To the editor:
My fellow Americans:
I am an American citizen, born in the USA, and have lived in Canada for the last 50 years, since a child. I have been proud of my heritage and country of birth, and never considered taking citizenship in any other country. I have to say that today, however, my pride is waning, and waning quickly.
A recent article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise has prompted me to write this letter - on the relatively innocuous subject of converting the dollar bill to a coin. Rep. Lacy Cay, D-Mo., says that "men don't like carrying a bunch of coins around in their pockets." This person is an elected official who is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the public? Is this possible? It must be nice to live in a country so rich that saving $4.4 billion means nothing compared to the inconvenience of carrying a few coins in one's pocket. No wonder streets are paved with gold!
Another, Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., says that the conversion should not be made because past attempts have proved too hard to distinguish from quarters? We put a man on the moon more than 40 years ago, but we cannot solve this coin problem? It is unbelievable to me that someone can make such a statement.
She also says "if the people don't want it and they don't want to use it, why are we even talking about changing it?" Do you know what people want? They want to spend money that they do not have without any consequence. This is exactly what has been going on for decades. Has this person heard of the national debt? Do you understand how much of your tax dollars go to servicing this debt? Do the people really believe that there is no consequence to the government spending more money than they take in year after year? Elected officials have the responsibillty to make decisions for us that perhaps many (even, yes, at times most) "don't want." We have to save money and pay down the debt. Do we understand what the consequences are to our children and their children if we do not take action now? We are going to give up $4.4 billion in savings because we do not want a few extra coins in our pocket, or because we just do not like change (pun intended)? Are these people really serious?
If we have to listen to such nonsense on such a simple subject as saving money on a switch from a dollar bill to a dollar coin, how can we make a sensible decision on how to avoid the imminent fiscal cliff scenario? We will avoid this cliff as it cannot be otherwise, but I am sure that the decision to avert will be based on some hodgepodge political comprise that will not tackle the hard issues with hard and responsible decisions.
This simple example of the paper vs. coin debate is symptom of something very bad going on in my country. I am not happy, I am not hopeful, and today at least - I am not proud.
Westmount (Montreal), Quebec