Americans still don’t like dollar coins

According to an NPR story this week, the Federal Reserve is sitting on a billion dollars worth of the $1 Sacagawean and Presidential coins, and the program to replace dollar bills with the metal coins has largely been deemed a failure. The government spends millions annually to mint new coins in order to introduce all the US presidents, resulting in millions languishing in vaults a la “Scrooge McDuck” said Planet Money’s David Kestenbaum. Despite the fact that they are legal tender and the government’s many efforts to promote their use, Americans still distrust the dollar coin.

Why the reason for the distrust? Americans claim they are difficult to spend, not recognized by many merchants, or just weigh down pockets too much. Perhaps we should ask our foreign neighbors how they have integrated them into daily life. America is one of the few countries in the developed world to use a $1 banknote and the only one of the top five traded currencies (including the Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen, and Australian dollars) to use a bill in such a small denomination. Canada replaced the dollar bill with the “loonie” coin in 1987 and the British pound note has been out of circulation since 1983. Is taking away the $1 bill the only way to get Americans to use the coin? We reported earlier this year on a possible way to earn frequent flyer miles by purchasing dollar coins, a legal (but not encouraged by the US Mint) practice that may actually contribute to this back log of currency. Maybe go out and spend the coins instead and hope the trend catches on.


Photo courtesy Flickr user cometstarmoon. Hat tip to Honza Kerver for the NPR story link.

Horror of Horrors: US Dollar Now as Worthless as Canadian Dollar!

Well, I guess Americans such as myself can no longer make fun of our neighbors to the north.

It wasn’t so long ago that the almighty American dollar was so strong in Canada that I could wander across the border and with the loose change in my pocket buy a couple of Canadian manservants to clean my house and wash my laundry.

This is not the case anymore. The US dollar, after hitting an all-time low against the euro earlier this week, has continued its dismal slide to the point where one US dollar is now equal to one Canadian dollar.

Yes, folks, it’s a 1-to-1 exchange rate with the Canucks!

Can it get any worse?!?!? Not only has Canada become an expensive travel destination for us poor American mopes, but now our entire nation is going to be “on sale” as legions of Canadians pour across the border in search of shiny trinkets and cheap baseball hats.