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Say Goodbye to the $1 bill?

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Washington has come down with a case of fiscal fever as the Obama administration proposes everything from spending freezes on domestic programs to selling off unused government property to bring the budget back in line. Now, one study argues that the government can save billions of dollars simply by making a change to the currency itself.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a formal proposal to the Treasury and Federal Reserve noting that if it eliminated the $1 bill and replaced it with the $1 coin, the country could save roughly $5.5 billion during the next 30 years. The reason, according to the agency’s report, is that dollar bills have a shorter lifespan than dollar coins because they wear much faster, which in turn requires the government to spend more to print new bills.

The GAO estimates that phasing out dollar bills in favor of coins would require a four-year transition period, during which the government invests in the new currency, but following that, the government would save an expected $522 million each year from the change.

Unfortunately, as the GAO notes, there is one problem with the plan: When given a choice between dollar coins and dollar bills, Americans always choose bills.

“GAO has noted in past reports that efforts to increase the circulation and public acceptance of the $1 coin have not succeeded, in part, because the $1 note has remained in circulation,” the agency wrote in its report. So if we are ever going to make the switch to dollar coins, as other countries like Canada have done, the GAO suggests the only way to do so is to phase dollar bills out of circulation altogether.

Before you start hoarding your dollar bills though, keep in mind that the GAO has made similar proposals four times during the past two decades, and obviously dollar bills are still in circulation. The only difference this time is that the overall climate in Washington is more geared toward budget cutbacks now, but given that it would take several years for the savings to kick in, this seems unlikely as well.

Still, we’d like to pose the question to readers. Would you be willing to eliminate dollar bills and switch to coins if it meant improving the country’s balance sheet?


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  • JOE

    Give me liberty give me silver and GOLD, fUCK YOUR PAPER WORTH NOTHING, PRINTED FROM NOTHING

  • Joe

    Truth used to be considered a virtue. Now, telling the truth is evil and wrong. People need to rize up and take our world back from the religious corrupt delusional assholes who allow the elite scum to make slaves out of man with fear. Time has come to rize up, liberty or death !!! fuck it , no more poverty no more wars, no more lies , no more elite abuse

  • John

    This article is a crock of shit. Americans will never switch they just want to chip everybody. Bill Clinton taxed and setup an account to pay down the debt. Then Bush takes and gives the money to the wealthiest 10% Republicans. Then they get even more money by running up the debt (AIG scam) so it will never be paid off. You see USA will never pay on the debt maybe not even a penny. Since the gold standard ended in american the government has been free to print all the money they want. The problem is greed, not just greed but a ridiculous amount of wealthy.

  • john

    They were some talks about not having pennys anymore. Now a dollar coin.lol For the rest of the world, America is hanging by a string. Inflation keeps going up. The counted Unemployment is increasing (including truck drivers). In 2012 if a republican gets in office? unrest in America with americans owning guns it will be a warzone.

  • AmericaIsLost

    Obama is so busy spending money America doesn’t have and printing more that by the time the fraud is out of office America will be a third world country.

  • Liz

    Left the USA and have been living in Europe for the past 15 years or so and over here they use 1 euro coins which I have never ever gotten used to or like at all. My wallet constantly is filled to bulging with coins and spills out into my handbag. Not to mention how heavy they are compared to paper. I have always wondered why they don’t use 1 euro notes as in America and now I understand why.

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