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
  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014

  • New policies will grow better streamside buffers

    Well-functioning forest buffers along streams are perhaps the most effective and least costly best management practice we have to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

    April 10, 2014

  • National Day of Prayer events begin April 30

    The Cumberland National Day of Prayer Committee has finalized plans for the 63rd annual observance, with a prayer rally, a breakfast, an outdoor worship ceremony and youth rally planned April 30 through May 2.

    April 9, 2014