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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Coins are made of metals. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    The metal ores have to be mined. Your cost differential does not take into account the environmental damage caused by mining. Anyhow, Americans hate using dollar coins. They always have.

  •  The same reason why (7+ / 0-)

    we couldn't go metric - American's do not like change.

  •  Sorry, I hate carrying a lot of coins, and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, VClib, The Gryffin, erush1345

    in Canada, after dollar bills were eliminated, everything that used to cost less than a dollar in vending machines mysteriously became exactly one dollar.

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 04:08:54 PM PST

  •  Presidential coins, they say. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    No more Sacagawea dollars, too?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 04:09:39 PM PST

  •  Heavy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    Did I mention heavy?

    Cashiers hate them.

  •  I like using dollar coins a.nd $2 bills.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    ...to keep me from buying Lotto tickets. The player-activated terminals here in Illinois take neither.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 04:22:50 PM PST

    •  We don't have those in IA. (0+ / 0-)

      The cashiers happily take my $1 coin for a PowerBall ticket, but now the price went up to $2. I didn't mind occasionally making a $1 donation to the state when the jackpot was over $100 million, but i'm not sure I will give them $2.

      I always wondered why the casinos didn't put in slot machines that take $1 coins (or do they somewhere? My casino experience is limited.)

  •  $2 or $3 coin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    Rather then a dollar coin given inflation I think a $2 or $3 coin might be more useful and make more sense, allowing the right wing to attack Obama for something else other then taking away the sacred dollar which was decreed right in Genesis (even before Jesus' dad make women!)  

  •  Where is NOW and NAACP on this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    There are too many white men on our currency and the moment a woman appears on a coin, it disappears.  Susan B. Anthony was a comedy of errors (it looks like a quarter, etc.) Sacagawea got replaced by a bunch of 1% white men!

    Our currency does not represent the diversity of our country but the 1% who ran it.  Time to Occupy the Treasury Department!

    Obama needs to be on the right side of history!  Replacing the dollar bill might be a start to fixing his legacy.

    While we are at it, especially fitting on the week after M.L.K. day, we need a quarter-eagle ($2.50) coin commemorating Martin Luther King and his March to Selma (or giving the "I have a dream..." speech) on the reverse. to replace the doubly Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill. (He is already on the nickel just like George Washington is both on the dollar bill and quarter and Abraham Lincoln is on the $5 bill and penny.)

    Metricating puts more late-model fuel efficient vehicles on the road. Good for the economy and the environment! U.S. Metric Association www.metric.org

    by movingforward on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:48:15 PM PST

    •  Sacagawea was not replaced (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345

      She is still on one side of the native American $1 coins with a new scene to on the reverse every year. However, they stopped making new ones for circulation, along with the presidents series. I just ordered a box of 250 of the 2011 version. I read that they have a lot of dollar coins stored in Federal Reserve vaults. They may still be available if banks ask for them. The Madison and 2011 Native American $1 coins are available to individuals through the direct ship program.

  •  Support the COINS Act (H.R. 2977)! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    I stumbled on an article in Google News back in November.  I had to Google it back just now to find the bill number.

    Metricating puts more late-model fuel efficient vehicles on the road. Good for the economy and the environment! U.S. Metric Association www.metric.org

    by movingforward on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:24:12 PM PST

    •  Thanks for that. (0+ / 0-)

      I think I'll lobby my rep to support that. He just might since the bill was introduced by a Republican and the decision to stop producing the $1 coins was made by Geithner and announced by Biden who my guy (Steve King) thinks are a couple of Marxist Socialists. King needs something to focus on to take his mind off of bashing immigrants and gays.

  •  There are ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J Orygun, cocinero

    ...so many ways to look at this so I'll toss in my two cents.
     Be warned I'm gonna ramble here as I'm a numismitist.

    I have collected coins pretty much all of my life and paper money for the past 15 years or so. I work in a coin shop for a living.
    Point is we talk about these things on a daily basis.

    Let's start with the dollar coins. Useless. UNTIL we do away with the $1 Federal Reserve Note. That would be the one dollar bill.

    As mentioned this has worked in Canada and other countries and it is the ONLY way it will here. PERIOD.

    For my own selfish reasons I would like to see the $1 note continue but for practicallity it should disappear.

    Dollar coins have been a waste for a long time. It's just not the Presidents and the Sacagawea. Pop in the Susan B. Anthony and the Ike while your at.
    It can even be argued that the Peace and Morgan Dollars were a waste as well. This takes us back to 1878 folks.

    Now why would the Peace and Morgan dollars be a waste? Can anyone say government? Laws required a certain amount to be minted just as they are required to be minted today.
    One BIG difference is that the Morgan and Peace were 90% silver. About 3/4 of an ounce.

    What we have today is crap. Until we get rid of the paper that is. Then it would be an exchange medium for goods and services.

    As I type we (as a country) have 1.4 BILLION Presidential dollars sitting in a vault in Texas.
    As I type we sell these same coins at work for $2 each to collectors. Why? - because people want to collect them. We procure them and make a profit for something that should be circulating.
    Silly isn't it? Supply and demand? Seems to be one hell of an untapped supply.

    This will change though.

    This year they will be minted. One will only be able to acquire them from the U.S. Mint or from a dealer who has acquired them from the Mint.
    You'll pay a premium from the Mint and you won't be able to order just one. Coin shops will order rolls and sell at a profit. Good for us but it's still crap IMHO.

    As for the Sacagawea (now Native American) dollars at one point you could order up to $250 face value wih free shipping to help "get them circulating". No more as folks figured out you could do this, get frequent flier miles etc. and then take them to the bank for PAPER money. BRILLIANT!

    The U.S. Mint and the government has screwed up when it comes to coins.

    I shall rant a bit further and apologize for any "hijacking" of this diary.

    WE DON'T JUST WASTE MONEY ON DOLLARS BE THEY PAPER OR METAL.

    We haven't had a circulating Half Dollar for several years. Again, you can order them from the Mint or buy them from a dealer. Why produce them?

    Quarters? Let's see we had the State Quarters. Cool idea and great for the hobby but basically worth a quarter these days.
    Well, it was so successful they went on with U.S. Territories and NOW an 11 year National Parks series.

    I rarely see a National Parks quarter in circulation. Probably because the 12 Fed banks have so damn many quarters they don't need to order.

    As for Cents (they ain't pennies) and Nickels there is a push to make them of basiclly a steel composition.
    They cost more to produce than they are worth.
    This is why it's illegal to melt them.

    The U.S. Mint seems more interested in producing "collectibles" these days than real coins meant for everyday transactions.

    Don't believe me?
    Go to usmint.gov and have a look.

    There is so much money to be saved here and I wonder where the profits on sales really go.

    Thank you.

    Blanket statements are for IDIOTS until the IDIOT in question can back it up.

    by HoosierDebsOleMan on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 09:51:51 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the comment and your insight. (0+ / 0-)

      My interest in dollar coins is as a medium for exchange for goods and services. I definitely agree that getting rid of paper dollars is the only way to get them accepted by the public and businesses.

      While it is clear that switching from paper to metal dollars would save the government money over time, dollar coin supporters also point out savings for the private sector:

      In addition, the $1 coin saves money for the private sector because it is cheaper to handle and process coins than bills.  Mass transit agencies have found that processing $1 coins costs 83 percent less than processing $1 bills.  Vending machine operators have determined that $1 coins save their industry $1 billion a year.  Coins cost 30 cents per thousand pieces to process at Federal Reserve Banks, compared to 75 cents per thousand for $1 bills.  

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