The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Dollar Discriminates Against the Blind?

That's the D.C. Court of Appeals' take on things, it seems:

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court says paper money discriminates against blind people.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld a ruling that could force the U.S. to redesign its money so blind people can distinguish between values.

This is the inevitable result of our [Ed.:—"almost"] twenty years of ADA-based obsession in making life "accessible" for those with disabilities. As the public, via Congressional legislation, began demanding that private enterprises bend over backwards to improve "access" to their facilities for the disabled, the bar of what "access" is has continually been lowered. And since nobody from "the public" has really raised much of a complaint about the massive increase in costs that this legislation has incurred on businesses nationwide, it's only natural that "the public" would expect that everything should be changed to make life "easy" for the handicapped.

After all, changes that the Government mandates upon us never cost a thing, do they?

Of course, the saddest thing about this whole episode is that even staunch conservatives can't seem to recognize how destructive this continuing trend is. If this didn't stop with Congressionally-mandated curb ramps, and it didn't stop with Judicially-mandated bathroom stalls, where will this mandatory appropriation end?

Will 100% of our economy still prove not to be enough when it comes to "improving" accessibility in American public life?



#1 forest 20-May-2008
Thise curb ramps you mentioned are a good example of how there will never be a perfect world for the disabled - no matter how many onerous requirements are forced on private businesses and everyone else.

When the curb cuts became standard for sidewalks there was a problem. Seeing eye dogs were trained to stop at drop-offs over an inch or so. So the new cuts meant to acomodate wheelchairs created a hazard for the blind.
#2 DMartyr 20-May-2008
As a person with a disability (hearing impairment) I think this is absurd. Disabilities do put people at an unfair, sometimes undeserved disadvantage, but why is it the responsibility of others in society to, at their expense, somehow equate the playing field between those with disabilities and those without?

I would love if all public audio was loud enough that I could hear it as clearly as people with normal hearing. Imagine the frustration of not being able to hear at concerts and movies, or having to play music so loud the neighbors complain (or just go without listening to music). The frustration of having personal information broadcast to everyone in the room because clerks must speak louder than usual, or being delayed at appointments because you don't hear your named called, or getting annoyed looks when you ask someone to repeat something...

It would be nice if everyone could be treated absolutely equally, but the fact is, everyone is not equal. We each have to deal with our own imperfections without imposing unnecessary expense and inconveniences on the majority.

Specific to this story - most any machine that accepts paper money has sensors that detect the denomination. Are we so lacking in technology we can't come up with a small, portable type device for the blind?
#3 Waldo Jaquith 20-May-2008
It's not going to kill us to make our money feel a bit different. Lots of countries do this, and find that not only is it more convenient for most of their citizens, but it also helps foil counterfeiters. Two of the easier methods of accomplishing this are to make all of the denominations slightly different sizes and to embed raised bumps in the bill, Braille-style. We're forever changing our currency, anyway -- it's not like there's some need to recall all of the money that we have now.

It'd help to get rid of the dollar bill and replace it with a coin. I'm tired of the treasury introducing new dollar coins and then lamenting that "it just didn't catch on." It's not a freaking popularity contest. There is no free market at work here. Just stop printing dollars bills and we'll all use coins. End of story.
#4 Brian C. Ledbetter 20-May-2008

Thanks for stopping by to comment! I agree that this, in and of itself, is not a "big deal," but when we keep adding "little" costs to our daily lives to accommodate fairly arbitrary legislation, we eventually get to the point where *everything* costs more. It might be a drop in the bucket now, but where do the little drops end?

As an aside, the Judiciary, to my knowledge, doesn't have a Constitutional say in how our money is coined. I think they're [i]way[/i] out of line in this, which falls completely under the purview of Congressional authority. (Though I'd probably berate Congress just as hard for making such an arbitrary and capricious determiniation... :) )

Always a pleasure to hear from you!

#5 GarandFan 20-May-2008
I always enjoy "reading" the braille signs at the drive-up window at my bank.
#6 captainfish 21-May-2008
yeah, that is a good one. Braille on Drive up ATMs. that gets me.

Also, if these blind people had an ounce of brain matter, they would request coins as change. ALL our coins are of differing type, size, and feel just because of the need to satisfy the blind and so people can be happy feeling coins in their pockets. Yes, that would mean more coins to carry, but then that would SOLVE A PROBLEM without having to SUE SOMEONE who has nothing to do with you being blind.

DMartyr, sorry to hear about your hearing problem. Glad to know that at some point you can sue the FCC to demand unfiar practices in all audio broadcast levels.
#7 Waldo Jaquith 22-May-2008
[quote]I agree that this, in and of itself, is not a "big deal," but when we keep adding "little" costs to our daily lives to accommodate fairly arbitrary legislation, we eventually get to the point where everything costs more.[/quote]

But, again, these accommodations serve additional benefits. Surely you'll agree that we want to reduce counterfeiting? And I'm sure you can see how much simpler it would be for vending machines to identify whether a bill is a one or a five if the two were of entirely different sizes. (We've all had the experience of shoving a bill in a half dozen times, unable to get the damned thing to recognize it.)

Remember, too, that we have a population that's rapidly aging. The percentage of the population that is visually impaired is going to skyrocket in the next 20 years. Surely you'll agree that it serves a compelling national interest to make it possible for these people to continue to participate in the economy. The addition of a couple of bumps on our bills -- something that we can put on the top of every fast food soda lid in the nation, so this isn't exactly rocket science -- is rather a small change to make for such a large purpose.
#8 Michael Sanchez 02-Jun-2008
I do not like the idea of different size bills, and I do not know if braile would hold up on bills. So how about cutting out roman numerals on the bill or rounding the edges?
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