The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

My Two Cents Worth

06/28/2012

Many Americans get all riled-up when they read about the thousand dollar commode seats, etc. bought by the Federal government.  To me, that always seemed like “chump change” compared to the stupidity of paying people who are living longer . . . to retire sooner.  Or, even worse, to borrow billions from China, so we can spend unlimited amounts of money on terminal patients??

However, my inner-economist does get riled-up occasionally, like when I read it is costing us 2.4 cents to produce or “mint” a penny.  It costs us 11.2 cents to produce a nickel.  How long would a business remain viable if its production costs exceeded its retail price?  Last year, our loss was $116.7 million.

Zinc, nickel, and copper are the three ingredients in the recipe for our coins, and those prices have risen in recent years.  Because these metals are used for everything from batteries to suntan lotion, I don’t see the raw material prices falling enough to stop losing money.

The approved recipe of those metals in our coins hasn’t changed in thirty years and needs to be changed.  In all fairness, the President did send legislation last year to Congress . . . where it was promptly pronounced D.O.A.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . .

Even when faced with a relatively simple issue, the elected children of Congress remain useless . . .  and that’s my 4.8 cents.

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