Senators Push Legislation To Make Dollar Coin More Than A Novelty Item

The fight over whether or not the dollar should be printed or minted continues. The latest volley of cannon fire in favor of the dollar coin came from Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Arizona’s John McCain, who earlier today introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (Hey — that spells COINS!) Act to promote the use of coins in an effort to curb waste and spending.

The senators cite the multiple Government Accountability Office reports over the last two decades — including this most recent one from March 2011 — that demonstrate a large, long-term savings by phasing out printed money and rolling out more durable coins.

“With our Nation’s debt now over $15 trillion, Congress must look at every area of the federal government, big or small, to save money,” said McCain. “By moving from the costly dollar bill to the dollar coin, we can save real money and show the American taxpayer that we are serious about cutting spending in Washington.”

While much of the modernized world is fine with coin currency, the dollar coin is a controversial item here in the U.S., with detractors pointing at the many, many failed attempts to introduce dollar coins into the mainstream currency. A recent report claims that around 40% of all dollar coins make their way back to the treasury vaults because people want to get rid of them quickly.

But supporters of the dollar coin say that those previous failures happened because there was never any wholehearted attempt to actually replace paper money and that the coins have always been treated as curiosities. If you simply take away paper money and replace it with coins, say supporters of the dollar coin movement, people will quickly get used to the idea.