by Nate Wooley | November 30, 2012 9:02 am
Congress is, once again, considering eliminating the dollar bill from American currency.
On Thursday, the Financial Services Subcommittee of the House of Representatives heard testimony from congressional auditors and officials at the General Accounting Office about issues surrounding dollar bills and coins. The testimony centered on the cost savings if the dollar bill was eliminated and replaced with coins.
The transition would not be fast — it would occur over several years — and the eventual savings to the government would be $4.4 billion over 30 years. The savings occurs because coins have an average lifespan of 30 years, while bills — made of linen — need to be replaced every four to five years.
However, dollar coins, when they’ve been tried, have not proved popular with the public. The recent run of presidential golden dollars didn’t succeed, and most are now in storage. Earlier efforts, like the Susan B. Anthony coin, also failed.
Also under consideration by the committee is changing the metal content of existing coins. By replacing the now-expensive copper-nickel alloy used for some coins with plated steel, the government could save up to $200 million per year.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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