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Editorial: Change to dollar coins makes sense

December 13, 2012
The Alpena News

Do you want to do your part in reducing the federal deficit? Would you be willing to do away with dollar bills in exchange for coins?

When asked similar questions recently, the response was lukewarm by 1,000 people polled by Pulse Research officials for a Rasmussen Report Poll. Only 21 percent favored it, 59 percent were against and 20 percent were ambivalent.

What's the big deal with switching?

According to officials with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, it was estimated $143 million would be saved per year by making the move, or $4.4 billion over a 30-year period. The savings occur by not having to reprint new currency each year (on average 3.2 billion $1 bills are removed from circulation every year). It is estimated coins will last 35 years in circulation, while a paper bill remains in circulation between two to four years.

When the same group who were polled with the original question were told of the potential savings to the government, 61 percent said they favored the use of dollar coins, 24 percent were opposed and 15 percent still were undecided.

Historically, Americans seem resistant to changing. The most recent attempt by the U.S. Mint to encourage dollar coin use was with the production of presidential coins over the past five years. The mint produced about 2.4 billion coins, most of which are in storage today. Production on them was suspended a year ago.

If we ever hope to reduce the federal deficit, it is going to take the participation of everyone. While the savings here are minimal compared to other measures, each of us has to start somewhere.

It seems like a reasonable request that we all could participate in, and taking ownership of the problem is half the battle of realizing a problem exists.



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