Could the dollar coin help the deficit Super Committee save a few bucks?
Sunday, November 06, 2011
I'm not a fan of cash. I like to use my debit or credit card whenever possible. I like how technology has made payment transactions possible via key fobs and smartphones.
I don't mind, however, coins even though I don't typically carry them. Instead, I collect pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and periodically take coin rolls to my bank for deposit in my account.
But if some lawmakers get their way, I might be adding dollar coins to that dish on my dresser that holds miscellaneous change.
Yes, numismatistic readers, you're right. The dollar coin is already being made.
But American consumers, not to mention businesses and cash register makers, don't really like this form of currency. More than $1 billion worth of $1 coins are stored in plastic bags in vaults across the country.
Now, however, some folks are arguing that the coin offers an easy way to pocket not only more change, but some federal deficit savings.
Super committee coin consideration? Dollar coin fans are suggesting that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction make us embrace the coin by doing away with the dollar bill and making $1 coins mandatory as part of any plan it comes up with by Nov. 23.
Coin advocates point out that eliminating the paper bill, each of which has to be replaced every three or so years, and using the more durable dollar coin instead could save the Treasury $5.5 billion over 30 years.
There's no formal super committee proposal (that we know of) to ditch the dollar.
But there is an advocate of metal money on the deficit panel.
Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a co-chair of the bipartisan 12-member committee, has cosponsored a $1 coin proposal.
H.R. 2977, the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act, would phase out the paper dollar, replacing it with a dollar coin in four years or as soon as $600 million worth of dollar coins are in circulation.
But the flip side of the currency debate is represented on the super committee, too.
Two days after Hensarling's bill was dropped in the hopper, a counter measure was introduced in the Senate to stop production of the dollar coin.
S. 1624, the Currency Efficiency Act of 2011, is cosponsored by super committee member Sen. John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts.
The Senate measure would prevent the minting of $1 coins when a surplus of them exists. Kerry and his fellow Massachusetts Senate colleague Republican Scott Brown, argue that the $1.2 billion in uncirculated dollar coins sitting in Federal Reserve vaults are adding to storage costs.
Coin fans, foes: This being Washington, D.C., special interests on both sides have lined up behind each bill.
Opponents of the Brown/Kerry bill contend that the pair came up with the bill simply to protect Crane & Co. That Massachusetts-based firm is the exclusive producer of the paper used to print U.S. currency.
Americans for George note that Americans are united in their rejection of the $1 coin.
And the Dollar Coin Alliance naturally favors the House bill.
Where do you stand? Would you surrender your paper Washingtons in order to save Uncle Sam some money?
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$5.5 billion over 30 years? Isn't that like me saving $4.50 every year? It is ridiculous to even base a decision on that.
Posted by: Evan | Monday, November 07, 2011 at 02:45 PM