The Gray Line Tour: Defending unpopular dollars

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2002


Dollars are unpopular, nowadays. Not the concept of a dollar, to be sure. However, people are not flocking to carry Sacagawea dollar coins in their pockets.

The United States Mint has produced 1.3 billion of these coins since January 2000. You wouldn’t know it, though. How many have you ever seen in circulation?

The actual cost of making a dollar coin is about 12 cents, but it lasts for about 30 years.

On the other hand, a dollar bill, which is actually linen, costs only three cents to make, but they only last about 18 months.

The Mint is knocking themselves out, trying to find ways to make dollar coins more popular and used in circulation. However, most people don’t want the heavy coins in their pockets.

To me, the answer is simple – stop printing dollar bills. After a few years, dollar bills will be scarce, and the Mint can flood the country with the coins. People won’t like it, but what choice would they have?

This answer horrifies Congress, though, because the answer is wildly unpopular. This is ironic, though, since the reverse was true 100 and more years ago “when a dollar was a dollar.”

How times change!

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur. He may be reached at (985) 652-9545.