From Planet Money, news that dollar coins are piling up inside the Fed. There is apparently $1 billion of them. Why is that a problem? Well, they cost $300 million to make. That looks like pure waste.
The idea was that coins would depict different Presidents and thereby generate some excitement. Let’s be clear, that isn’t a bad idea. Let’s also be clear, coins are better than dollar notes. They are more durable and can be more easily used in vending machines. They would also reduce reliance on the quarter that currently has an exchange rate with the dollar of about 4.5 quarters to one dollar — that is better than the Australian dollar is trading.
In Australia, 20 years ago, the dollar coin was such a success that it changed the demand for money (people liked to save them) and led to the two dollar coin.
Anyhow, the solution to all this is simple. Stop printing dollar notes. Then release the coins instead. No waste and the stockpile gets used. After all, the US Government does have a monopoly on this stuff.