This month we learned that making a penny actually costs the US Mint 2 pennies and making a nickel costs 9 cents. Besides the fact that most people would rather throw a penny in a well than carry it around, why on God’s green earth would we continue to produce something that isn’t worth its price of production? The answer is, of course, that we can’t get anything done in this country because every silly group in the land has a lobby. The constant tug-of-war forces the country to tread water and stay stagnate as every chance for progression passes us by. We are all hopelessly gridlocked on every issue to the point where we can’t even change change.
Last year, the mint created 13 billion pennies, half of which were considered lost or out of circulation less than a year later. This missing copper is almost all due to the fact that most people put pennies in a jar at home, or in their car ashtray, or in my case, just throw them on the ground because they are completely worthless. When the US Congress made an attempt to update coin currency to make it more modern and profitable, they were immediately shut down by the Coin Operated Laundry Lobby. I know what you’re thinking…laundry matts have lobbyists? Yes they do, and apparently they are quite good because they have convinced our government that modernizing the change system is a bad idea; their reason being that they would have to adapt all their laundry machines to take the new coins. God forbid.
We as a country can’t let little things like this slide anymore — not because the amount of money is staggering or it will make or break us fiscally but because it’s common sense. We are using an outdated system that costs twice as much to produce the coins as the coins are worth. That’s textbook bad business: wastefull and just plain stupid, especially for a country with an out of control rising deficit. We need to upgrade the system to be more profitable and make financial sense. It’s not just about the money we are spending, it’s also about the money we are not making. Remember the US Treasury is one of the only branches of goverment that turns a profit every year. Last year, the Mint’s coin-making profit was $730 million. Mint officials estimate the added penny and nickel expenses will reduce the Mint’s profit this year by $45 million. That’s not exactly enough to fund national health care, but it’s 45 million big ones we are going to lose every year indefinitely so that the few people who own laundry matts don’t have to upgrade their machines. That’s Chronic stupidity to the tune of 450 million dollars over the next ten years, and that’s not even counting in for inflation.
So now the whole country will suffer and lose money we desperately need just to protect a small special interest group from having to spend a few dollars. How exactly does that happen? I thought the idea behind democracy was that the majority ruled, not special interest. The country should not be willing to lose tens of millions of dollars producing these two coins every year just to keep laundry matt owners from spending a few thousand dollars on upgrades. Honestly these guys have been making money for years, and if they have to spend some of it so the country can upgrade its currency, then they should just man up and do it. Pennies take one for the team; you have for too long now rode the coat tails of the rest of the currency system by managing to avoid eradication via update. A total revamp of the coin system would quite simply, make perfect cents...
- Patrick Zarrelli