We Should Change Our Currency
Remember early in the movie "Ray"? Remember how Jamie Foxx, as blind singing legend Ray Charles, angrily caught the guy who was paying him short? I think of that scene every time I think of the current dispute over what our currency ought to look and feel like. Last month, remember, a federal judge ruled that the Treasury Department's failure to make bills more distinguishable to blind people violates federal law. And earlier this week, to no one's surprise, the feds appealed that decision.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson wrote in his controversial ruling about ways in which blind people currently manage to distinguish between greenbacks. "Visually impaired Americans have developed a variety of
methods for keeping track of the value of their paper money after their bills have been properly identified for them," he wrote. "Ms. Brunson folds her currency into different shapes: she keeps $1 bills straight; she folds $5 bills in half left-to-right, $10 bills in half top-to-bottom, and $20 bills in quarters. Dep. of Melanie Brunson, [#33-2, at 32]. Other blind individuals keep different denominations in separate parts or pockets of their wallets or purses." This is poignant. He also wrote about the ways in which blind people can be cheated. That is sad. It's no wonder the judge found that the Treasury Department's current unfriendly policy toward the blind violates the federal Rehabilitation Act.
The trial court ruling is not unreasonable-- whether it is upheld on appeal is another question. But apart from the legal future of the case, it's a topic worth talking about. Nearly 1 million Americans are legally blind. We revise the look of our money all the time, gradually phasing out old styles while introducing new ones. Just in the past few years the Treasury Department has changed the look of our paper money to better foil copycats. So why can't the feds do the same to help blind people better tell when they are holding a Lincoln and when they are holding a Washington or a Franklin? The model for change already exists. What does not, at least until now, is the will to use it.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: MC | December 13, 2006 07:35 PM
Posted by: Constititionalist | December 14, 2006 03:52 AM
Posted by: Ryan | December 14, 2006 03:36 PM
Posted by: Constitutionalist | December 14, 2006 03:53 PM
Posted by: Dave | December 16, 2006 12:26 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.