A CNNMoney article appears on the scrolling Yahoo news clips this morning titled "Obama wants cheaper pennies and nickels." There are some pretty interesting facts contained in this article, including these:
- "it cost 2.4 cents to make one penny in 2011 and about 11.2 cents for each nickel"
- "Given the number of coins that the mint produces -- 4.3 billion pennies and 914 million nickels last year alone, those costs add up pretty quickly: a little more than $100 million for each coin."
- "The raw material cost of the metals used in a current penny is only about 0.6 cents per coin... (but) the administrative cost of minting 4.3 billion pennies costs almost a half-cent per coin by itself, leaving precious little room to make a penny for less than a cent, no matter the raw material used."
- "The mint paid 1.1 cents on average for the metal used in a penny in 2011, but that is the cost of ready-to-stamp blanks from the supplier, not raw material traded on commodity markets."
- "[there is] 1.4 billion surplus presidential dollar coins sitting in bank vaults waiting to be circulated, and American consumers [are] showing little appetite to start using the coins"
So, here's a thought, starting with that last fact. IF we have a $1.4B surplus just sitting around in bank vaults that the American People don't want, why not recall it all and use it against the national debt? Give fair notice to the People, that any coins remaining after six months will be recalled for that purpose.
Second, with the stated costs in producing pennies and nickels alone, why not stop all production of coins completely for five years, and save that cost? Apply what would be spent in coin production to what ever debt we have, and at the end of five years see where we stand financially. It may be worth a shot.