Last month the Supreme Court ruled U.S. paper money discriminates against the blind. I don’t disagree.
Close your eyes, reach into your wallet and try to distinguish between a $1 bill and a $5 bill. Impossible? It’s also discriminatory, a federal appeals court says. Since all paper money feels pretty much the same, the government is denying blind people meaningful access to the currency, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday.
What followed was an out roar on the potential costs associated with changing the currency to avoid such discrimination.
The decision could force the Treasury Department to make bills of different sizes or print them with raised markings or other distinguishing features.
Treasury has previously considered making different sizes of bills but ran into opposition from makers of vending and change machines. Government lawyers raised this issue in court, saying it could cost billions to redesign vending machines.
All very expensive solutions. A couple years ago I heard of a simple solution, and was reminded of it by a letter in the WSJ yesterday:
Your "Money is Blind" editorial (May 21) does not mention the least expensive solution to make our bills recognizable by the blind: Cut off the corners – $100 no corners cut off, $50 cut one, $20 cut two, $10 cut three, $5 cut all four.
How simple is that? I bet the amount of money the government has already spent fighting the other proposed changes would pay for the simple cutting equipment to accomplish this task. The only modification I’d make is to do the corner-cutting in reverse, so the $1 bill has no corners cut off. That way the bill with presumably the highest production volume would require the least amount of secondary operations.