Daily Archives: Oct. 22, 2011

Obama-Bubba in 2012?

Conventional wisdom is that President Obama might replace Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the 2012 ticket. But that would be going with the wrong Clinton, argued Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell in a Politico commentary. The 22nd “Amendment clearly states that a two-term president is ineligible to be elected again. It says nothing about being elevated to the office again through succession.” They conclude: “Unless political realities change in the next few months, a Barack-Bubba ticket figures to be stronger than an Obama-Biden replay. Bill Clinton would certainly relish being called back onto the field to save the day, help his wife”— who’d be well-positioned to run for the 2016 nomination — “and be the first former president to serve as veep. Obama is one of the few powerful people with the personal confidence to make such a historic choice. Given the right circumstances, Obama-Clinton would make a formidable Democratic ticket.”

Pro-con: Should U.S. get rid of the dollar bill?

A dollar bill wears out within about three years, and often sooner. A coin’s life span, by contrast, averages 30 years. That’s why several members of Congress are suggesting phasing out the dollar bill entirely and replacing it with a coin. The production savings could add up to $5.5 billion over those three decades, proponents say. Coins are bulkier, but at least vending machines wouldn’t spit them back out at us for having untidy corners or a crease here or there. But if Congress wants to save money on money, there’s no reason to stop at the dollar bill. The U.S. Treasury has been nickel-and-dimed for years on the production of nickels and, well, pennies, both of which cost more to produce than they’re worth. And what do people do with pennies? They leave them on the cafeteria counter for the next customer or toss them into jars to be redeemed .  .  .  someday. Pennies are a significant added expense for retailers, costing a couple of cents per purchase in added transaction time — including the seconds customers spend hunting for the penny in their pocket so they can avoid getting more pennies in change. — Los Angeles Times

Imposing the unpopular dollar coin on an unwilling American public (previous dollar-coin mandates have flopped) — and more important, small businesses — will actually increase costs on American taxpayers. The dollar coin is so unpopular with the public there are a billion of them sitting unused in Federal Reserve vaults. Businesses don’t use them and people don’t want them. Dollar coins take 32 cents to produce. The General Accounting Office estimates that eliminating the dollar bill would increase costs on the American taxpayer by $3.5 billion over the current system. This proposed change will also create new costs for small businesses. Dollar coins are more expensive to transport because they weigh significantly more than their paper equivalents. We have dollar coins now. They are unpopular and unused. The market has already decided on the dollar coin. — Randy DeCleene, Big Government blog