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December 4, 2012

Could the dollar bill be on its way out?

A branch of the U.S. government is pushing for a dollar coin instead

If you’ve ever been to places like England and stayed for more than a day, you’ve probably walked around with a pocket full of change, as coins in the U.K. are used similarly to how one- and five-dollar bills are used in the United States.

Although the dollar bill isn’t the almighty standalone currency it used to be in terms of value, there’s something about that army-green, leather-smelling piece of paper that serves consumers well.

And the dollar may not buy you a whole lot these days, but it will still get you a lot of items that we use in our day-to-day lives, like that pack of gum sitting by the register at the convenience store or that tabloid newspaper that you grab on your way to work each morning.

Let’s face it, the dollar bill is still a nifty little piece of paper to have--and if you pool enough of them together, you don’t have to break that $20 bill in your wallet--because we all know that once that $20 is broken, it will disappear like David Blaine is practicing some elaborate trick with your finances.

But what if the dollar was removed from U.S. currency altogether, and just like our good friends on the opposite side of the ocean, we only used coins to represent it, and instead of carrying a wad of ones we toted around a bunch of change?

GAO's recommendation

Throughout the last couple of decades, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been trying to get rid of the paper dollar and replace it with a coin; in several reports, the U.S. agency has indicated getting rid of the paper dollar would ultimately save the country a significant amount of money.

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