Saturday, April 19, 2008
A Quarter for Your Thoughts
A recent piece by David Owen in The New Yorker magazine profiles the less-than-useless United States penny. For good measure, the article tosses in (like so many pennies into a coffee can) the idea of eliminating not only the penny but also the nickel -- and maybe even the dime, as in New Zealand (not to mention eliminating paper currency for the one- and two-dollar denominations).
It's an entertaining and informative bit of reportage, as you would expect from The New Yorker.
Speaking of coins, I learned a new (for me) coinage in reading the essay: negative seigniorage.
Negative seigniorage refers to the fact that the U.S. Mint loses money on every penny it produces to the tune of about $50 million a year (the cost of zinc being a factor as well as the zinc lobby).
It occurs to me that negative seigniorage has other connotations, namely:
-- You're both in bed naked but drift off to sleep reading the latest issue of the AARP magazine after each of you fails to conjure up an erotic fantasy figure to get things going.
-- You forget that you forgot to pay the AARP annual membership bill.
-- You snarl at the grandkids for disturbing your nap.