Department of the Treasury

Change Coinage/Monetary system - Save $2 Billion/year

Change the monetary system utilizing two specific approaches as follows:

 

(1) Eliminate the dollar bill and use the dollar coin as is now done in most other countries (estimated savings of $1 billion/year per GAO and other studies). This would provide a significant greening of the environment as the coins are environmentally neutral; whereas the dollar bills contain hazardous material and cause damage to the environment upon disposal.

 

(2) All final purchases be converted to one decimal place (tenths) rather than the present two place decimal system (hundredths). To support this new approach, stop producing the penny, nickel and quarter (stoppage of the quarter can coincide with the completion of the AtB quarter program to avoid conflict with existing law). New coinage manufactured by the Mint would be limited to the dime (which would remain the same), 50 cent piece (which would be smaller in size than the current one) and the $1 coin (which would remain the same). (estimated savings to the public and government about $1 billion/year. This savings is primarily due to the elimination of the handling by the government, retailers and the public of minor coinage).

 

Existing coins and notes need to continue to be accepted. This would provide significant advantages. The government would avoid the issue and expense of taking back all that is currently in circulation. The public would not have to deal with the possibility of the paper dollars and coins that they may have in their possession becoming worthless.

 

Then there is the issue of what to do with an old penny, nickel or quarter which is in hundredths and not tenths. How could they continue to be used if future transactions were in tenths? Below are illustrative examples:

 

If something were to cost $1.4 dollars and the purchaser had two quarters, the transaction would work as follows: the purchaser would provide the merchant with either a one dollar bill or a one dollar coin along with both quarters. The two quarters will still equal .5 dollars. Therefore, the purchaser would receive a dime (.1 dollars) in change.

 

If a purchaser had 10 pennies, that would be equivalent to .1 dollar. So while everything would be rounded to the .1 dollar, individuals holding existing coins would still be able to receive full value for those coins under the single decimal point system.

 

The last time there was a coin denomination change of this type was in 1857 with the elimination of the half cent. Back then, something could cost as an example four and 1/2 cents. It was decided that it was not worth the time and effort to have a 1/2 cent piece so things were rounded to the nearest cent. Today that half cent would be worth well over $.10 and most likely closer to $.25. (I remember an advertisement from 1885 that one could get a sandwich and a beer for a nickel).

 

Keep in mind that the practice of maintaining our present system with the use of the penny and nickel, is the equivalent of continuing to tax the American public. It costs the government millions of dollars to produce what are known as "minor coins". That means the American people are paying for this shortfall so that these coins can continue to be used. Eliminating these minor denominations and discontinuing the production of the quarter in lieu of a smaller .5 dollar, is the equivalent of a tax cut.

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Idea No. 1525