The Government Accountability Office is suggesting that the United States can solve some of its money problems by eliminating part of its currency. The plan would be to phase out the dollar bill over a four-year period, and switching over to dollar coins.
According to an Associated Press story on WTOP.com, the GAO says replacing dollar bills with coins could save taxpayers about $4.4 billion over the next 30 years. The American people have heard this before. In a 2006 poll, about two-thirds of the country preferred the use of bills, even after hearing about potential savings.
NBC News reports that pennies cost about two and a half cents to mint, mainly due to copper and zinc in each coin. It also costs more than 11 cents to make a nickel, due to the rising prices of copper and nickel. The government makes a profit when money is issued but is not used, and dollar coins last about 30 years, compared to less than five years for a bill.
The U.S. Mint is putting together a report that explores a number of new metal compositions in creating coins.
Vending machine operators support the use of $1 coins because they don't jam machines, saving repair costs and lost sales.
According to Mail Online, the U.S. Mint has produced 2.4 billion of the Presidential $1 coins, but production was suspended about a year ago. New York Representative Carolyn Maloney says dollar coins are hard to tell apart from quarters. She said, “If the people don't want to use It, why in the world are we even talking about changing it?'
Former director of the U.S. Mint Philip Diehl pointed out that Canada has had success removing $1 bills. According to The Week, Canada’s popular $1 coin, the Loonie, with the image of a loon on the back, inspired a $2 coin, the Toonie.