Your Influence Counts ... Use It! The SPOTLIGHT by Liberty Lobby

Reprinted from, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive

New Dollar Coin Could Save Billions

  • If at first you don't succeed (in introducing a $1 coin) try, try again.
By William Carmichael

Remember the Susan B. Anthony $1 coin debacle? Well, Congress is ready to try again -- with some changes. The Anthony coin looked like a quarter and felt like a quarter and often was confused for a quarter.

The proposed revised coin would be about the size of a quarter, but it would have a gold color and a distinctive edge.

On November 9, by unanimous consent, the Senate approved a revamped dollar coin, but left the specific design up to the secretary of the treasury

As The SPOTLIGHT went to press, the House had yet to act on a companion measure, but if it doesn't pass this year, it is expected to pass early next year.

The upside of a $1 coin is that it will save money. The full substitution of the $1 coin for the $1 bill would save the federal government about $450 million per year over the next 30 years, according to estimates of the Federal Reserve Board and the General Accounting Office.

The coin would cost 8 cents to produce versus 4 cents for each $1 bill, but $1 bills wear out in about 1.4 years, compared to 30 years for the coin. The coin's longer life alone would account for a savings of about $150 million a year.

But what the government isn't telling you is the saving could actually be in the billions. Why, then, the silence? Likely because the government would have to explain that we borrow our paper currency into existence and pay interest on it. That's the purpose of the Federal Reserve -- to loan our own money to us.

According to the Treasury Department, as of August 31 of this year, there were 6,381,195,165 $1 bills in circulation. If we pay interest of $.06, that comes to $382,871,709.90 in just the first year the coin replaces the bill -- because we don't pay interest on coins.

The new coin would require 30 months to prepare for production with an estimated $73 million investment at the U.S. Mint. As to design, one suggestion has been that the coins would have 50 different design on the reverse, one for each state. The revamped dollar coin measure was part of a larger coin bill.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced S. Res. 150, which would direct the Treasury Department to put a likeness of Margaret Chase Smith on the obverse. The measure was referred to the committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.