June 29, 2011 3 Comments
In 2005 Congress got the bright idea that Americans should go the way of Europe and have $1 coins. Coins are more popular in Europe, where $1 bills do not exist. When the new $1 coins came out there was much fanfare. Each President would be featured on the coin, over the course of 10 years the mint would get to every President.
Unfortunately the bright ideas Congress comes up with are rarely popular with Americans. NPR of all news organizations reports that there are $1 billion worth of $1 coins sitting in the Federal Reserve. The mint continues to press new coins to the tune of $200 million a year. The cost to taxpayers is $300 million so far and that just includes the cost to press the coins. It doesn’t include storage or shipping costs and it doesn’t include the multi-million ad campaign when the coins first came out. With those costs and the cost to press the rest of these coins over the next 5-6 years and taxpayers are on the hook for well over $1 billion. The worst part of all is that we’re only up to President Grant. It’s a long way to Reagan.
Congress needs to repeal this law and stop pressing coins that no one wants. Yes, this is a small potatoes sort of an expenditure but it’s a good example of government waste. We have 1 billion coins sitting around Federal Reserve banks collecting dust with another 1 billion coins on the way. It’s clear that no one wants these coins. Surely there aren’t collectors waiting to snap up $1 billion worth of coins. This would be a good project for my freshman Congressman Justin Amash. Take on this nonsense and save taxpayers a lot of money.
Having said that, this coin situation is a good example of how the government sits apart from the free market when they make grand decisions. Americans don’t want $1 coins. It’s been tried over and over again by the Federal government and Americans have consistently pushed back and showed their disinterest by not using the coins. Congress and government do not know better than the people. Their bright ideas may sound great on the floor of Congress but if Americans aren’t interested the only way government can get its way is through brute force.
We can extend this situation to any number of other areas. Government is mandating what kind of light bulbs we can purchase, which is leading to little more than hoarding and increased prices. When Clinton banned 3 gallon toilets in the 90′s people near the Canadian border raided the plumbers there and took home as many toilets as they could. The free market should be left to dictate these matters. The government has no business trying to direct us from on high.