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.