Are you finding it difficult to procure the steel you need at prices you can afford? Are you banking on the government to improve availability and affordability? You"d better hope that the latest idea under government consideration doesn"t worsen your problem.
In their present compositions, making a penny currently costs 1.26 cents (down from 1.67 at the end of 2007), and making a nickel costs more than 7.7 cents.
According to the AP report, surging prices for copper, zinc and nickel have some in Congress trying to bring back the steel-made pennies of World War II, and maybe using steel for nickels, as well.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., whose subcommittee oversees the U.S. Mint, said that copper and nickel prices have tripled since 2003 and the price of zinc has quadrupled. Keeping the current content means "contributing to our national debt by almost as much as the coin is worth," he said.
Congress is debating a bill that would direct the Treasury secretary to come up with new, more economical penny and nickel compositions, which may include steel.
As usual, politics have entered the fray with different factions quarrelling about who has the power to coin money and regulate the value. The Treasury Department opposes the bill in part because it does not clearly delegate the power to decide the new coin composition. Mint Director Edmund Moy said that the bill also gives the public and the metal industry too little time to weigh in on the new coin composition.
How about giving metal fabricators an opportunity to weigh in on how using steel for coins might affect their already limited ability to secure it? Sure, pennies and nickels are small, but last year, the Mint coined 7.4 billion pennies and 1.2 billion nickels. That's not chump change. Oh & wait a minute & producing the coins at costs that exceed their value sounds like a chump move to me. And the biggest chumps in all this are the U.S. taxpayers, who unwittingly are pouring hard-earned money down the drain. Come on Congress. Earn your salaries and perks. Think about this issue. Secure input from all stakeholders, ignore lobbyists, and make an economically sound decision for everyone involved, which is all of us. Is that asking too much?