It’s a Green-Eyed Monster, To Coin a Phrase

Even the U.S. Mint is joining the environmentally “green” marketing game. The latest entry is the new dollar coin that the Mint is trying to convince consumers to use. After two failed attempts at promoting the use of dollar coins (the Susan B. Anthony and the Sacagawea coins), the Mint has unveiled the presidential coin series. At press events held in four cities including Portland, the Treasury Department made the bold announcement that this is a “green” coin and can be recycled. What they failed to mention is that virtually all coins can be recycled.

A study comparing the dollar bill with the dollar coin showed that a coin is more efficient because it lasts an average of 30 years, as opposed to a dollar bill lasting only 18 months. 18 months? I asked a bank teller to show me all the one-dollar bills in her drawer. All but two were 1999 or 2003.

Twice now a dollar coin proved to be too heavy for the consumer pocket and a nightmare for vendors. 67 million tax dollars later, the Mint gave up on the Sacagawea Dollar.

Spending 60+ million tax dollars to market the new dollar coin not only insults our intelligence, but will not have the intended result. After three failed attempts, perhaps they will finally abolish this idea all together.


Jeff Alan is Chief Investigator at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 22 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Coins are the way to go. For sure. They fit great in a wallet. They work well at Max lines for those who actually pay to ride.
    I am very happy with the government’s efforts to reduce dependence on the cloth money we are forced to use.
    I am turning in all my $1 bills today at my local bank. I only hope they have enough of these coins for me.
    Plus, I love Andrew Jackson.

  • John Fairplay

    I heard that the Treasury Department was also developing an “anti-gravity” wallet for use with these coins. For example, on days when I have to buy gas, I need about $80, so carrying 80 of these coins can be a little…awkward. Or, if I mistakenly have a $20 bill and buy a single postage stamp at a USPS vending machine, I can end up with 19 of these wonderful coins in my pockets! The anti-gravity wallet allows me to carry up to 50 one-dollar Jackson coins at a time and costs only $253,008!

    It’s appropriate these coins feature Andrew Jackson, as Old Hickory was the first Democrat to be referred to as a “jackass.”

    • Fuzzy Bunny

      Or you could find out about those marvelous $5 and $10 bills, which would never require you to have more than $4.99 in coins in your normal wallet.

      Ain’t progress grand?

      • Steve

        Cool! What button do I push on the post office vending machine to get one of these new “$10 bills” back as change?

  • Rob Kremer

    I for one think a dollar coin could work, but they keep screwing it up. They keep making the same mistake: the dollar coins have all been too similar to the quarter in size and heft.

    Britian has a one pound coin that is thicker than the other coins. You can fish it out of your pocket among a group of other coins just by feel. It is very useful for all sorts of small transactions because it is easy to use.

    Every dollar coin the US has tried is just too similar to the quarter. This will fail.

  • Bob Clark

    The nice thing about some coins is they contain metal whose value can rise with inflation, if you ignore the restrictions against melting them. The value of pre-1982 minted pennies actually exceeds 1 cent because of their high concentration of copper. So, coins do have some redeeming qualities as potential store of value – A growing concern given the penchant for the federal government/federal reserve to bail out enterprises with new electronic and paper monies, potentially fostering inflation.

  • Alan

    What about vending machines? They need to accept the new dollar as well.

  • Jay Bozievich

    Just wait, there is a court decision that says paper money violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because visually impaired people cannot distinguish denominations. Start looking for more coins or, better yet, bills of diferent sizes or with edge texturing.

    Pretty soon our money will look more like a three year old’s attempt to make paper dolls…

  • Alan

    Jay, What about people who have no hands?

    • Jay Bozievich

      I guess they could feel the money with their lips…Or we could add scent to it! Just think, Bayberry Lincolns, Vanilla Hamiltons, and of course, Cherry Washingtons!

      • Big K

        Jay, Jay, Jay, we need aromas not flavors. Citrus mist for one dollar bills, Pechulli for Five dollars,

  • Crawdude

    As a coin collector, I find the Presidential Dollars boring and uninspiring.

    As practical use currency, they are only good if you ride the MAX or use a state park. The is a car washing whose automatic machine gives them as change but doesn’t accept them for payment, go figure!

    The only way they will become widely used, is if the Fed. removes all dollar bills from circulation and forces the people to go to the dollar coin. Otherwise this whole program is a waste!

    • Raven

      Or if you use vending machines or *gasp* public transportation. In my area vending machines that don’t take them are the exception to the rule.

      • Crawdude

        Didn’t I mention public transportation in my post, you’re not a very sharp one Raven. Go back and play with your crayons.

  • PatRiot

    How ironic that Andrew Jackson should be the portrait because his grave marker says “I killed the bank”.

  • Josh

    All they need to do is eliminate the paper dollar, and people would start using dollar coins.

  • Jordan Lund

    I haven’t had any trouble with dollar coins to date… You buy a roll of them for $25 and LEAVE THEM IN THE ROLL. Peel it down as you use the coins.

    It’s really as simple as that… Now if they just worked in the vending machines at work…

  • spike

    The date on bills is the “series” number, not the date they are printed. The current series is 2006, but you can often find bills of series 2003 which are probably printed in 2005 or early 2006. Living in a small town in upstate NY with no ATM nearby, years ago, by the end of winter the bills were looking pretty ratty, because there was little fresh influx of cash from the city as there was in summer. That said, the US is the only country in the world that still prints a paper bill for such a small denomination. There is no 1 Euro bill, or a 1 Pound bill in England. It’s time for a $1 coin. The dollar is almost worthless anyway; for God’s sake, we still use pennies! How crazy is that?

  • Kevin

    An *average* of 18 months. And regardless, even if the average life was 10 years, that’s still nothing in comparison to 30 years. Where the problem lies is in trying to market the coins. They need to just stop circulating the dollar bill. It’s been done before. Americans have got to stop resisting change for the sake of resisting change.

  • Derek

    In many countries coins have already replaced 1 & even 2 dollar notes. As someone who has lived through this in Australia the weight issue just does not exist. You will find that you have a 5.00 note and not 5 x 1.00 coins. Even if you have a lot of coins I predict that you will cope like we have here in Au.

    I think that the US needs to get over the ‘we are different’ thing. You have missed out on Metric, Don’t miss out on this.

  • Watcher

    These coins are here because $1 is worth about $.25 now with the massive fed spending… it’s the new 25 cent piece, it’ll just have $1 on it.

  • Dick Lick

    HEY, USE YOUR HEAD. Why not demand that pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters be available in paper as well.

    I don’t like to carry coins either, but money devalues. It’s a rare rich county these days that makes a bill worth as little as a US dollar.

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