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Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 8:00pm

Flip To Coins For Debt Relief?

Camden County lawyer Charlie Smith is a man with a mission... to convince businesses, banks and friends in Camden County to lead the country in circulating dollar coins instead of bills.

If every state in the U.S. used coins instead of bills, Smith says the federal government could save more than $500 million dollars a year in production and recirculation costs and would be an easy way to cut government spending in tight budget times like these.

Smith says there are no excuses.

"So, until we find a way to get rid of the entire $13 trillion debt, or whatever it is in 15 minutes, you're not willing to help? Is that what you're telling me?" Smith asks people. "Of course, I'm a little too excited about this issue, maybe."

The coins do cost more to initially make, but last much longer than the easily worn-down paper bills... 30 to 50 years compared to just 19 to 21 months.

Coins are not popular or widely circulated today, so the overall savings to the U.S. Mint is not great right now.

Dollar coins costs about 12 cents to make and are recyclable

Smith says, any dent in the national debt is worth pursuing, especially since nearly all other industrial countries use coinage for one or two unit currency.

"What I'm doing some would consider a Don Quixote sort of effort," Smith says. "But every day, I'm doing a little something to try to get dollar coins in circulation, in the hopes that sooner or later, I'll have a tiny little effect, and maybe live long enough to see the end of this foolishness of printing one dollar bills!"

Smith's excitement has attracted federal attention as of late.

He will join the Coalition for the One Dollar Coin in Washington to discuss the benefits with the U.S. Treasury Department in September.