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Bay State Senators: Stop The Presses

Staff ReportsiBerkshires

'All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.'
Massachusetts' two U.S. senators may hail from different parties but they're in agreement that the presidential dollar coin series has to stop — and stop now.

The Currency Efficiency Act of 2011 was filed by U.S. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry to prevent a program they are calling "runaway waste" and stop minting a coin that nobody wants. The extremely unpopular coins have been piling up in vaults to the tune of $1.2 billion.

"The one dollar coin is misleading because it costs taxpayers so much more. A broken law requires taxpayers to spend millions of dollars a year minting and storing coins they don't want," said Brown.

Kerry said, "Streamlining the dollar coin program is a simple fix when we have over a billion excess coins sitting in a vault."

The presidential coins series started in 2007 by an act of Congress and is designed to honor the nation's presidents (at least those who have died by 2014), similar to the very popular state quarters. However, dollar coins have been a tough sell to the public — they don't fit in most vending machines and are often confused for quarters.

A dollar coin featuring Adams native daughter Susan B. Anthony had a brief unpopular run and was replaced in 2000 by the Sacagawea coin, which has continued to be printed alongside the presidential coins.

The unwanted $1 coins cost $300 million to produce and the overflow is forcing the Fed to build new vaults to store them, say the senators. Shipping alone will cost $3 million and the idle coins cost the government $37 million a year in lost investment income.

The Federal Reserve reports that it has more than $1.2 billion in excess $1 coins sitting in its vaults, growing every day toward an estimated $2 billion by 2016 when the program ends.

A Harris poll in 2008 found 76 percent of Americans prefer a folding bill, like the kind printed on currency paper made by our own Crane & Co. in Dalton.

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