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Cash money

"Cash rules everything around me," Method Man said in the chorus of the Wu-Tang Clan song "C.R.E.A.M". But one person argues that it should be "All About the Benjamins".

Consumer Reports found this editorial by David Gorman, author of Cashless Money, who says that the world would be better without the $50 and $100 dollar bills.

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They're untraceable and anonymous, making them ideal for drug dealers, terrorists and other unsavory types to transport large sums, he says. 

And people have argued for years --- including in this week's New Yorker --- that the penny and other coins are more trouble than it's worth. It's because the base metals to make them cost more than the value of the coins themselves, as this 60 Minutes video shows.

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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson agrees

, reports the Associated Press (via

).

But if the penny disappeared, would all prices be rounded up --- or down? Would you still get charged in cent-increments if you paid electronically, such as with a credit card?

All this debate comes on the heels of major changes to the $5 dollar bill. Major, because they're changing the color scheme!

Check it out at www.moneyfactory.gov (someone at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has a sense of humor) ... Purple joins green along with other changes to confound the hooligans who print up bogus cash.

Part of this push against currency comes because there are fewer and fewer places that accept only cash. Your plastic is good in taxis and the pizza guy will take it.

But actual currency is such a part of our culture that I'm not sure it will ever go away. What about the money dance at some weddings? The strip club? The Salvation Army bucket?

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(photo: Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun) 


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