Abolishing the Dollar Makes Sense (and cents)

Every year or two a proposal comes forth that would abolish the $1 bill and “replace it” with a dollar coin. Such a switch would save estimated $4.4 billion over 30 years or roughly $147 million per year (a drop in the bucket when compared to the federal budget of $3.7 trillion). The latest projection from the Government Accountability Office come as Congress begins exploring new ways for the government to save money by changing the money itself.

The Motley Fool reports a House subcommittee hearing in late November focused 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.

Lorelei St. James of the Government Accountability Office told the House Financial Services panel it would take several years for the benefits of switching from paper bills to dollar coins to catch up with the cost of making the change.

St. James added, “we continue to believe that replacing the note with a coin is likely to provide a financial benefit to the government” and added that such a change would work only if the note was completely eliminated and the public educated about the benefits of the switch.

Benefit the government? The government benefits by controlling the production of currency and from the existence of legal tender laws.

Why not support a proposal that would benefit everyone? I believe the proposals to replace the $1 bill with a $1 coin are bad, not because they would impose on the people a coin they don’t want to use, but rather because it continues to invoke legal tender laws and government control of the currency. A much better alternative is legislation to repeal the legal tender law; abolish the central bank; repeal the government monopoly over the creation of coins for use as currency and prohibit federal and state taxes on precious metal coins and bullion.