While Congress struggles to find common ground on our nation’s deficit, there’s a bipartisan delegation of senators from five states working on one common-sense budget savings proposal: eliminating the dollar bill in favor of the dollar coin and saving taxpayers $4.5 billion without raising taxes or cutting a single program.
The Currency Optimization Innovation, and National Savings Act, which I introduced last week with my colleagues Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), has the endorsement of business leaders, former directors for the U.S. Mint and members of Congress. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s own watchdog, has recommended the move to the dollar coin nine times. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force called it “a simple, common sense measure” that would address the country’s growing federal deficit.
People in the U.S. also like the dollar coin. When informed of the savings, taxpayers favored the more sustainable dollar coin. According to a poll by The Wall Street Journal, 61 percent of Americans favor eliminating the dollar bill. Major publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune have also endorsed the move because of the savings it would generate.
Dollar coins are 100 percent recyclable while dollar bills generate an enormous amount of waste. Billions of dollar notes are shredded and sent to landfills each year, while a single dollar coin would replace 17 dollar bills in its lifetime — and then be recycled to replace 17 more.