Time and again, we hear that congress wants the government to save money. They want agencies to reduce costs and build efficiencies. How can agencies save money when members of congress introduce legislation that is counter to those goals?
Congress has been told that the U.S. Mint could save money if they standardized gold coins to 24-karat coins and silver to at least .999 fine quality. Aside from making the coins more attractive to more buyers including investors, the U.S. Mint does not have to pay more for someone to “dirty” the metals to create planchets that contain 90-percent of the metals.
Modern manufacturing methods are geared to process mined metals to create purer metals. In order for the gold or silver to be used to make the 90-percent alloy, it has to be dirtied with another metal, such as copper, before creating the planchets. While it makes the metals cheaper, the process increases the costs per planchet because of the extra work involved.
Congress exasperates this problem by not listening to the U.S. Mint and doing a virtual copy-and-paste from previous bills that says $5 gold commemoratives be made from 90-percent gold and silver dollars from 90-percent silver.
Rather than listening to the U.S. Mint, Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY), or a non-responsive staffer in his office, did a copy-and-paste of previous commemorative bills to introduce the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 358) that calls for a 90-percent gold $5 coin and a 90-percent silver dollar.
Regardless of how one feels about the use of commemorative coins for fundraising, if congress is going to authorize a commemorative coin, why not allow the U.S. Mint to take advantage to more efficient manufacturing and stop making them dirty the metals?
It is possible that if the U.S. Mint could create commemorative coins worthy of being on par with investor grade coins, not only could they save money in the manufacturing process which could lower the costs of the coins, but they could sell more coins. If the U.S. Mint sells more coins they could collect more of the surcharges to benefit their intended causes.
If congress really cared about saving money and increasing efficiency in the government, members like Rep. Maloney will look beyond rhetoric and actually do something, no matter how simple it is.
Up next, why some members of congress should leave well enough alone!