Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pecunia non imprimit

Remember when officials with the Treasury and the Federal Reserve touted the new dollar bills' sophisticated security features? They include a 3-D security strip and a color-shifting image of a bell, designed to foil counterfeiters. Amazing, non?

But lo and behold! At a time that the US government needs to responds to a economic downturn in a troublesome financial era, there has been a major hiccup. The new money is so high-tech that the presses can't handle the printing job.

Due to a problem with the presses, the federal government had to shut down production of the new $100 bills. It also had to quarantine more than 1 billion of those bills in a vault in Fort Worth, Texas. This amounts to $110 billion more or more than 10 percent of all existing U.S. cash (which is estimated at $930 billion).

"There is something drastically wrong here," one source told CNBC. "The frustration level is off the charts."

Up till now, more 1 billion unusable bills have been printed incorrectly. Some of the bills creased during production which created a blank space on the paper. Since correctly printed bills are mixed in with the flawed ones, it’s hard to sort the good from the bad. By hand, it would take between 20 to 30 years to weed out the faulty ones. Needless to say, the federal government is looking for a mechanized system to get the job done.

In case you wonder, the printing job itself cost around $120 million. It will (literally) go up in flames.

The moral of the story? It takes money to burn money....

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