Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Can't Melt Your Own Coins?

Is there any Constitutional basis giving the Federal government this power?

WASHINGTON — People who melt pennies or nickels to profit from the jump in metals prices could face jail time and pay thousands of dollars in fines, according to new rules out Thursday.

Soaring metals prices mean that the value of the metal in pennies and nickels exceeds the face value of the coins. Based on current metals prices, the value of the metal in a nickel is now 6.99 cents, while the penny's metal is worth 1.12 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.

The only Consitutional clause that comes close is that giving the government the power to regulate the value of the currency … and if they had that power, they could outlaw coin collecting.

But wait. there's more:

Under the new rules, it is illegal to melt pennies and nickels. It is also illegal to export the coins for melting. Travelers may legally carry up to $5 in 1- and 5-cent coins out of the USA or ship $100 of the coins abroad "for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes."

Violators could spend up to five years in prison and pay as much as $10,000 in fines. Plus, the government will confiscate any coins or metal used in melting schemes.

Doesn't that violate the Consitutional prohibition on export taxes?

Are the Fifties returning?


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