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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 26, 2006 / 28 Nissan, 5766

Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Now that budget talks in Congress are heating up, it's no surprise that the rest of the nation is starting to pay more attention to fiscal matters as well. "I hate paying so much in #@&% taxes!" is just the kind of thoughtful insight into federal economic policy you're likely to hear from the citizenry at this time of year.


And while I personally would never presume to impugn the work of the fine officials at the Internal Revenue Service — particularly those in charge of deciding which citizens' returns to audit — I do feel strongly about one aspect of the nation's monetary policy: the penny.


Like most Americans, for many years I did not give much thought to this, the least valuable piece of US coinage. As the little plastic dishes on the convenience store counters so succinctly put it, with regard to the penny I could "take it or leave it." But my thinking changed dramatically one morning last week when I discovered that my car had been broken into. Now let me assure you that the object of the break-in was not to steal the car, which can only be charitably described as a rapidly rusting eyesore. No sane person would ever want to steal this heap, except perhaps my neighbors, who probably can't look at the thing without mentally calculating how much its presence drags down their property values.


The target, as it turned out, was all the loose change I'd spent years painstakingly collecting under the floor mats, between the seats and in the deep recesses of the glove compartment. In total, the thief made off with about $10.00 in quarters, dimes and nickels, while conspicuously leaving behind at least 75 cents' worth of pennies.


My first reaction was disappointment at the thief's lack of etiquette. I mean, there must be some sort of unwritten rule dictating that if you're going to steal someone's change, you should have to take the pennies too. After firing off a letter on the subject to Miss Manners, I began thinking about just how worthless the penny has become. For if pennies hold no value even to a desperate criminal (and believe me, only a truly desperate individual would risk exposure to the disgusting fungal experiment going on beneath my car's floor mats), why should the rest of us have to bother with them?


I recognize that the penny remains popular with a substantial segment of the populace, although I can't imagine why. The only reason I can see for holding onto pennies is in case you're involved in some sort of financial dispute and need to send a not-so-subtle message to a creditor via the payment method:


Dear Bloodsucking Credit Card Company,

Concerning the $38 fee you charged me for being one day late in paying last month's bill, please find the full sum in loose pennies enclosed in this mailing, postage due, naturally.

Spitefully,
Malcolm Fleschner


But if we're going to expend federal resources to mint a coin that we use just for spite, why not take it a step further and produce a coin worth 1/10 of a cent as well? What with rising oil prices, as an added benefit, this coin would also allow budget-conscious consumers to finally pay exact change for a gallon of gas.


Some critics of the penny point to how much time would be collectively saved if cashiers could just round up or down to the nearest five cents when making change. Just as important, without any pennies in circulation to spark their memories, curmudgeonly old timers would be less likely to launch into those rambling stories about how cheap everything used to be. You know, the ones that go something like, "Why, in my day, for a penny you could buy a loaf of bread, two jars of pickles, a rhubarb phosphate and a tin of Dr. Hobson's Cathartic Ointment and still have enough left over for a grandstand ticket to watch Harry Houdini bareknuckle box a kangaroo."


In doing a little research on the issue, I discovered that in 2002 Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona introduced the Legal Tender Modernization Act into Congress to stop production of the penny. Sadly, the bill never got out of committee, most likely blocked by the extremely powerful coin collecting lobby acting in concert with the nation's gumball machine manufacturers.


Nevertheless, my new hero Representative Kolbe remains committed to the cause. And that's why we citizens need to show him our support by engaging in some form of collective action to tell the federal government it's time to get rid of the penny once and for all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


Previously:

03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning



© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner

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