The dollar bill’s days may be numbered. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office, which is an arm of the U.S. Congress, argues that replacing U.S. dollar bills with dollar coins could save the government roughly $4.4 billion in net benefits over the next 30 years.
“We continue to believe that replacing the note with a coin is likely to provide a financial benefit to the government,” Lorelei St. James, a director the GAO, stated in a report prepared for a Congressional hearing on Thursday. In 2011, 40 % of dollar coins in circulation were returned to the U.S. Treasury unwanted, leading to a $1.4 billion surplus in the currency, according to the U.S. Leading the initiative to kill the dollar bill are Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), NPR reports. Although both Arizona and Iowa stand to profit from increased production of dollar coins. Iowa is home to a huge metal company and Arizona hosts some of the country’s biggest copper mines. Harkin contends that the U.S. should follow the global trend toward coins if the government wants to save money.
Printing dollar bills involves heavy reliance on a single commodity used to manufacture the notes — cotton. When cotton prices spiked in 2010, that pushed up the cost of printing a dollar bill to 9.6 cents (in a more normal year, such as 2008, the cost is closer to 6 cents to print a dollar bill). Although a dollar coin actually costs more to make, it stays in circulation roughly 10 times as long as the dollar bill, according to Daily Finance.(Huffington Post 11/28/12)