Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

December 3, 2012

Paper-for-coin?

GAO again wants to switch dollar bill

You have to give the Government Accounting Office high marks for being persistent in trying to get rid of the paper dollar bill.

At a hearing by the House Financial Services subcommittee last week, lawmakers again took up the issue of whether to phase out the greenback and replace it with a dollar coin. In its testimony, the Government Accountability Office estimated that the federal government would save about $4.4 billion over 30 years by switching to dollar coins. It reiterated an earlier recommendation that the United States phase out the dollar bill over a four-year transition period.

In 22 years, the GAO has recommended switching from paper to coins eight times. But the public has always balked and the dollar coin has never gained popularity. In fact, there are $1.4 billion of one-dollar coins now piled up in Federal Reserve vaults because the public refuses to use them.

It is evident that using coins would save a lot of money. Lorelei St. James, the director of the GAO, said trying to save the government money should be the country’s primary concern rather than consumer convenience, and if the paper dollar was to be replaced permanently, it could save the U.S. government about $146 million per year and $4.4 billion over a span of 30 years by shrinking production and processing costs dramatically.

The average dollar bill circulates for a little more than 4 1/2 years before it becomes unusable and is shredded for the landfill. A coin can remain in use about 40 years before it degrades, but even then it can be melted down to create new coins.

But Americans’ fondness of the greenback is strong. According to a survey conducted by the research firm Lincoln Park Strategies, 70 percent of those surveyed wanted the dollar bill to remain. Additionally, 73 percent said the dollar coin is completely unnecessary, 67 percent said the dollar bill is preferable because it’s easier to carry around, and 60 percent said the dollar bill should remain because it’s a better symbol of American tradition and pride than the coin.

The GAO should put its paper-for-coin switch on the backburner — again. There are more pressing problems in Washington these days — especially the looming “fiscal cliff.”

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014