16 February 2008

My Three Cents

The US Treasury is broke - or will be soon.

Clyde Haberman's interesting column yesterday detailed how the US Mint is losing over $100 million a year making pennies and nickels. How can this be? We can't make money by making money?!?!

Apparently it costs 1.67 cents to make a penny, and 9.5 cents to make a nickel. And we can't make it up in volume. In fact, increased demand for pennies and nickels only puts us deeper in the hole.

There are some who are proposing to make this 100th year of the Lincoln penny its last - or maybe give Lincoln one more farewell tour in 2009.

I have another idea. If reducing demand for the coins will save us some money, maybe there is a way for Hillsborough to get something out of this. The elected officials of Somerset and Mercer Counties should partner with all of our local banks to request that no more pennies and nickels be sent to their local branches. We could make up the change shortfall out of our own pockets and piggybanks by exchanging loose coins for dollars at the banks, insuring the banks have enough of the un-precious metals on hand to do business.

Then we ask for the savings to be used to restart the West Trenton Rail Line!

What do you think?

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