AirTalk for November 9, 2011

Kill bill: Is doing away with the dollar a money maker or poorly conceived fiscal policy?

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Is the dollar bill done for?

Controversy brews over whether or not to eliminate the one dollar bill in favor of the fairly unpopular dollar coin.

Proponents, like Arizona Republican representative David Schweikert, say converting to the coin is a money maker for the country.

According to a recent study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the government could save $5.5 billion over the next 30 years if they make the switch. The report says coins cost a bit more up front to make, but they can stay in circulation much longer. Because coins circulate through the economy slower, the government would have to make more of them, which increases the amount they’ll make on the coins.

That’s why Schweikert has introduced a bill in the house to do away with the dollar bill. But the dollar coin hasn’t really been the hit government officials had hoped it would be. When the coins first came out a couple decades ago they confused people because their size and color closely resembled the quarter. There have been big changes since then, but that hasn’t increased their popularity.

Right now the government has well over a billion dollar coins sitting in a Federal Reserve vault because no one wants them. Dollar bill advocates insist that the media is missing the point on that GAO study.

WEIGH IN:

The coins cost more to manufacture and we’ll need more of them to fulfill demand...so where are the savings? They also point out that businesses will have to buy new equipment to deal with the coins. So, in the battle over bill versus coin, how do both sides stack up? Is there any political will to kill the dollar bill? And with both sides offering dueling economic outlooks, whose numbers are looking a little green?

Guests:

Erica Gordon, director of policy & government affairs at the Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the organizations that make up the Dollar Coin Alliance, a pro-dollar coin organization

Tom Ferguson, spokesman for The Americans for George Coalition, a pro-dollar bill organization


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