Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Modest Proposal

So I was going over my credit card statements for the last several months, and I noticed something interesting. The overwhelming majority of my purchases seemed to average about $40 a piece. Dinner out with my lovely wife, about 40 smackers. Gassing up the car, make it 40 bucks. Grocery shopping to stock up the old larder, you guessed it, forty clams. Of course, there were other expenses that were more or less than forty, but a remarkable majority hovered right around the forty dollar mark. Seems to me that forty is quickly becoming the new twenty. I mean, think about it, you stop by your local ATM and hit the quick cash button and what does the machine hand you? Bingo! Forty beans. So here's my idea...

I think the U.S. Treasury should issue a new 40 dollar bill with...oh, I don't know, let's say Millard Fillmore on it. After all, with a name like Millard Fillmore, the guy needs every break he can get.

I'm also a big proponent of getting rid of the dollar bill and using those nifty new presidential dollar coins we've been minting, finally putting us on a par with more sophisticated countries like Canada and Great Britain which both replaced their single bills with cool-looking coins. But, knowing the general intractability of the American public, that's a slippery slope I'm not quite ready to start climbing at this moment.

Spare change, anyone?

11 comments:

Michael A. Burstein said...

Soon enough, I bet those $40 expenses will become $50 expenses...so there'll be no need for your modest proposal anymore.

Eliot Wagner said...

The problem with moving to dollar coins is more political than anything else. It seems the company which supplies paper for bills has lobbied successfully for years to prevent this. But in monetary terms, there are real savings replacing the dollar bill, which circulates for an average of 17 months, with a dollar coin, which would circulate on the average of about thirty years.

Larry Hancock said...

Larger sized bills might be a good idea, but I would not suggest a $40. Perhaps a $75 bill or similar. My reasoning is simple. It does not make sense to issue a coin or bill in a denomination that can be broken down into only two smaller denominations. Think about it... why do $20 bills exist, but in coinage there is a quarter? It seems to me to make sense that all along there should have been a $25 bill rather than a $20 bill. It is too late to make that change now; but as inflation grows and larger denominations are necessary, let's have some people actually THINK about what is necessary, rather than just issue a new bill or coin for convenience. Here in Canada we should not have gone to the $2 "twoonie" but rather jumped straight to replacing the $5 bill with a new coin - but one that is much smaller and lighter and our current $1 and $2 coins which weigh our pockets down.

Larry Hancock

Roger Green said...

Millard Filmore: last of the Whig Presidents. There were 4 Whig Presidents, serving a total of 8 years. Two were elected (WH Harrison, Z Taylor) but died in office; two (J Tyler , M Filmore) completed their terms.

Because you didn't ask.

Jon Marvin said...

Len, while the coins are a good idea, there is one aspect of it that no one took into account when the Canadian government went with the Looney (other than the ridicule for the name): Prices in vending machines quickly went to $1, as did subway/bus tokens (and just as quickly surpassed that barrier). Be careful what you wish for...

Brent McKee said...

As a Canadian I have to tell you, the only way this thing can work is if you stop making the dollar bill as soon as you start issuing dollar coins. Tough love like that is the only way things get done. And while you're at it, do a two dollar coin too.

The "Loonie" as a name works well, particularly when we got the two dollar coin, the "Toonie" (our coins are "loonie toonie" hah hah) but it only came about because the government sent the dies for the original design by a commercial courier company that proceeded to lose them. Rather than risk counterfeiting, the came up with a new design featuring a bird, the Loon.

Larry Hancock said...

Prior to the $2 coin being released in Canada, many people speculated on what nickname we might give it... one choice was the obvious one that eventually stuck... the toonie/two-nie. Personally, I was sort of hoping it might have been the "doubloonie".. would allow for a lot more pirate talk in everyday life!

The Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here in Australia we have both one and two dollar coins...and the bills are printed on plastic.

Anonymous said...

As soon as weird coincidences like that become a daily event, it's time to think about chucking the whole thing before it gets any worse. If they started minting forty-buck tokens, and every purchase could be expected to cost exactly 1 token, could a planet of clones be that far along down the line?

adam brown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.