<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By Josh Barro</p> <p>As seems to happen every few years, there's another <a href="http://gao.gov/products/GAO-13-164T">report out from a federal agency</a> urging the U.S. to withdraw $1 bills from circulation and replace them with coins. The arguments are always the same: Coins last longer! We'd save a bunch of money! Everyone else is doing it!</p> <p>Switching to dollar coins is a dumb idea, and I'm glad to see that a member of Congress has finally, succinctly explained why. The AP <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/congress-looks-doing-away-1-bill-083418974--politics.html">reports</a>:</p> "Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said men don't like carrying a bunch of coins around in their pocket or in their suits."</p> <p>This. This. A thousand times this.</p> <p>The Government Accountability Office estimates that switching to dollar coins would save the U.S. government $4.4 billion over 30 years. That's about $150 million a year, or 50 cents per year per American.</p> <p>What you get in exchange for that 50 cents a year is that you never really need to think about change. You stick it in your pockets when a cashier hands it to you, you collect it in a jar on your desk, and every few months, you take that jar to a Coinstar machine. If you take your Coinstar voucher in the form of a gift card, you don't even have to pay a counting fee.</p> <p>But when you go to Canada or Europe, suddenly change becomes real money. The largest coin is worth $2.60 in the euro-zone, $3.20 in the U.K. and a whopping $5.40 in Switzerland. At the end of the day, not only are your pockets full of large, bulky coins, but those coins are also probably worth enough to buy a sandwich and a beer.</p> <p>That's annoying. I don't want to have to get money from both my wallet and my pockets. I don't want to expend any mental energy thinking about change. I just want to dump it in a jar.</p> <p>Getting the freedom to do that for just 50 cents a year is the steal of the century. It's one of a handful of things (along with movies, bathroom fixtures and hotel mattresses) that America does much better than Europe.</p> <p>If Congress wants to fiddle with our change-production practices, it should abolish the penny, which actually costs the government more than one cent to make. The dollar bill is one of the things that makes America great.</p> <p>(Josh Barro is lead writer for the Ticker. <a href="mailto:jbarro1@bloomberg.net">E-mail</a> him and <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/jbarro">follow</a> him on Twitter.)</p> <p>Read more breaking commentary from Bloomberg View at <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/view/the-ticker/">the Ticker</a>.</p> <p> </p> </body> </html>