Thursday, July 30, 2015

Legislation Is Introduced in the United States Senate to Replace Dollar Bills with Coins

           Senators John McCain, (R-Arizona) and John Enzi (R-Wyoming), who chairs the Budget Committee, introduced legislation in the United States Senate today to require the federal government not to expend more funds in the production of currency than its face value, among various other proposed savings.  The legislation would thus require the replacement of $1 Federal Reserve Note with a dollar coin.  

           Switching from paper bills to metal would save between $4 and $14 billion because of the significantly longer durability of coins than paper.  Proponents of replacing dollar bills with dollar coins believe that ending the printing of the $1 bill would be an essential step in promoting the use of dollar coins.

            In my post, Use Dollar Coins and $2 Bills, from October of 2011, I encourage the use of dollar coins in the meantime to save the federal government money, as well as $2 Federal Reserve Notes.   I had posted about the benefits to the taxpayers of dollar coinage and refuted some of the objections to it in three earlier posts.  See Dollar Coins Are Not a Waste of Money, from September of 2011,, Follow-Up: Dollar Coins Are Not a Waste of Money, from October of that year,, and the Obama Administration is Pennywise and Pound Foolish About Dollar Coins, from December of 2011,

            The currently-minted Dollar coins are smaller and weigh less than Silver Dollars and Eisenhower Dollars, but not as small as Susan B. Anthony Dollars (1979-1981, 1999), which were smaller and weighed less than Half Dollars, even though Anthony Dollars were of the same composition.  I note Dollar coins, which are currently only minted in collectors’ sets, are smaller and weigh less than the equivalent value of Half Dollar coins or   Quarter Dollars.  Dollar coins are visually distinguishable in color, as they are composed of manganese brass, but also have distinctive edges, so as to be distinguishable for those who are vision-impaired. 

            Many foreign states have replaced their paper currency with coins with the same denomination of one of the state’s monetary unit.  Dollar coins are popular in El Salvador and Ecuador, where the U.S. Dollar is the official monetary unit, which suggests the American public would also be more accepting of them, especially if there were no more $1 bills printed.

            The legislation offered by the fiscally conservative Senators at least educates Congress and the American people that printed currency in its smallest denomination is more expensive to produce than coins and might encourage innovation in the printing of currency and mintage of coins that is more fiscally responsible.  I hope it also serves to encourage greater use of dollar coins in the meantime.  

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