President and noted mixologist Barack Obama is looking to change the mix of metals that go into pennies and nickels, in an effort to produce the coins more cheaply.
It currently costs the federal government 2.4 cents to make a penny and 11.2 cents to make a nickel. While the cost of production and raw materials does not affect the value of the U.S. dollar, a change to the formula could save more than $100 million per year.
If a new recipe is adopted, it would mark the first change in U.S. coin composition since 1982, when the makeup of a penny was diluted from mostly copper to mostly zinc. Zinc, a much less expensive metal, currently comprises 97.5% of a penny's mass.
The trickiest part of the change-changing plan is identifying a less expensive mix of metals that would improve upon the current formula. The U.S. Treasury has been analyzing new metals for the past few years but has yet to come up with a viable option that does not include chocolate or alchemy.
Obama's request for change we can believe in and also produce cheaply was submitted to Congress as part of the President's 2,000-page budget earlier this week.