RSS
Time to get rid of $1 bills?
Switching from dollar bills to coins could save the government billions. Should we start ditching paper money?
 
The U.S. should switch to the dollar coins, says the Government Accountability Office, because they can handle more wear and tear, and save $5.5 billion over the next 30 years.
The U.S. should switch to the dollar coins, says the Government Accountability Office, because they can handle more wear and tear, and save $5.5 billion over the next 30 years.
CC BY: cometstarmoon

If officials in Washington are serious about cutting federal spending, the Government Accountability Office has a plan: Eliminate the $1 bill. In a study released last week, the GAO says that switching to dollar coins would save $5.5 billion over the next 30 years. Bills barely last three years in circulation, compared with 34 years for coins, and higher cotton prices drove up the cost of making paper money by 50 percent from 2008 to 2010. So should the U.S. really eliminate the $1 bill?

No, coins are too clunky: Carrying around coins would be too cumbersome, says waitress Kacie Atnip, as quoted by Oklahoma's Fox23.com. I'd have to get "a coin purse and carry it around; it would be like I am going to the casino or something." Carrying bills around is just easier, and there are other ways for the government to save money.
"Goodbye dollar bill?"

Actually, this is a 'no-brainer': Given its longer lifespan, a $1 coin that costs 16 cents to produce would replace 17 bills that cost 47 cents to print, says economics professor Mark J. Perry at Benzinga. When Canada made the change, its government "realized savings more than 10 times initial estimates." And businesses could save $1 billion a year in repair costs and lost sales from jammed $1 bills in vending machines.
"Switching to a dollar coin: Seems like a no-brainer"

The transition does not have to be painful: The EU, the U.K., and Canada have all successfully switched to coins, says Joe McKendrick at SmartPlanet. It's about time for the U.S. to catch up. And since we're all using "digital money in a big way," with so many of our transactions paid for with credit or debit cards, the switch to coins could be even "less painful than it was" elsewhere.
"Goodbye U.S. dollar banknote? Government report urges move to coin only"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week