Rep. David Schweikert continues to push for the end of the U.S. dollar bill, but a recent poll shows even District 6 Republicans aren’t sure they’re ready to say goodbye to the paper dollar.
The survey, conducted by the independent public opinion research firm Lincoln Park Strategies and paid for by Americans for George, said that 80 percent of Republican voters surveyed oppose removing the dollar bill, 79 percent feel the dollar coin in unnecessary, 79 percent say the dollar coin is unwanted, 80 percent feel the dollar bill is more convenient to carry, and 66 percent say the dollar bill is more American than the dollar coin.
Schweikert said while the motive behind the survey is questionable, he understands the concerns. His concern is about saving money in the long run.
“Change is always difficult, but there’s a reason that most of the advanced industrialized world has moved away from the paper dollar,” Schweikert said. “It’s so expensive and has such a short life span. A lot of us have to make a decision for billions and billions in savings. Are you willing to give up a paper dollar for the light-weight coin? Particularly for a state like Arizona that mines copper, it’s good for Arizona and it’s good for budget savings.”
The group that paid for the survey, Americans for George, said the survey is not the first to confirm that people don’t want a dollar coin, and that most voters prefer a different approach to addressing the federal deficit.
“We’ve done two national polls in the past couples years, and there have been others done in the past five years, and we’ve also done additional polls in districts across the country and there is one thing that they all have in common and that is an overwhelming desire by people to oppose having the dollar bill removed from circulation,” said Randy DeCleene, spokesman for Americans for George. “There’s a general dislike of the dollar coin and a general like of the dollar bill.”
DeCleene said he sees the dollar bill as a national icon, along with the American Flag. It’s an icon that should not just be thrown away with the promise of savings 30 years in the future.
“Go back to 1982 and let’s research Congress’ projections on budget savings in the year 2012,” he said. “What did they think they’d be saving money on? How accurate do we think that would be? The answer is obvious. We have no idea what the case will be in 30 years.”
Schweikert said Americans for George is a group primarily funded by the company that produces the paper for U.S. currency, and the dollar bill represents 40 percent of all currency that’s printed.
“Either we want to save money or we want to protect a particular franchise that produces the paper,” Schweikert said. “There have been dollar coins made since we became a nation. Many of them have been very heavy and bulky. We’ve learned from what they’ve done in Canada, Australia and England in how they’ve made them much more comfortable. A coin lasts 30 years. It’s a huge savings.”
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