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Once Again, A Call To Use Dollar Coins

(Nedral@Flickr)

This seems to pop up every once in a while. It’s back again.

It’s called the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act — COINS for short. It’s being sponsored in Congress by both Republicans and Democrats – one of the few things they seem to agree on.

It’s a push to replace one dollar bills with one dollar coins. We’ve talked about eliminating pennies. This would eliminate paper dollar bills.

Why? It would save money, but not right away. It costs 5 cents to print a one dollar bill. It costs 18 cents to mint a one dollar coin. But a dollar bill lasts less than five years. A dollar coin would be around for more than 30. So in the long run the estimates are we’d save $13.8 billion just on the cost of making money over the next 30 years.

This country is one of the few in the world that still uses paper for lower denominations. Austria, Canada, England, France, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain and others have made the switch.

Senator John McCain says with our national debt approaching $17-trillion, it’s up to Congress to find any and every way to save money and this is one of them.

Great thought. And he’s right. But people just don’t want coins in their pockets and purses. Most people empty their pockets or purses when they get home and throw their change in a jar.

The Susan B. Anthony coin was introduced in 1979. That was a dud. The Sacagawea Golden Dollar was put into circulation in 2000 but never caught on. The problem is coins are heavy. I have seven one dollar bills in my wallet. I wouldn’t want seven one dollar coins in my pocket.

Some companies complain it would add to their business expense. They’d have to buy coin counting machines. It would cost more to transport dollar coins.

If you give people the choice they’re going to go with paper money every time. If they want this switch to work they have to make a complete break from dollar bills and go strictly with coins. It’s worked in other countries because they have no choice.

The other way to go is to completely get rid of paper money and go to a nationwide debit card system.

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