Avoid being penniless


By Bob Cox

February 24, 2014

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.


Sometimes I get a little goofy and start thinking about things that most normal people probably don’t allow into their minds. But I figure that my mind has a lot of room left and I may as well use that room to store up some insignificant pieces of drivel that will be in good company with what is already there.


My latest bedlamite thought has to do with the lowly one-cent piece, or as most of us know it, the penny. I read recently that it costs the government 1.83 cents to mint one penny. Not many of us will stay in business if we continue to make a product that has a cost of 80 percent more than the value, but the government is not one of us.


I cannot seem to find an accurate figure on how many of the nearly five billion one-cent pieces minted each year are still in circulation. I do know this: I do not recirculate a lot of pennies and I suspect I am not much different than most people in that respect. I am betting that there are one hell of a lot of jars and cans full of those lowly one-cent pieces sitting on dressers and chests of drawers around the country. The sad thing is that most of those one cent pieces, while costing more than one cent to make, are not worth much of anything and melting down pennies and nickels has been illegal in the U.S. since 2006. Even if we could sell them as scrap, we would not get much.


In fact, those copper-looking coins made before 1962 (with a couple of exceptions) were 5 percent zinc and tin. After 1962 the zinc alone became five percent of the content, then in 1982 the composition changed and today’s one-cent coin is 97.5 percent zinc. So, for the most part, the spot copper price means absolutely nothing for most of those pennies in your jar, but I have a plan.


There are a lot of people opposed to discontinuing the one-cent coin. They are afraid that prices will then be rounded up to the nearest five cents instead of the nearest one-cent. They may be right, but can we afford to continue to make the coin at such a loss? I think both sides of the argument can be satisfied with a simple solution. I will call it a path to avoid being penniless, or comprehensive coin amnesty that will bring the penny out of the shadows. We will do it for the kids so they too can some day experience the dream of buying penny candy.


During a 30-day grace period, I propose that the government pay each person that puts one hundred or more pennies back into circulation 1.5 cents for each  one-cent coin and, for that same period of time, no new pennies be minted.

Under my plan the government saves .33 cents on each penny put into circulation and injects that money into the private sector economy, creating a sizable amount of cash that will begin circulating immediately around the local stores. Talk about stimulus!


Now I know that the total amount saved or created here will likely not even pay for a weekend golf trip for our president and it may well not create a lot of jobs outside of the necessary extra employee or two that the armored car companies might have to hire, but it certainly would be a positive development, especially if we also required that the IRS give a direct tax credit on all income derived from this “One-Cent Reclamation Act of 2014.”


Call your senators and representatives. Send them this discursive little note and sit back. This could be fun.


Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.




© Robert R. Cox 2014








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