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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 9, March 2, 2008, Article 27

TREASURY SECRETARY PAULSON ON THE FUTURE OF THE CENT

[Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article on
the future of the U.S. one cent coin.  -Editor]

A penny for your thoughts? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
thinks the answer to that question should be not much. In
fact, if he had his way, he would like to get rid of the
penny.

Asked Friday whether he thought the penny should be
eliminated, Paulson agreed that it would make sense,
saying, ''The penny is worth less than any other currency.''

[All together now: "Duh!!"  -Editor]

However, he quickly added that he didn't think it was
''politically doable'' to eliminate the one-cent coin
and it wasn't something he planned to tackle in the final
year of the Bush administration.

In the radio interview, O'Dell also asked Paulson, who
made a fortune as the head of investment giant Goldman
Sachs before joining the Bush Cabinet, how much money
he carried in his pocket.

''I walk around with very little cash in my pocket,''
he said, depending instead on credit cards ''like
everyone else.''

Paulson said he did carry a few dollar bills with him to
sign for people who ask for autographs. The signatures
of the Treasury secretary and the U.S. Treasurer are
carried on not just the dollar bill but all U.S. currency.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[U.S. notes autographed by the Treasurer or Secretary of
the Treasury (whose signatures by law are printed on every
bill) make for an interesting sideline collection.  Anyone
can have the printed signatures, but far fewer have
handwritten ones.   Do any of our readers collect these?
Anyone ever gotten a signature in person?  -Editor]

Dick Johnson forwarded a link to a Wall Street Journal item
about Paulson's statement.  He writes: "We have heard now
from the two highest officials in charge of our coinage
system following the 60 Minutes interview of Mint Director
Edmund Moy February 10th (reported here vol 19, no 6, art
13).  Moy stated he had studied other countries that had
 eliminated their lowest denomination coin, but prefers to
strike U.S. cent coins in a cheaper metal, perhaps steel.

"Where is the leadership here? Why should America study
what much smaller countries have done? America should be
in the forefront of this development (and let smaller nations
imitate us).  America has the greatest minds in the world,
but we have feckless bureaucrats, and incompetent politicians,
who invariably postpone reasonable action.

"One of those great minds in America is Chicago Fed Economist,
Francois Velde, who not only studied the small change problem
in advance of Director Moy -- and wrote a book on the subject
-- but offers the most viable solution: rebase the cent. In
effect, he suggests, declare all existing cents redenominated
to 5 cents by fiat. Solves the problem of rising metal costs,
eliminates recoining billions of coins, maintains stability
in commerce, rewards penny-saving Americans and prepares the
way in the future of eliminating the cent as a circulating
coin (like the mill coin we never had and the half-cent
abolished in 1857)."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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