Congress wants to force us to use dollar coins rather than bills
I hate those dollar coins and I'm not alone. Most Americans won't carry them or use them in vending machines - the industry that has been pushing these white elephants for as long as I can remember.
They are too close in size to a quarter and besides, coins are much easier to lose than bills.
For Congress and the US Mint, it's in one ear and out the other:
American consumers have shown about as much appetite for the $1 coin as kids do their spinach. They may not know what's best for them either. Congressional auditors say doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion over the next 30 years.
Vending machine operators have long championed the use of $1 coins because they don't jam the machines, cutting down on repair costs and lost sales. But most people don't seem to like carrying them. In the past five years, the U.S. Mint has produced 2.4 billion Presidential $1 coins. Most are stored by the Federal Reserve, and production was suspended about a year ago.
The latest projection from the Government Accountability Office on the potential savings from switching to dollar coins entirely comes as lawmakers begin exploring new ways for the government to save money by changing the money itself.
The Mint is preparing a report for Congress showing how changes in the metal content of coins could save money.
The last time the government made major metallurgical changes in U.S. coins was nearly 50 years ago when Congress directed the Mint to remove silver from dimes and quarters and to reduce its content in half dollar coins. Now, Congress is looking at new changes in response to rising prices for copper and nickel.
At a House subcommittee hearing Thursday, the focus was on two approaches:
-Moving to less expensive combinations of metals like steel, aluminum and zinc.
-Gradually taking dollar bills out the economy and replacing them with coins.
The savings - about $100 million a year or less - isn't worth it. But regardless, people still won't carry them around which means instead of piling up at the mint, they will pile up in our homes.
Sounds like a new episode of "Hoarders."