In an effort to save money, the U.S. Mint will... make less money.
The nation's money factory will cut off mass production of presidential $1 coins, making just enough to meet demand for collectors, Vice President Joe Biden announced at a Cabinet meeting.
The call for Chester A. Arthur coins is not big, he said, referring to one of three presidents set to be featured on the coin for 2012. The Mint has produced coins with every president up to James Garfield since 2007.
But since the appeal and practical uses of the coins is so low, the Federal Reserve is sitting on a 1.4 billion coin stockpile, taking about 40 percent of the total made out of circulation. The Mint will continue to make a limited number of coins for collectors.
Production of the coins began after Congress passed the Presidential $1 Coin Act in 2005, which mandated the United States Mint pump out $1 coins, four-presidents per year from 2007 to 2016.
The change is part of the Obama administration's broader effort to cut wasteful spending. Cutting back on spending for $1 coins will save the government an estimated $50 million a year.
The remaining Presidents slated for 2012 circulation besides Arthur (Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison) would have rounded out a prolonged Republican stretch in the White House, as 2013's Grover Cleveland was the first Democrat to be elected into the Oval Office since the end of the Cold War. Still, no prominent Republicans have called the White House's move a blatant act of partisanship.
We simply shouldn't be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren't using, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.