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Not Heaven Cent

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Arguing that “In God We Trust” should be displayed more prominently on the dollar coin, Michael Bridges says “The motto is something we should be proud of” (Letters, Sept. 2).  Perhaps.  But the history of that motto raises serious questions about just what sovereign Americans are being encouraged to trust: God or government?

As Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds point out on page 70 of their remarkable book Money, Markets & Sovereignty, “to create a mystique premium on their coins, whose face value significantly exceeded their intrinsic value, rulers typically adopted religious symbols in their stamps.  The less gold, the more God.  In fact, ‘In God We Trust’ was added to American dollar bills only after their gold backing was dropped in 1862.”

Donald J. Boudreaux