It's true. And not for the simple reason that I rarely have enough (I've got four daughters; I've always known I wouldn't have enough money).
I hate what they are doing to our money here in the U.S.
Just last weekend I was at a Ren Faire and my girlfriend and our companions were treated to a mini-rant by me as I held a $10 bill. "Look at the washed out colors! The total lack of layout! How many %$#@ing fonts do you need for numbers? And this guy," I pointed at the portrait, "looks nothing like Jefferson!" The power of that last argument was somewhat diluted by the fact that the man on the $10 bill is actually Hamilton, but in a way that proves my point.
Kathy Sierra over at Creating Passionate Users proves it much better today, though, and I highly recommend her post. She's got me salivating over the Swedish currency, for example, not only for the beauty of the colors but for the sweetest thing of all: a common sense approach to making the monetary design useful in a tactile sense. I mean, we almost got it. Reach in a pocketful of change without looking and pull out a dime. Easy, right? Now close your eyes, reach in your wallet, and pull out a $5. Can't do it in the dark, can you? The Swedes can.
But it goes beyond that. Kathy talks about a design culture in other lands, and a tendency for us here to either be as careless as zoning in Houston or to decide that anything "beautiful" must be a waste of money, and therefore we give it to the lowest bidder. I look around my own workspace and see clutter, loose paper, things that are semi-permanent not through design but through circumstance...and it's depressing. I'm a better designer than that--I should apply it to the environment around me, not simply to a paying client.
And so should you.
One last thing: I loved the Sacajawea dollar. In look, in heft, in every way, that was a nice coin to have. I don't think Kathy's objection to the Important White Men was about not having our history--but about the fact that it's only a very, very narrow sliver of our history, of specifically government leaders. How about a $10 with Rosa Parks on it? Or a $20 with Sam Shepard? Robert Johnson on a $1 bill...now wouldn't that be something. With the chords and lyrics to "Crossroads" on the back...