Americans can be a stubborn lot. I remember when I was in school back in the 1960s and 70s, and we were told that those inches and yards and gallons and pints were so passé and regressive, and that the metric system that that progressive Europeans use was the future. Well, that future still hasn’t arrived in the good old US of A. I was reminded of that when I read an article about gold dollar coins, and how Americans at heart, despite a 20th Century explosion of government, are not the sheep our progressive and maybe not so progressive elites’ wish they were.
It seems Americans like their dollar bills, despite their tendency to wear out a lot faster than coins. Yet that hasn’t stopped the federal government from trying time to time to get us hooked on dollar coins. The latest attempt by green eye shade public servants is failing spectacularly, and costing a lot of money in the process. Well, not a lot of money in the monopoly money world of the federal government.
The U.S. government, its vaults stuffed with 1.4 billion one-dollar coins bearing the likenesses of dead presidents, has had enough of them. It is going to curtail production. . . .
More than 40% of the coins that are minted are returned to the government unwanted, the Treasury said. The rest apparently sit in vending machines—one of the few places they are widely used—or in the drawers of coin collectors.
What the coins don’t do is get around much. In fact, the Mint has never had much luck with dollar coins. The Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-1981, revived for one year in 1999) never caught on; some people said it was too close in size to the quarter. Neither did the Sacagawea Golden Dollars (2000-2008) or its successor, the Native American $1 Coin, which has the same front but a different back.
Yet that didn’t stop Congress in 2005, when I believe it was controlled by Republicans, to mandate (there’s that word that Americans don’t seem to cotton to) the gold coins. Sure Americans have embraced the welfare state to a large degree, but they also don’t see the redistribution of wealth as a threat to their liberty and freedoms, although they should. Yet when government by force of law tries to get them doing something they don’t want to do, or not doing something they want to do, Americans often rebel. Prohibition didn’t work out well. Dollar coins are another small example. The Boston Tea Party it is not, but it does tell us something about the American psyche.
Maybe there is hope yet.