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Viewpoint: Keep the cent and paper dollar

cent170By Edward W. Coles

I am writing this in response to the letter written by Bill Tuttle and his argument that we need to discontinue the penny and the dollar bill. He asks, “When will we ever learn?” Well, my question is why don’t we just remember how we got here?

I recall reading that Thomas Jefferson (in 1784) offered that our money should be set up on a decimal system. Basically he said the dollar should have 100 parts and be divided into tenths.

Since then it seems the entire world has adopted the decimal system. To eliminate the cent makes the dollar not work well as a medium of exchange.

As I recall from my college days, it seems that our economy has a basic requirement that when money is used to purchase things, especially if a check is written, it needs to be written in a sum certain. The decimal system is much the same. When a purchase is made it is made for a sum certain.

Just because a government can save a few bucks by not allowing a purchase to be made for a sum certain, it seems to me to be a very lame excuse.

Mr. Tuttle mentioned that Canada is saving tons of money by eliminating the cent. First, I don’t think governments need to save money by allowing their citizens to be inflated into the higher values simply because the government wants to save money when their responsibility is to accommodate its citizens. I predict that all the fallout is not over from Canada no longer manufacturing the cent. It is my thinking that they will rue the day they dropped the cent simply to save a buck or two.

Much the same can be said of the dollar bill. Our government has made several attempts to eliminate the paper dollar. Basically, the folks have said we like our paper dollar and why mess up a good thing? Up to now we have kept the paper dollar.

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I think if I were in charge of things I would do something about our money. I can remember back when the dollar was called a Silver Certificate. You could go to a bank and exchange a paper dollar for a silver dollar; not a problem. It happened often. Perhaps we should amend the Constitution and note that the U.S. dollar is worth one ounce of silver. The argument that Mr. Tuttle proposes that we will never learn might not have a solid foundation.

I could pose a theory that if the United States is to accept the role of being a world leader, our money needs to have a strong and safe floor. There are those who project that as we build up our national debt, the value of our dollar becomes less.

One final point for Mr. Tuttle. We could save the government a great deal of money simply by making only $100 bills. KISS stands for “Keep it simple, stupid.” If we were to make only $100 bills when the amount was less than $100 you would round down and get it for free.

If you haven’t figured out by now that I am not a fan of rounding down or up, it could be that history too has lost its value.

This “Viewpoint” was written by hobbyist Edward W. Coles of Cameron, Mo.

 

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