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The death of the $1 bill?

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Posted: 7 am ET

As Congress looks for opportunities to save money, the Government Accountability Office recommends that lawmakers start by looking at what's in their own wallets.

A new GAO study highlights the potential cost benefits of replacing the $1 bill with a $1 coin. The extinction of the $1 bill could give the government approximately $4.4 billion worth of savings over the next 30 years. On average, the $1 bill has a lifespan of under five years while the $1 coin's durability gives it a lifespan of an estimated 30 years.

While the proposal may be cost-effective, it's not going to happen without the buy-in from a pretty important group: American consumers.

"For such a replacement to be successful, the $1 coin would have to be widely accepted and used by the public," the GAO writes.

That could be a big stumbling block. My colleague, Claes Bell, explained in a post last year that Americans tend to avoid using $1 coins. They cling to old habits, he wrote, and many of them simply refuse to fill their purses and pockets with coins.

Even if you convince consumers to use them, businesses would still need to make plenty of adjustments.

Banks, vending machine makers and others would need to find ways to replace the $1 bill with a coin.

The switch has worked in other countries, however. In Canada, the government saved $450 million in just five years by replacing the small-value bill with a coin. As headlines of the dreaded fiscal cliff continue to dominate the news, it's hard to ignore a proposal that carries great potential to cut government spending.

What do you think? Are you in favor of replacing a paper bill with a coin to save the government money?

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381 Comments
Bob Emery
December 12, 2012 at 7:27 am

I am in full agreement with everything Kurt said yesterday.

Dennis S.
December 12, 2012 at 6:29 am

I think a much better solution that would save a tremendous amount of money would be to do away with paper and coin currency altogether. Instead, we could have a currency debit card of some type. It would follow the same principal as a debit/gift card (rechargeable), except it would be accepted by every store, bank, organization, etc throughout the USA and world. It would be the same principal as a debit card. Think of the savivngs when paper and coins would no longer need to be produced and the "cash" card would be very inexpensive to manufacter. In this digital age, one could then track your "cash" spending via a online account via the Internet. With the Internet (and proper security mechanisms), you would also be able to transfer money into another account. Much of this is already happening today (debit cards, online banking, auto bill pay, etc..), it just needs to be implemented as a "cash card". The savings would be great and the cost would be minimal. The US mint could be closed and US Treasury could easily cut its staff in 1/2, not to mention the enormous printing reduction.

Kurt
December 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Folks....you need to focus on the big picture. This isn't about replacing the dollar bill.

