Is it time to get rid of the $1 bill?

Government officials say switching to $1 coins would save taxpayers $4.4 billion

$1 bill
(Image credit: Tom Grill/Corbis)

This is, admittedly, something of a first-world problem. But there is nothing more exasperating than handing a fiver to a cashier, only to receive change in $1 coins. Might as well have thrown your money away! What good are coins anyway, fated as they are to linger unused in the back of a drawer among the lint and safety pins, or fall into that huge coin slot known as the space between the couch cushions? Yet the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has advised Congress to replace dollar bills entirely with coins. The GAO claims that it will save the taxpayer $4.4 billion over 30 years, says Martha White at NBC News:

The underwater economics of minting pennies is well-known: It costs about two and a half cents to mint a cent, primarily due to the cost of the copper and zinc that go into each coin. But dollar coins don't cost more to produce than they're worth, and they last about 30 years, versus less than five years for a dollar bill.

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