making nonsense. Maybe instead of standing by old legislation that was formed on the basis that dollar coins would become popular, the government should, oh, I don’t know, stop making dollar coins. Maybe my Hate of the Day should be our uncompromising, fiscally irresponsible government?
Eh, that can be another day’s Hate. Still hating dollar coins today.