On July 19, 2011, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced S. 1385, To terminate the $1 presidential coin program. Simply, the bill removes subsection n of Section 5112 of title 31 United States Code (31 U.S.C. § 5112), which is the law authorizing for the Presidential $1 Coin Program.
The bill reads as follows:
July 19, 2011
Mr. VITTER (for himself and Mr. DEMINT) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
A BILL To terminate the $1 presidential coin program. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. TERMINATION OF PRESIDENTIAL $1 COIN PROGRAM. Section 5112 of title 31 United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (n) and inserting the following: `(n) [Reserved.]’.
This is clearly an over reaction to the slanted report by NPR that suggests this is a taxpayer issue and not an issue of the broken monetary system in the United States. Rather than figure if this bill will properly achieve their purpose, Messrs. Vitter and DeMint wrote the most expedient bill regardless of its ramifications.
First, if this bill is passed, it will not do anything to relieve the oversupply of dollars being held by the Federal Reserve. All it will do is not increase the current supply leaving about $1 billion of coins in the Fed’s coin vaults and not circulating in the economy.
Another problem with the bill is that it leaves the First Spouse Gold Coin program in place. A closer look at the law shows that the First Spouse Program is codified in 31 U.S.C. § 5112(p). In order to stop the entire program, the bill would have to remove both subsections “n” and “p.”
Further, 31 U.S.C. § 5112(q) (subsection “q”) requires the U.S. Mint to promote the Presidential Dollar program and includes the requirements about the government and commercial acceptance of the coins. If the bill passes by removing subsection “n,” both the U.S. Mint and Federal Reserve will have difficulty complying with this law.
For numismatists who have been collecting Presidential Dollars, this bill’s passage will end the program early leaving us with a partial series. Teachers who use the coins and the good materials produced by the U.S. Mint to help teach history will have to find different tangible aids than coins. Coins would be a better teaching aid since it is tangible and money gets everyone’s attention.
The ONLY way to reduce the oversupply of dollars being held in the Federal Reserve coin vaults is to eliminate the $1 Federal Reserve Note. With out the paper, coins become the currency of the realm and will start to circulate.
I am sure that within a day someone will send a comment saying that Americans like paper and do not like coins. While there are segments of the population that will complain, Americans are resilient and will adapt. We can adapt to anything that the government can do and be successful. We can adapt to anything that market forces place on us and bees successful. We went from an all cash society to adding credit cards; cell phones are now everywhere as compared to 10 years ago; we have survived many changes in the economy; we went from leaded gas to unleaded; transit tokens to electronic metro passes; and now many cities are moving to paying for parking electronically rather than feeding quarters into meters. Americans adapt to change all of the time. Now it is time for all Americans to dig into their souls and change their currency habits for the good of the country.