Whither the $1,000 Bill?

Why aren’t there any $1,000 bills in circulation? I wondered that recently as I’ve become a fan of Pres. Grover Cleveland and he’s on the $1,000 bill so I thought it would be fun to have a $1,000 bill to frame.

But there aren’t any at the bank. And though there are a few around in private collections, they cost a lot more than $1,000.

It turns out that in 1969 Pres. Nixon issued an executive order to remove them, and any remaining “high-denomination” bills (i.e. $500 and above), from circulation in an attempt to “curb” crime. Whether one can consider that order a success I know not. We still seem to have crime…

However, the $1,000 bill remains legal tender (though you’d be a fool to use it for $1,000 – see above).

Increasingly I am against laws that exist for nothing more than to make it easier for police to do their job or pretend to do their job — all the while making the lives of law-abiding citizens more difficult (see gun control).

Thousand dollar bills weren’t harming anyone in of themselves (no moreso than the existence of money itself). The United States used to circulate $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills, but no more. Gold Certificates of $100, $1,000, $10,000 and $100,000 were eliminated in the 1930s courtesy of Roosevelt’s gold seizure. Free the gold! I say.

I think that $1,000 bills (along with $500 and maybe $5,000 and $10,000) should be brought back. I bet if they offered to put a politically correct chick on one of those suddenly a lot more of our liberal cultural superiors would be for it!

But seriously, I think making the economy more cash-based would help revive our increasingly sclerotic economy. Cash gives a visceral sense of value to money. I think that’s been lost. The creditization of the economy has spurred inflation as people become detached from the value of money. Don’t even get me started on “quantitative easing.”

Think about it. When you go to the store with only cash, you tend to watch your spending. You have to watch your spending lest you try to buy more than you have cash for. But with that magic credit card, suddenly that impulse item — a coconut crème pie! — is within reach! Suddenly a treat, something to be saved for, becomes, for all practical purposes, an everyday item. I do this all the time myself. Cash makes people spend wisely (usually).

When money is just a bunch of blips, bright numbers on a screen, or something to be handled later, it loses some of its value.

Don’t get me wrong — credit is a wonderful thing. And checks and credit cards are vital tools for survival and even thriving in the modern world (really, who would want to push a wheelbarrow of cash to a house settlement?). But they’ve done some harm by pushing cash out of many transactions. We’ve lost a sense of value with them. I feel we need to bring that value back so we can understand that things just aren’t “free” because we don’t see their immediate cost (this could lead into a long disquisition on our ‘entitlement” mentality but I’ll save that for another day).

Oh, yes, I am becoming a hard money person. I shall return to this subject.


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