Skip to main content

Saying one thing, doing another?

I have written that coins will be a viable medium of exchange beyond my lifetime on a number of occasions over the last 10 years. My assertion usually is prompted by the reports of their imminent demise.

But I am not blind to the current low production level of coinage at the U.S. Mint and the multiplication of uses of credit and debit cards in daily life.

It is not that I don’t believe more transactions will be handled electronically. More certainly will be. I simply believe that there are places and occasions where coins have their uses.

While I still believe this, certainly my own actions show the trend line for coin use is going down, even in nonelectronic moments. Another competitor is paper money.

I was driving on the Illinois Tollway yesterday. Beforehand I stocked a good supply of $1 bills so that I could get through the booths as quickly as possible.

Most drivers have IPass, which is a good idea for regular users. For the few times that I travel in that state, it is not a reasonable alternative for me.

So I stuff the $1 bills in my shirt pocket and pull them out as I need them.

In former days, I used to raid the coin container at home for tolls. However, the elimination of most coin collection baskets and the increase in tolls to even amounts like $1 and $1.50 have reduced the need for me to plan to take a quantity of coins along.

In all my writings I have said inflation is what eventually will kill U.S. coin use. It has certainly done a substantial job of that on the tollway.