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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Blind faith

I know the mark of a civilized society is how much the majority is willing to slow down to help those who have trouble keeping up, but this is just silly::

The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills' varying values, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

In how many ways are the blind -- or the deaf or the invalid or the, uh, aging ungracefully -- unable to participate fully in ordinary life? How much should everybody else have to give to level the playing field?


Bob G.
Wed, 05/21/2008 - 9:32am

If memory serves (from the mean old treasury Dept days)...INTAGLIO printing (what's been used on US currency) is already (very) slightly raised...that's why it's hard to properly duplicate, and someone with a heightened tactile sense could probably notice that.

But...this latest "thing" holds about as much water as those BRAILLE parking garage signs...I mean WHO the hell is driving around while BLIND, anyway?
Oh wait...this is Fort Wayne.
OK, bad example.

But haven't the physically-challenged been around since the model came out? And didn't THEY manage to get by OK over the millenia?

What's next? Lighter sentences for the societally-depraved?
Oh, wait...we already have that.
Bad example.

Here's one...if we REALLY want to discriminate, how's about we take ALL the money that has the words IN GOD WE TRUST on it AWAY from the ATHEISTS?
AT least THAT would be honest discrimination.



tim zank
Wed, 05/21/2008 - 11:48am

According to the The American Federation For The Blind there are 1.3 million legally blind U.S. citizens.

Out of over 300 million.....

Makes perfect sense to completely overhaul and retool the currency system at a cost of GAZILLIONS to accomodate .0004 % of the population.

Your tax dollars at work!

Harl Delos
Wed, 05/21/2008 - 3:37pm

They stopped printing bills larger than $100 in 1945. Over the years, though, that $100 bill has gotten smaller in buying power. It takes $1186 in 2008 money to equal the buying power of a $100 bill in 1945.

And gas stations refuse to accept $100 bills, even though a full tank of gas costs $75.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says a bill costs 6.2 cents to produce, and it only lasts about 18 months. They tell us that kids are counterfeiting money with computer printers. I tried scanning a $20 bill and printing it on my color laser printer and darned, but it looks good. It feels a little different, but I suspect if I weren't such a cheapskate when I buy paper, I bet I could solve that problem. Nobody looks for that embedded thread.

And if you're someplace dark, like buying tickets at the movie house, or at a concession stand at the fair, or my wife is rifling the pockets of my pants while I'm asleep, it's pretty hard to tell whether it's a one or a twenty.

Remember the complaints about the Susan B Anthony dollar, how people couldn't tell it from a quarter? And those weren't the 1.3 million legally blind who were complaining, nor the 1200 people (0.0004% of the US population) that Tim Zank wants to throw under the bus.

The point is, we probably ought to simply discontinue printing paper money at all. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says a bill only lasts 18 months, and that it costs 6.2 cents to produce. Can that be right? That'd mean the US Treasury is paying about 4% per year on all the paper money in circulation!

If we started coining $5 coins, and single- and double-eagles,
that would do the trick. Coins last about 25 years. It costs about 1.25 cents to produce a penny, and most of that is the metal, which we recover in 25 years when we melt down the worn-out coin and produce a new one, so it would be a LOT cheaper than continuing to produce paper money.

You've got a point about the "In God We Trust" phrase, BG, but that's what gives money its value. If we printed "In Politicians We Trust", nobody would accept US money.

Bob G.
Thu, 05/22/2008 - 7:50am

LMAO...and that would INCLUDE the politicians I take it?

The *411* is that we might see STEEL coinage once again, due to increasing prices for NICKEL and ZINC.
(btw, you can "toy" with that security thread from bills, but I can't divulge how to do it...sorry, USTD confidentiality)

Remember, nothing is foolproof...IF you have the right fool.