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Coin Replacing $1 Bill

Lobbying interests on both sides are ramping up their efforts in the expectation that Congress could decide the issue after more than 25 years of debate. Mining interests, vending companies and mass transit agencies support the coin. Paper and ink producers and some small retailers oppose it.

“You have this gigantic deficit. You have this supercommittee, and Congress is looking for savings anywhere they can,” says former representative Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., a longtime coin advocate.

The move to a coin would cost money in the short term, but eventually save money because paper currency lasts about 42 months — while coins theoretically last forever. Moving to a coin could save $5.6 billion over 30 years, according to the Government Accountability Office.

“You’re not going to find that kind of savings that involves no tax increase and no cut to anybody’s program,” Kolbe says.

The 12-member Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, created under the debt-limit deal in August, has held few public hearings. Its members are tight-lipped about what proposals are on the table, even as they approach a Nov. 23 deadline. But the savings from a $1 coin are miniscule compared to the committee’s $1.5 trillion goal.

When Kolbe first started introducing $1 coin proposals in Congress in 1986, it was a way to help Arizona mining interests, he admits. Those proposals never got out of committee. Now, with most other Western economies replacing their lowest paper bill with coins, the time is right to modernize the currency system, he says.

via Replacing $1 bill with coin could save $5.6 billion – USATODAY.com.

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