Barack Obama is right. America needs change. Change we can believe in. Once upon a time, America was a great and kind nation, the modern day Promised Land, whose streets were paved with gold and whose coins were made of precious metals. Today, America's streets are paved with tar and its coins are made of tin. Once upon a time in America, pocket change was made of gold and silver. No more.

Gone are the days when American pocket change was really worth something ...

America once had a $20 gold piece. Made of gold. America once had dollars made of silver, a silver dollar could buy 3 gallons of gas or 4 packs of cigarettes or a quart or two of beer or a couple of loaves of bread or 6 McDonald hamburgers. Once, Americans carried 50-cent pieces (half-dollars) made of silver, that was so weighty and so big they would tear a hole in your trouser pocket or weigh down your purse. Once, America was the land of the 25-cent piece (quarter), made of silver and alloys, and that quarter could buy 2 Cokes or 5 packs of gum or a get you into a Saturday matinee at the movies (2 movies and a cartoon). Once, America had a dime (10 cents), made out of silver and alloys, which could buy lots of penny candy or a Coke or a candy bar or a comic book. Once upon a time, America had a nickel (5 cents) made of silver and other metals, a nickel that could actually buy something useful or fun. And, last but not least, once upon a time America had a beloved penny made of copper, a penny which could actually buy something instead of only being used to pay some of the sales tax on what you buy.

Once upon a time, long before Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 with a campaign slogan of "change we can believe in", America HAD change we could believe in. In our pockets. Pocket change. Pocket change made of precious metals. Pocket change that was worth something. THAT'S the kind of change we can believe in!

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Lawrence is the author of "MONEY - The Basics", the most valuable book you'll ever read. Read an excerpt at