I think several threads on the Sacajawea Dollar have missed the broader question of general coinage reform. I think this is an idea whose time has come. I came to this conclusion recently one day when I was idly looking at the four coins then in my pocket. Each of the four commonly circulating denominations was represented: penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. The purpose of money is to be a convenient medium of exchange. So, by way of a thought experiment, I went through my coins one by one:
Q: This is a penny. Can I buy any article of merchandise in any store with this? A. No.
Q: This is a nickel. Can I buy any article of merchandise with this? A. No.
And similarly with the dime and the quarter. I wondered why they even bother to make them any more. I shared these thoughts with my beloved, and she said, “But what about parking meters? And I just bought an art pencil the other day for $.16.”. Well OK, but it used to be that
pencils, just about the cheapest article of merchandise one can buy anywhere, cost a penny or two. A similar argument might be made in the case of parking meters. They used to take pennies, a few of which were presumably sufficient to cover a typical parking meter visit.
Now I know we can’t roll back prices to those of the fabled good old pre-inflationary days. So it would seem that something will have to be done with the coinage system, unless we end up making all transactions electronically and eliminate cash altogether?
What are your thoughts?
(Moderators, I put this here because it doesn’t seem to be great enough to be a GD. But if you think differently by all means promote it to GD.)