In the halls of Congress, a measure is being pushed by four senators that could well ruin American lives. Called the COINS Act, it allegedly aims to save the government money by replacing dollar bills with dollar coins.
The bipartisan bill is actually called the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS; get it?) Act. Introduced in June, it is sponsored by Senators Tom Harkin, John McCain, Michael Enzi, and Tom Coburn, who mostly represent "states with mining and metal-processing interests," writes Johns Hopkins professor Steve H. Hanke in an Op-Ed arguing against this foolish idea in today's Wall Street Journal.
Aside from their states' own interest, the senators are pushing this misguided bill because they say it will save the government money in the long run: some $13.8 billion over the next 30 years reported CNN. John McCain even says it will help strippers earn bigger tips. Granted, that's an important consideration. However, overall, Hanke explains that the idea of a dollar coin is terrible.
We agree. Here's why:
No One Likes Dollar Coins
"Oh man, let me trade you my dollar for that cool Sacagawea dollar coin you have," is a sentence that has never been uttered in human history. At my local post office, I once saw a woman wince, whisper something under her breath, and her body crumple into a slouch when the stamp machine spat out a dollar coin. When similar legislature was introduced in 2011, a poll from Lincoln Park Strategies found that 76 percent of Americans "strongly opposed" the idea of the dollar coin. Hanke points out that "The Federal Reserve already holds over a billion-dollars worth of $1 coins in storage due to the fact that people simply don't want to use them." You hear that, Mr. McCain?
Coins Are Meant To Be Lost
Coins are hard to keep track of. Thin little disks of metal slip out of pockets with abandon. And the amount of change Americans lose in their couches alone is staggering. Time reported that in 2011, the good people of this nation forfeited some $15 billion to the cushions of their furniture. America, are you prepared to lose more? In these tough fiscal times, this is not a gamble we can afford.
More Money on the Floor
I am strict believer that there is no better feeling in this world than coming home after work, taking off real pants and putting on a pair of sweats. There is, moreover, a direct connection between happiness and the speed at which real pants come off. A pocket full of dollar coins would make this process obnoxious and, perhaps, lead to a diminishment of happiness among people who suddenly find themselves scrambling around the floor for lost dollar coins instead of kicking back in their sweats, watching Seinfeld reruns. We can't have that, obviously.
Coin Purses and Fanny Packs Are Awful
Think coins are cool? Then just recall the device needed to carry them. You wallet is not built for coins, which is why you may have to invest into a coin purse or fanny pack. Are you ready to look like a Times Square tourist? Didn't think so.
You Will Never Carry Cash Again
You know those people who pay for a tomato with a credit card? Well, with the advent of the dollar coin, we may all join their ranks. Mass aversion to the dollar coin may lead to a greater boycott of cash, which would lead us all to make trifling purchases with our cards. Just imagine all the waiting around, waiting for the receipt to print out so you can sign it. Horrendous.
Think of the Strippers
Surely, exotic dancers appreciate John McCain's concern, but he is wrong about Americans simply tipping with bigger bills if the dollar bill is made extinct. A dollar is usually all that a stripper is going to get, in whatever form it is available. Which means people will be stuffing a cold metal coin into a thong. Yuck.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.