I bring good news to those of you who feared Congress made a lot of promises but did nothing this past year: it did something! I stumbled across small but bold action last week while paging through the Financial Services appropriation, which funds both SBA and the Treasury, among other agencies. We're about to head a little off the Entrepreneurial Agenda, but I found this tidbit while on duty.
It seems that beginning last Presidents Day, the U.S. Mint is issuing new dollar coins adorned with our past Commanders in Chief. (That itself is maybe news to you, too -- a double scoop!) There will be four released each year, in order; by 2016 every dead president will have his chance to face a golden dollar. The mottoes "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust," as well as the date and mintmark, are incused -- and that is not a typo -- along the edges of the coin.
Aesthetically pleasing, maybe, but apparently also, er, borderline blasphemous. The situation was made worse, in the view of some in Congress, when some early pressings of the George Washington and John Adams dollars were found to be missing "In God We Trust" altogether. (Other coins lack the date and the mintmark, or suffer from "wrong way" printing. These errors, of course, have only driven up their value on the collectors' market; whether the new coins will catch on with merchants and consumers is another, hotly debated question.) The heathens at the Mint resisted calls to change the design, but now Congress has laid down the law. The first House amendment to the Senate amendment* to House bill H.R. 2784, Division D, Title VI, Section 623, page 109, passed by the Congress last week and signed by the president this week, contains this provision: "The design on the obverse or the reverse shall bear the inscription 'In God We Trust'."
Citizens, rest easy, and happy New Year.
*A brief Congressional primer: The original House bill funded the State Department and related agencies. The Senate Amendment deleted everything in the House bill after "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled," and substituted its own provisions for those agencies. The House amendment replaced that with a bill that consolidated eight separate appropriations bills.