Mo Better Looking
by Mad Dog
The new silver dollars will feature the faces of past
presidents. And it’s about time. Why shouldn’t Millard Fillmore,
Zachary Taylor, and Grover Cleveland get their moment in the spotlight?
||If there’s one thing I
think we can all agree on, it’s that we could use more money. Congress
agrees and is actually doing something about it. Unfortunately they
parse that sentence differently than you and I do. We think of it in
terms of their helping to put more money in our pockets, as in passing
tax cuts, lowering the soaring price of gas, and putting us on their
PAC’s payroll so we can work alongside their spouse and kids. But no,
being politicians they view things very differently. Their idea of
giving us more money is to issue new coins.
Just the other day the House of
Representatives (motto: “Where’s the house? Where’s the
representation?”) overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a new $1
coin. This is just what we need since the Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea
coins have been so incredibly popular, at least among practical jokers
who like to hand them to cashiers and laugh when asked, “Hey, how did
you supersize this quarter?” The new dollars, should the Senate and
president go along with the plan, will feature the faces of past
presidents. And it’s about time. For years we’ve had Washington,
Lincoln, Grant, and Roosevelt on our currency, shouldn’t Millard
Fillmore, Zachary Taylor, and Grover Cleveland be given a chance? A
chance for people to remember they were presidents, at least.
If they really want to pump up the treasury by minting coins
they should put beautiful, famous people on them. You know, like Julia
Roberts or Brad Pitt.
The idea for the series came about not because Congress wants to
help educate us about our country’s history, but rather because it’s
a profit center. That’s right, the government makes money on
commemorative type coins. The state quarters series, which includes such
inspired designs as Wisconsin’s cow’s head, wheel of cheese, and ear
of corn, have generated $5 billion for the treasury. That’s a lot of
quarters. This happens because it costs the United States Mint (motto:
“It’s the only flavor we come in.”) less than five cents to make
each 25-cent piece it cranks out. Thus, if people horde them in their
sock drawer hoping one day to retire by selling their collection on eBay
alongside several million other misguided folks, the government makes a
tidy profit. Now I don’t begrudge anyone making a profit, not even the
U.S. Treasury, but when you figure most businesses are happy to earn 5%
profit it feels like we’re being overcharged. If Congress was really
interested in helping us save money they’d lower the price of a
quarter to, say, 10 cents. They’d still be making a 100% markup and
we’d be saving 15 cents on each quarter. People would buy more of
them, the government would make money on the increased volume, and the
economy would boom. I sure hope the Nobel committee remembers to spell
my name correctly when they award me the prize in economics next year.
Presidents will have to be dead
before getting their mug plastered on a silver dollar, which isn’t the
case with leaders in other countries. Pope John Paul was very much alive
when the Vatican issued a series of euro coins with his image on them.
Now that he’s dead, thousands of people have been lining up and even
camping out trying to buy the remaining sets. While it would be nice to
think they want them as mementos of a beloved religious leader who has
passed away, news reports say many of them are buying the coins
expecting to sell the 23-euro sets for as much as 300 euros. Hey, if you
can’t make a profit off a dead pontiff, who can you make it off of?
the plan: The government bags the presidential coin idea and instead
puts People’s “50 Most Beautiful People” on silver dollars,
selling them for 50 cents each. People will buy more of them and the
federal deficit will disappear.
The problem with putting our leaders’ faces on coins is that
it’s being done for the wrong reasons. It’s not to teach history or
remind us that many of our presidents had facial hair which made them
look like the homeless guy down the block so we should be more
compassionate. Neither is it for aesthetic reasons (see previous
sentence). No, it’s to make money for the government. If they really
want to pump up the treasury by minting coins they should put beautiful,
famous people on them. You know, like Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt. They
both made People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People”
issue again this year, with Roberts adorning the cover a record-breaking
third time. I don’t see George Bush on the list. I don’t see Bill
Clinton either. In fact, I don’t see any politicians among the top 50.
Obviously having beautiful stars on the cover sells magazines, so why
wouldn’t they also sell coins? Think about it, who would you rather
look at when you fished through the coins in your pocket so you can park
on that public street without getting a ticket, Halle Berry or Richard
Nixon? Jamie Foxx or Rutherford B. Hayes? And yes, Rutherford B. Hayes
was a president. The 19th to be exact. He won by one electoral vote,
only served one term, and didn’t do anything notable. Heck, he
didn’t even do a good Ray Charles imitation.
So here’s the plan: The government
bags the presidential coin idea and instead puts People’s “50
Most Beautiful People” on silver dollars, selling them for 50 cents
each. People will buy more of them because they’re nice to look at and
a bargain. Since they only cost about eight cents to make, the
government will earn a huge profit. The federal deficit goes bye-bye,
taxes are lowered, and the government has all the money it needs for
education, Amtrak, and to buy any damned oil producing country we
please. I have to go, some guy named Greenspan is on the phone.
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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