U.S. Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, is backing a proposal that would replace dollar bills with coins.
Under the legislation, approximately 600,000 million coins would be put into circulation. A transition to the coins would take about four years.
According to the Government Accounting Office, the move would save the government $4.4 billion over a 30-year period.
“We need to get serious about ending wasteful government spending and that means we need to be willing to think outside the box. My common sense proposal to issue a dollar coin would trim billions of dollars off of our national debt. That’s more than just a little pocket change,” said Senator Udall in a written statement.
“It will save the government money because they’ve done studies that suggest coins last much much longer than a bill,” explained Dr. Mac Clouse of the University of Denver.
The bigger hurdle, says Clouse, is the public perception of convenience.
“I don’t carry change, period. It gets lost in my purse,” said Ashlee Fifer of Denver. “I think it would be confusing for people to keep track of a dollar coin.”
There could also be an added financial burden to businesses if such a shift were to take place.
Clouse points out that businesses might be forced to spend money as the government tries to save. If the plan goes forward, they’ll have to adapt by adding an additional coin slot in cash registers or adding a bigger slot to vending machines.