In December 2011, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner announced that the U.S. Mint would no longer mass-produce dollar coins. (Collectors will still be able to order the coins.)

Biden and Geithner said demand for dollar coins was very low, with up to 40% of the currency returned to the Federal Reserve. Phasing out dollar coins and sticking to dollar bills would allegedly save the Treasury Department $50 million a year.

"We shouldn't be wasting money on money," Geithner said.

Many economists say the coins are far from a waste. They could save billions of dollars. It costs about 18 cents to manufacture a dollar coin, compared to about 10 cents for a dollar bill. Coins, however, last more than 20 times longer than bills. Fewer coins need to be manufactured, saving money over years.

The Treasury Department would have to phase out the manufacture of dollar bills in order to see those savings, however, and that is unlikely to happen.


supposed or presumed.


money or other resource that can be used to buy goods and services.


unit of currency in many nations, including the United States, circulated as paper and coin.


having to do with money.

Federal Reserve

central bank of the United States. Also called the Fed.


to make or produce a good, usually for sale.

phase out

to get rid of in stages, or stop using over time.