First and foremost, the government will do whatever it pleases. If anyone thinks the government is going to reduce the deficit by saving money on the $1 then they aren't paying attention. WAKE UP!!! We are an entitlement society and the government will find ways to spend any savings they find and more. We need an overhaul of government more than our currency.
Second, the majority of people in this country believe in God, it's one of the principles this country was founded on. So, why should we suddenly have to erase all reference to God from our currency, buildings and schools? Yet, we provide others the right to practice their faith freely. We have the few telling the majority what they can and can’t do. I'm not trying to mix religion and government but rather to preserve and protect the principles this country was founded on. We don't need to give our freedoms and heritage away because someone else might feel offended. If someone wants to ‘legally’ come to this country that's fine but learn our language and customs and be a productive member of society – obey our laws. We don't infringe on others beliefs or customs - respect ours. This is a country that was founded on a belief in God. Why should we remove 'In God We Trust' from our currency and buildings to pacify a few? Why should immigrants, legal or otherwise, have more rights and benefits than citizens of this country? We are the most generous people on the face of the earth and yet the rest of the world despises us. Our soldiers put themselves in harm’s way to protect the world, we feed the world, we provide medicine, shelter and education for a healthier world, we’re there when disaster strikes to help those in need.
We could probably save a great deal of money if government had to live by the same rules and laws as the rest of the country. If our politicians want ObamaCare then they should live by it as well. Same with Social Security and all the other benefits - amazing how our politicians go to Washington and they all come home multi-millionaires with lifetime benefits. They pass laws for the rest of the country to live by but exempt themselves from them. Wish I had a job where I could decide on my own pay raise
The problem with this country is that we have too much government and it no longer represents the people - we need term limits with staggered terms and government to live by the same rules as the rest of us. What ever happened to the concept of 'public service'? It now appears the public is here to serve our government. If a person goes to Washington then their focus should be on their job and 'public service' and not campaigning for re-election or passing laws to support personal interests and line their own pockets. If a proposal can’t stand on it’s own merits then it shouldn’t ride in on the back of some other legislation.
Sure, many of our denominations are outdated or redundant. We could easily get by without the penny, dime, half dollar, two dollar, ten dollar and fifty dollar. Save the nickel, quarter, dollar, five dollar, twenty dollar and hundred dollar. If inflation continues we’ll soon be adding the five hundred. Replacing the dollar bill with a dollar coin is fine as long as the savings go to reduce the deficit – provided there actually is a savings. The problem with government is that they will spend all the savings and more so in the end it probably hasn't helped a bit. We may as well replace the five dollar bill with a coin as well. Think of it as another stimulus program. The coins will wear holes in our pockets twice as fast so we’ll have to buy twice as many pair of pants. That should give a few more people in China jobs. Gee, let me think about that!! We bailed out the car companies so they could build plants in China and how many plants had their doors closed in this country?
If you want to fix the financial problems of this country then you have to overhaul government and overhaul entitlement spending. Entitlements should be there for those who can't work, those with disabilities, for emergencies and for those who have invested in them for retirement. If a person needs welfare, then they should have to pass a drug test the same as anyone else who has a job and pays taxes. If a person is capable of working then there should be workfare with opportunities for training and education to allow people to find better jobs. Our entitlement programs are filled with fraud and incentives not to work. This is a country of opportunities and those opportunities are there for anyone who has the desire to reach for them. Put people to work, broaden the tax base and empower people to stand on their own. That is what America is about. That is what will fix this country. People speak of rights but they forget about responsibilities.

G. Velez
December 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Definitely kill the paper dollar and kill the penny while you're at it. We still prefer and use quarters, we can learn to accomodate dollar coins too. Any business that wants to stay in business will also accomodate. Gentlemen's clubs too! One thing though, make it absolutely distinctive. Maybe a bronze, a copper or some other low cost metal with an octogonal shape of sorts...

artie occhiuzzo
December 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Just like Rosemary said let our leaders live just like us; term limits for everybody no pay for life and no pay for thier spouses when they die and Barry if your healthcare scam is so good then you your family and the rest of senators and congress should be on all the same plans you put in place for the American people. It's time Washington put their money where thier mouth is you want to save this country prove it after all you people are not royalty we voted you in to take care of this country if you all really cared you would not force policies on the American people that you yourself and the rest of our govt wouldn't adhere to also

george thaler
December 11, 2012 at 10:49 pm

LETS ROLL ! ANY IDEA OF SAVING MONEY IS GREAT.

Poor Guy
December 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

It will never happen. Gentleman's Clubs would go out of business. There is a lot of money behind lobbyists for adult entertainment. I would assume Gentleman's Club's use the same lobbyists. I for one would welcome the change (pun intended), but the lobbyists will make sure the dollar bill lives on.

robert mulligan
December 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

save as must as you can ilove the idae of this make it just like canada i go there a few times ayear and i like the idea of coins as dollors

rosemary simmerman
December 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

i agree lets get the coin. Different size or at least color so we can tell them apart for quarter. Also agree with get ruin of pennys.

cut congress, senators and all the free stuff they get we pay for

let them pay like the poor and middle class does for their benefits.

That would problemly save us Billions of dollars.

I know tha congress and sentors wouldn't agree with it but let them try to live on 1150.00 a month and pay taxes, buy grocries pay for medicine car, gas electric and doctor bills/ etc etc/
not get everything free. Live in a house that is to small and news work but the landlords willn't fix anything because no one makes them responible for the houses they rent out.
i could go on but as i said congress and senators don't really want to help the poor and middle class just the rich.

geo. root
December 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Just stop making dollar bills, people will start using a dollar coin no matter what size it is. Make it square if that will help.