by Steve Hanke
Proposed legislation to abolish the dollar bill and replace it with a dollar coin is government at its worst.
The American people might be surprised to learn that for the past 20 years a handful of lobbyists and lawmakers—mostly from states with mining and metal-processing interests—have been pushing a proposal to take away dollar bills, and force the public to use metal coins instead.
The most recent attempt is the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (Coins) Act, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa). This proposed law would prohibit the issuance of dollar bills after five years and replace them with dollar coins. The otherwise obscure piece of legislation was recently catapulted into the spotlight when Coins Act co-sponsor, Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) made the somewhat dubious claim that switching to a dollar coin would mean higher-denomination tips for strippers. …