Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In for a penny

Once again, a US Congressman wants to talk about making pennies cheaper. His proposal is to make them from copper-plated steel. If we assume the much more sensible option of abolishing the one-cent piece entirely is off the table--as it almost certainly is*--this is a sensible option. Our northern neighbors have been striking their pennies this way since 2000.

Not news. I bring the topic up specifically because of the comical rationale used to sell a bill that doesn't need rationalizing:

[Bill sponsor Steve] Stivers** and co-sponsors of the bill hail from a steel-producing state.

"At a time when too many of our products are being manufactured in other countries, we should at least be able to buy those products with money produced using materials made in America," Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a co-sponsor, said in a statement. Stivers said that much of the copper, zinc and nickel used in coins comes from Canada.

Swarthy Canadians are stealing our jobs! Secure the border! Learn the language, you milk-bagging Cuban-smokers!

[* - It would be easier if Lincoln hadn't landed there. But his adorers want to maintain his place of "honor" on the world's most valueless coin, and our benevolent governors presumably enjoy having a Caesar on a coin, to remind us who to render unto.]
[** - "Fun" fact: the name Stivers derives from a variant of "stuiver," a nickname for several silver and copper coins of northern Europe and colonial states influenced by trade with the Dutch East India Company. This is the kind of thing coin nerds think is hysterical.]


  1. Why not just buy their pennies and go Canadian? ;-)

  2. Now would be the time. According to XE, the Canadian and US dollars are nearly at parity at the moment.

  3. steel pennies would be less toxic when swallowed as well.