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Making dollars (and sense) at mint

December 17, 2011
Salem News

Businesses understand producing more of a product than customers want is a money-losing proposition. But that doesn't worry the government, which ignores the law of supply and demand regularly. Why worry about wasting taxpayers' money, after all?

President Barack Obama is seeking, on a small scale for Washington, to change that at the Treasury Department. Bravo!

In 2005, Congress mandated the agency produce one-dollar coins featuring the likenesses of all U.S. presidents. The idea didn't appeal to consumers, who use fewer than half the 70-80 million coins produced each year. The rest are returned to the Treasury, where they are stored.

Obama is ordering nearly all production of the coins cease. Only as many as collectors want will be minted in the future.

That will save the government about $50 million a year in production and storage costs.

Congress should go the next step, and simply cancel the wasteful program altogether.


Brogan Rafferty, the 16-year-old Ohio boy accused of helping 52-year-old Richard Beasley kill at least two men who responded to online employment advertisements, has written to a relative that he hopes a deal can be reached with prosecutors that allows him to leave prison by the time he is 42 years old.

Obviously, prosecutors and judges in the case need to take Rafferty's youth into consideration in prosecuting and sentencing him.

But if he is guilty, no deal should be approved without a stipulation Rafferty cannot be released before it is proven beyond any doubt he is no longer a threat to society.

Simply locking Rafferty up for a quarter-century and assuming he will have matured enough to leave prison a law-abiding man is not enough. If he is guilty, Rafferty has committed terrible crimes. The public deserves assurances he will not return to that way of life upon release.



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