Even Cliched Adages Don’t Work For The Government

You’ve heard that old expression “you’ve got to spend money to make money”? This hoary old chestnut has been taken to absurd extremes by the US Government, where it somehow costs them more money to make and distribute our coins than the coins are worth. Sweet.

Penny for your thoughts? Three cents please!

When it comes to making coins, the Mint isn’t getting its two cents worth. In some cases, it doesn’t even get half of that.

A penny costs more than two cents and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make and distribute. The quandary is how to make coins more cheaply without sparing our change’s quality and durability, or altering its size and appearance.

A 400-page report presented last week to Congress outlines nearly two years of trials conducted at the Mint in Philadelphia, where a variety of metal recipes were put through their paces in the massive facility’s high-speed coin-making machinery.

Evaluations of 29 different alloys concluded that none met the ideal list of attributes. The Treasury Department concluded that additional study was needed before it could endorse any changes.

What more do you need to read? You’ve got to wonder how much coin was spent on that TWO YEAR study, which had the typical, worthless, bureaucratic bottom line that more studying was needed.

What a load of copper crapper.

The government has been looking for ways to shave the millions it spends every year to make bills and coins. Congressional auditors recently suggested doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins, which they concluded could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion over three decades. Canada is dropping its penny as part of an austerity budget.


A slight reduction in the nickel content of our quarters, dimes and nickels would bring some cost savings while keeping the magnetic characteristics the same. Making more substantial changes, like switching to steel or other alloys with different magnetic properties, could mean big savings to the government but at a big cost to coin-op businesses, Peterson said.

The vending industry estimates it would cost between $700 million and $3.5 billion to recalibrate machines to recognize coins with an additional magnetic signature. The Mint’s researchers reached a lower but still pricey estimate of $380 million to $630 million.

Only four of the 80 metals on the periodic table - aluminum, iron (used to make steel), zinc and lead - cost less than copper and nickel, the report stated. Lead isn’t an option because of its potential health hazards.


Concurrent Technologies Corp., a Pennsylvania-based scientific research and development company, is working with the Mint on the alternative materials study under a $1.5 million contract awarded in 2011.

Sure, the mint needed to outsource their metals study. Because, you know, they know nothing about metals, and haven’t looked at alternate materials to make coins from ever. Not even in WWII, when nickels were made from aluminum.

It’s rather dark humor that the mint is capable of nickel and diming itself to death by producing those very coins. Pretty sure I read all about this in a Terry Pratchett book a couple years ago.

Hey government, you want the solution? Fix the damn economy (by getting the hell out of the way, and by stopping this dingdong Quantitative Easement garbage) and the value of our money will increase. “Strip” some of those horrendous EPA regulations and we can mine more of these metals. More metal = less demand = falling prices. Oh, and FIRE your money haulers. I’ll bet you ... a roll of nickels! ... that some non-union types can do the job for a whole lot less.

Oh, and from now on I’m going to try to get all my change in nickels, kind of like those bars in Texas and elsewhere that only gives change in $2 bills*.

Yes, $2 bills.

In case you haven’t seen any of them since the Bicentennial, I thought I’d let you know that not only are they still in circulation, but they’re still being made.

And they are the only US paper money that has not had any of the security updates and changes; aside from the signatures and the “Series of” dates, the bills are exactly the same front and back as they were in 1976, right down to the wasn’t-actually-there-at-the-time black guy on the back in the middle of the Signing meeting. OTOH, some folks really need to believe.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 12/20/2012 at 07:53 PM   
  1. Good one Drew. Are they after the dollar again? Would hate to see a dollar coin. Hell, over here they withdrew certain paper notes long ago and Brit money is heavy if you’ve a lot of change to carry. The one pound coin isn’t light.

    Question, why can’t I open one of your links below the fold?  It’s PDF but nothing happens much except a dialog box which in turn give me a blank tab. ??

    Cheers and all that ... see ya tomorrow I hope. Busy day ahead.

    Posted by peiper    United Kingdom   12/20/2012  at  09:09 PM  
  2. oops.PDF referred to is below the fold, “NEED TO BELIEVE”

    Posted by peiper    United Kingdom   12/20/2012  at  09:10 PM  
  3. Yes, so? Works fine for me. Maybe it’s a UK thing. Try saving it to desktop, then opening manually if you really want to see it. Several misleading statements in there.

    Posted by Drew458    United States   12/20/2012  at  10:32 PM  
  4. Fa la la la la,,la la la laaaaaa.

    Posted by Rich K    United States   12/21/2012  at  04:14 AM  
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