In my one previous diary, I advocated replacing paper one-dollar bank notes with coins.
Paper dollars wear out quickly, but coins last for 30 years or more. Eliminating paper dollars was estimated to save the treasury $5.5 billion over 30 years. That seems like a good reason to make the change. Other countries, e.g. Canada, the EU, and Japan, have already realized the benefit of coins over small denomination paper bills and made the switch.
Unfortunately, that's not what's we're going to do. From the U.S. Mint web site:
In December 2011, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner directed that the United States Mint suspend minting and issuing circulating Presidential $1 Coins.
Why did this happen?
In countries where the switch from paper currency to coins was successful, they stopped producing the paper bills. If the U.S. Treasury had just stopped printing paper one dollar bills, the change would be complete by now. Opposition to eliminating paper dollars came from special interest groups including the cotton industry that provides the fabric for the paper bank notes, the Crane Paper Company, and a coalition of ink manufacturers and employees of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Some of the opposition probably comes from a general conservative resistance to change. It reminds me of the opposition to adoption of the metric system, an effort that ended with the election of Ronald Reagan.
The issue of paper vs coins may become irrelevant as fewer people use cash. People just swipe their debit or credit cards in grocery lines, gas pumps, and even vending machines. Of course, those cards generate a lot of revenue for the banks, and guess who runs our government.
I will continue to use the dollar coins as long as I can get them. It is still possible to purchase circulating James Madison dollars and the 2011 Native American dollar from the mint, but they no longer ship for free.