There are a number of bad ideas with which America and its component States regularly flirt: Federal involvement in the BCS, treating sugar like booze and tobacco, Esperanto. We take certain bad ideas, and dive in head-first – “The War on Drugs”, making the NJ State Song a track featuring the lyrics “It’s a death trap / It’s a suicide rap / We gotta get out while we’re young”. We take some good ideas, and completely ignore or ridicule them – the metric system, widespread implementation of 24-hour time.
Aside – Can anyone give me one good reason that we don’t all operate on 24-hour, military-style time? Do you know why the military uses 24-hour time? Because it’s less prone to screw-ups. Nobody has ever woken up at 1900 hrs, panicked that they were going to be late for work.
As generations of Americans get progressively dumber and dumber, why are we burdening our decaying brains with additional questions as to whether the next episode of whatever nonsense Kardashian TV show gets trotted out starts at mid-morning or late-evening? How much ink and paper and computer memory is wasted on those two completely unnecessary letters, “AM” or “PM”?
Think about this: Computers were designed to understand that a “19-” prefix was implied in all years input in dates, just to save a little bit of computer memory. If everything operated on 24-hour time, we would have saved the two characters that then could’ve used in dates, and would have avoided a slew of apocalyptic Y2K predictions.
Don’t give me any BS about a clock face being set for 12 hours – if we can make a face for 12 hours, we can make one for 24 hours. This is the most common-sense change that nobody bothers discussing just because the way it is, is the way things have been done. It’s not difficult. I use 24-hour time on my phone, computer, watches, and everything else I own that has time options. I’ve adjusted fine. The day that I am unable to subtract twelve from a full number to figure out how to relay a time to others, I have much greater issues. Rant over.
Anyway, recently I read this:
Sens. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), John McCain (R., Ariz.) and two colleagues Tuesday are introducing legislation that would kill off the dollar bill in favor of dollar coins, touting the move as a way to cut costs over the long run.
I feel like this gets proposed every few years, and, thankfully, goes away after a few months. With all of the money the government wastes on assorted BS, THIS is how we’re going to pinch pennies? You’ve got to be shitting me. Right off the top of my head, here are five reasons why widespread dollar coin use is a horrible idea:
- Americans Don’t Want Them – According to the WSJ article quoted above, the Treasury said that 40% of the current crop of dollar coins are returned to the US Mint as “unwanted”. UNWANTED MONEY. Short of spraying money with an anthrax / syphilis cocktail, I can’t think of any way to make money “unwanted”.
- Logistical Issues- One of the main reasons people don’t want to deal with dollar coins is that they’re not as convenient to carry as dollar bills. Twenty bucks in singles is much easier to slip into a billfold than twenty dollar coins would be. Singles have their uses (more on that in a minute), and their portability is key to their usefulness. We live in a society where people who keep their phone on a belt clip are looked at with suspicion and derision (partly because a lot of them are our bosses). Do we really want to open the door to everyone walking around with those train conductor change-dispensing belts?
- Europeans DO Want Them – One of the pillars of America’s national identity is our desire to not-be Europe. We’ve banned smoking pretty much everywhere. Men don’t carry purses (minus my buddy Bry). Our music isn’t exclusively designed for people who enjoy doing Ecstasy. We’re not okay with losing wars. We hold firm to the belief that images of nudity are far more damaging to fragile young psyches than images of graphic violence. We hate soccer, except for about two weeks every four years. It’s ridiculous to even kick around this proposal in the afterglow the New York Football Giants being crowned champions of the sport that Americans, hating soccer so much, created to hijack the name “Football”. Europe loves higher denomination coins. Dollar coins would just be one more step towards the streets of America running magenta with bad track suits and personal grooming habits that would make even the cast of ‘Jersey Shore’ shudder. Well, maybe not the JS cast… but, everyone else.
- It Really Wouldn’t “Save” Much Money- We have an annual Federal budget that has been hanging out just north of a trillion dollars. The reported savings from switching to dollar coins is about $5 billion over thirty years. Just to recap, the thirty-year savings from this move represents less than one-half of one-percent of one year’s Federal spending. I’m not saying that it doesn’t save much, so you shouldn’t do it, but this is ridiculous. If you were to present this as a serious cost-cutting proposal to a Fortune 500 company, you would be fired before finishing your opening sentence. It’s like blowing thousands of dollars a week on strippers, and saying you’re going to cut costs by switching from Coca-Cola to your grocery store’s generic brand – it will save money, but is blissfully ignorant of much greater issues.
- Negative Impact on Stripper Economy – Speaking of exotic dancing, dollar bills are the oil that keeps the engine of the stripper economy humming along smoothly. Pardon the pun. Or don’t pardon it. Doesn’t matter to me. Listen, there are a lot of people who love staring at scantily clad-to-naked women. It’s understandable – the female form is one of God’s / evolution’s grander accomplishments. People may enjoy looking on excited and partying with their friends, half in-the-bag and slack-jawed leering, or using every ounce of their self-control to appear as unimpressed as possible. Singles keep this party going. Without $1 bills, how are young, attractive women going to “put myself through college”? And can you imagine the bloodshed the first time an enterprising, aspiring hip-hop artist ventures to “make it hail”?
In addition, it’d make the title of the 1997 Limp Bizkit album ‘Three Dollar Bill Y’All‘ that much more confusing.
If you want to tell me that inflation has had quite a run since we started using one-dollar bills, I’m willing to listen to that as an valid issue. However, just because you’ve identified an issue does not automatically mean your prescribed solution holds water. I mean, why not just shift capacity over to making more two-dollar bills? What about eliminating the penny? What the heck are those good for, beyond tossing into fountains and garnishing lace-less shoes?
Dollar coins are a horrible idea. I think I’ve made my case.
– What other horrible ideas have you heard floating around out there? They don’t have to be political. A 6.0% ABV LIGHT beer sounds like a pretty bad idea, concocted completely inside the private sector. I’m always looking for stupidity to ridicule, so feel free to shoot me a note. If you have your own long-form debunking of a horrible idea, I might even be willing to post or link to it (with attribution, of course).
Oh, and do you guys remember over the summer, when everyone was getting on Eli Manning’s case for saying he felt he was in the same “elite” class of QB as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, etc.? To quote the philosopher, Rasheed Wallace: “Ball don’t lie.” Congratulations to the 2011 – 2012 New York Football Giants. Great game last night.
I’m super-psyched for the big show THIS THURSDAY. Come hang out and enjoy what’s sure to be a great time.