Vice President Joe Biden and several cabinet secretaries announced today the administration's efforts to identify and eliminate misspent tax dollars. My favorite – the savings of $50 million annually by no longer minting unneeded and unwanted dollar coins. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin says they currently have a decade worth of excess coins on the shelves! From the White House release:
The Vice President and Secretary Geithner announced the Administration’s plan to stop the wasteful production of $1 coins for circulation. In 2005, Congress enacted the Presidential $1 Coin Act, which mandated that the United States Mint issue new Presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased President. But more than 40 percent of the $1 coins that the United States Mint has issued have been returned to the Federal Reserve, because nobody wants to use them.
As a result, nearly 1.4 billion excess dollar coins are already sitting unused in Federal Reserve Bank vaults – enough to meet demand for more than a decade. But until today, the Mint was on pace to produce an additional 1.6 billion dollar coins through 2016.
To put a stop to this waste the Administration will halt the production of Presidential $1 Coins for circulation. The Administration will still be required, by law, to continue to produce a relatively small number of the coins to be sold to collectors, at no cost to taxpayers. Instead of producing 70-80 million coins per President, the United States Mint will now only produce as many as collectors want. Regular circulating demand for $1 coins will be met through the Federal Reserve Banks' existing inventory, which will be drawn down over time. Overall, this step will save at least $50 million annually over the next several years.
“At the Treasury Department, we’re continuing to work hard in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s efforts to cut waste and streamline government,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Putting a stop to the minting of surplus $1 coins represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In these tough times, Americans are making every dollar count, and they deserve the same from their government. We simply shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren’t using.”