Granted, you couldn’t do this with coins.
Granted, you couldn't do this with coins. (photos.com)

Americans don't always embrace change, especially in their pockets.

Still, we think a proposal in Congress backed by Colorado's Sen. Mark Udall to phase out the $1 bill and replace it with dollar coins makes a lot of sense. And, more importantly, it will save a lot of cents.

Under the COINS Act — or Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings, a bipartisan measure Udall is co-sponsoring — the printing of $1 bills would stop four years after the measure's passage or in the first year in which 600 million dollar coins are circulated.

The Goverment Accountability Office estimates moving from the printed $1 bill, which must be replaced every few years, to coins would save taxpayers about $4.4 billion over 30 years. That's not chump change.

Similar bills have faltered in the past, and the public has not universally warmed to $1 coins. Remember the aggravating Susan B. Anthony dollars that everyone confused with quarters? And while the gold-colored $1 coins bearing the likenesses of Sacagawea or U.S. presidents looked different than other coins, some critics, like Colorado's U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, hated them.

Polis in 2011 introduced his own COINS Act (Cutting Out Inefficient and Needless Spending) to stop production of the gold dollars. President Barack Obama the same year halted production of the coins in what was called an effort to trim waste.

But we think the coins wouldn't be wasteful if they replaced paper bills.

According to a former Treasury Department official, Canada realized savings 10 times greater than estimated by switching from printed Canadian $1 bills to the $1 coin, which natives affectionately call the "looney" and don't complain about using.

While officials are looking at coins, we'd encourage them to once again consider phasing out the penny, which now costs more than twice as much to produce as it's worth. (Canada stopped producing pennies, too.) We know some people would complain about a "rounding tax" at the cash register, but with the number of transactions done electronically these days, it's less of an issue.

One-dollar coins, no pennies — that's change you can believe in.