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The November 4th election was about change. Barack Obama made change a central theme of his campaign. Even John McCain echoed the "change" theme.

One thing that should change is change itself, i.e. the coins and currency we use for cash transactions. Congress should direct the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to stop producing one-dollar bank notes, and direct the U.S. Mint to increase production of dollar coins.

Inflation has made the one-dollar bill obsolete. Products you could buy for a quarter in 1975 now cost a dollar.

Annual savings from switching from paper dollars to dollar coins are estimated at $500 million. These savings won't erase the national debt, but, as Sen. Dirksen once said, "A million dollars here, a million dollars there, pretty soon we're talking real money."

Eliminating the one-cent coin is the other needed change in change. Pennies are just a nuisance in commerce. Penny candy in 1972 now costs a nickel. The Mint spent $93 million last year producing pennies, each of which costs the government about 1.67 cents.

Since 2009 is the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny, this is not a good year to eliminate the Lincoln coin.A proposal, which makes more sense, would be to simply make all one-cent coins worth 5 cents. This could be part of the economic stimulus package, instantly putting a billion dollars or so in people's pockets. In the long run, it would save money by stopping production of nickels for circulation. The nickel costs 9.53 cents to produce.

For anyone who wants to do his or her part to change change, dollar coins can be ordered online from the U.S. Mint. Check out the "Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program" at: http://www.usmint.gov/

Originally posted to cocinero on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 12:17 PM PST.

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