For example, a few years ago a Gallup Poll found that 64 percent would oppose a government decision to halt production of the dollar bill and replace it with a dollar coin. However, when informed that doing so would save hundreds of millions of dollars per year, 54 percent said they would favor the change.
None of this is designed to disrespect George Washington. Even if the dollar bill went away, he’d still get wide currency exposure, because he still has his head on the quarter. Plus, it’s not set in stone that Sacagawea has to remain on the dollar coin for all time. Perhaps, in years to come, a new dollar coin could be minted. I’d recommend Washington crossing the Delaware on the back of it.
Retiring the single would also create a more prominent role for the nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson. He’s been on the two dollar bill for decades. But the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence doesn’t really get his just desserts. When was the last time you spent a two dollar bill? Without a dollar bill, retailers would have an empty space in their cash drawers, and the two dollar bill would expand its circulation to fill that slot.
In addition, every time money is redesigned, collectors squirrel away a certain amount of it. Consider the new state quarters. Millions of people are collecting them and thus taking them out of circulation. If people stocked up on the soon-to-be obsolete dollar bills, that would serve as an interest-free loan to the government.
Just as Washington once stepped aside willingly, the Washington dollar should, as well. He’ll remain first in our hearts, but it’s time for the golden dollar to shine.