The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.This might be a good time to get rid of $1 bills and force everyone to use all those $1 coins we've been resisting for years. Wouldn't that save taxpayers a lot of money?
The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there's no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.
Courts can't decide how to design the currency, since that's up to the Treasury Department. But the ruling forces the department to address what the court called a discriminatory problem.
[The American Council for the Blind president Mitch] Pomerantz says it could take years to change the look of money and until then, he expects that similar-looking money will continue to get printed and spent. But since blindness becomes more common with age, people in the 30s and 40s should know that, when they get older, "they will be able to identify their $1 bills from their fives, tens and twenties," he said.
While the government has been fighting to overturn the lower court ruling, it has been taking some steps toward modifying U.S. currency for the visually impaired.Oh, that's why we got the purple 5? I was wondering. It's so garish — and ungreen — but I guess that's the point.
The most recent currency redesign of the $5 bill introduced in March features a giant "5" printed in purple on one side of the bill to help those with vision problems distinguish the bill.
Here's my suggestion: Let's just have $20 bills. That's all I ever get from the bank or the ATM machine. I don't want anything larger. Does anyone? $1 bills should have been retired a long time ago — and we've already got the coins — so it's really only about the $10s and $5s. Get rid of them too! Let the government make a $10 and a $5 coin and be done with it. If it's a bill, it's a $20. Problem solved. Blind people happy. It's a golden opportunity.