United States currency discriminates against the blind, according to a federal appeals court ruling handed down today. Because the dollar amounts of same-size skrilla are not distinguishable by touch, the visually impaired suffer unreasonably.
The Treasury Department fell short of demonstrating why it would be too burdensome to design distinguishable dollars. The legal opinion stated that the cost of the redesign is not out of line with other design decisions made by the Treasury. The United States is the only country that prints paper currency with an identical size and feel, no matter the denomination. Canada's dollar, for example, has Braille on it.
So how much discriminatory currency is it going to take to right this wrong? To find out how much,
New machines for printing the blind-proof bills will cost about $228 million. But this amount just opens a Pandora's box of prices — it will cost around $3.5 billion to make vending machines compatible, not to mention wallets, ATMs . . .
To what ends should the US go to make sure the blind know whether they have George Washington or Benjamin Franklin in their wallets? Does the fact that the US is the only country that does not accommodate the blind in this manner demonstrate that the request is reasonable?