I’m a little late to this party, but, because of an overwhelming lack of interest, the White House on December 13 announced the end of the presidential dollar coin program. That should be the end of dollar coins in the United States for a long,long time.
As I said in late September and early October, I have a great deal of personal history with the dollar coin and am very familiar with the coin-vs.-bill cost analyses. In general, the coin is better from a budget perspective because it costs far less for the government to keep a coin than a bill in circulation.
Those savings only materialize, however, if the dollar coin is a substitute for rather than an addition to the bill. If the bill isn’t eliminated or isn’t used by consumers, producing a dollar coin means an additional rather than a lower expense and a larger rather than a smaller deficit. Producing a coin under these circumstances simply means more taxpayer-financed sales for the companies that produce the raw materials and equipment needed to make the coins.
After literally decades of experience with dollar coins, we now know that collectors might like them but consumers don’t use them. We also know that, because it costs retailers more to get them delivered to their stores than bills, businesses are not inclined to carry dollar coins. So you can’t get one and won’t use it if you do.
In other words, none of the conditions that will make a dollar coin a good deal from a budget perspective will exist. As a result, the administration absolutely made the right call.