Seriously. According to Time, the new Obama budget proposes using cheaper metals to manufacture pennies and nickels. Apparently, it cost the feds 2.4 cents to actually manufacture a penny and 11.2 cents to manufacture a nickel. So we’re losing money making money.
The feds suggest that we make money-production less expensive. They do not, however, suggest that we make our money worth more by, for example, not inflating the currency. Right now, those copper pennies in your pocket are already made of zinc for the most part, and our nickels are mostly copper.
Some are suggesting that we go completely electronic with our money, which would of course make financial fraud – and inflation -- increasingly easy. By getting rid of material dollars, we move into the world of numbers; the threat of having to drag wheelbarrows full of paper dollars down to the local supermarket goes away. Americans don’t worry about trillion dollar debts because those numbers are out there in the ether; they do worry about having to load up their wallet with crisp twenties just to fill up their tank.
Inflation is the problem here, not the manufacturing process. Until we get it under control, our coins will be worth less and less, no matter how we make them.