Cash is King

The Cost of Cash: Seriously, Wall Street Journal?

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting piece this morning on the cost of cash, and how the U.S. government hopes to save a few greenbacks by changing up money production.

The most jarring note: pennies (2.4 cents) and nickels (11.2 cents) cost more than twice what they’re worth to produce, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Geithner says changing coins’ metallic contents, plus what the Journal refers to as “improving the efficiency of currency production,” will reduce costs by more than $75 million in the next year. In 2011, the Mint spent nearly $200 million on metal for coins.

But here’s where the Journal gets off track. I can see a $75 million note being interesting to maybe a few entrepreneurs, or innovators in the metal industry, whatever. Instead, this is the framing we get:

“The effort to find efficiencies is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to reduce budget deficits by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.”

Never has the phrase “drop in the bucket” been more appropriate. Involving $4 trillion in deficits in a conversation about making pennies and nickels! What else ya got for me, Journal?

“The suspension of presidential dollar coin production, announced in December, will save another $50 million.”

The Treasury gets credit for not spending $50 million on a dollar coin? What is this, an election year?!

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