Thursday, November 17, 2011
Dollar For Your Thoughts??
One of the proposals the congressional supercommittee is considering to cut federal spending and decrease the national debt would eliminate the paper dollar bill from circulation and replace it with dollar-denominated coins.
At a time when the nation faces a $14 trillion deficit and every dollar counts, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that replacing the $1 note with the $1 coin could save taxpayers $5.5 billion over the next 30 years.
But Americans have a strong affinity for the iconic dollar bill, and old habits die hard.
I'd disagree with that last part. I don't have any particular attachment to the one dollar bill as opposed to the coin, and most of the people I know don't either. Sure, that's just anecdotal "evidence," but let me explain.
When I go to Canada, and break a twenty, I'm very likely to receive as part of my change one and two dollar coins (Loonies and Twonies). I spend these, along with the quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies I may have in my pocket. Folding money in one and two dollar denominations isn't circulated in Canada.
However, here in the 'States, when I fork over a Jackson, I get one dollar bills, even when the dollar coin is an option. I don't think U.S. citizens are less apt to use dollar coins, its just that if you want them, you generally have to go to the bank (or a casino) to get them. When I withdraw, say, $100 from my account, I get five 20's, not four 20's, a ten, a five and five one dollar coins. If you want me to consistently use the dollar coin, make it convenient for me, and stop printing dollar bills!
According to this site, the average life of a dollar bill is less than two years. According to the U.S. Mint, a coin's average lifespan is 25 years. I routinely use coins that are more than 40 years old, and frequently encounter coins that are much, much older and still in circulation.