CAGW Names Sen. David Vitter Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release: Contact:  Leslie K. Paige (202) 467-5334

October 25, 2011

Luke Gelber (202) 467-5318

 

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) for his efforts to repeal the Presidential Coin Act of 2005, effectively ending any opportunity for taxpayers to reap millions of dollars in savings from the use of $1 coins.  In July, 2011, Sen. Vitter introduced legislation that would end production of the $1 coin, stating that he “hoped that dollar coins would eventually save taxpayers money, [but] it’s turned out to be one of those unnecessary and, quite frankly, wasteful programs that we should eliminate.” 

Sen. Vitter cites the costs of storing and moving $1 coins in his rationale for discontinuing them, but $1 coins were never projected to reduce the federal deficit or save taxpayers money on their own.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that $1 coins could save taxpayers $184 million annually and $5.5 billion over the next 30 years, rely on discontinuing the circulation of $1 bills, which are comparatively less durable and more expensive in the long term.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces approximately 3.4 billion $1 bills each year, each of which costs 4.2 cents to manufacture and lasts 40 months. 

By comparison, the $1 coin costs between 12 and 20 cents, but has a lifespan of 30 years or more.  The $1 coin also saves money because it is cheaper to handle and process.  Mass transit agencies have found that processing $1 coins costs 83 percent less than processing $1 bills.  Other benefits include savings on the processing of money by banks and businesses.  Coins cost 30 cents per thousand pieces to process at Federal Reserve Banks, compared to 75 cents per thousand for $1 notes.  Large-scale private-sector users reap even more savings.  Coins are also much more difficult to counterfeit.  

“Sen. Vitter’s efforts to kill the $1 coin are exactly backward,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “When private companies come up with new and improved products, they typically stop producing the old, inferior version.  In government, the foolish and expensive decision has been made to produce both, and now the solution being sold to the public is that we must ditch the superior product in favor of one that costs more.  In reality, $1 notes are the problem.  They should be discontinued, not $1 coins.”

For proposing boneheaded solutions while ignoring an obvious way to reduce the deficit without raising taxes, Sen. David Vitter is CAGW’s October 2011 Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. 

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