Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

“Benjamins” in the Garbage

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 06:19 AM
Original message
“Benjamins” in the Garbage


How is it possible that with so much digital technology, after centuries of experience ironing notes, the United States has to throw $1.1 million in benjamins in the garbage because the paper folded and a small piece was left blank?



“Benjamins” in the Garbage
El País, Spain
Translated By Rachel Evans
12 December 2010
Edited by Gillian Palmer

Ill-fated signs — like an eclipse before a bad harvest, balls of fire in the sky before the birth of some dictator, or the strange planetary alignment on Mourinho’s<1> birthday — confirm the harshness of the financial crises. In the United States, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have had to abort the printing of almost 1,100 units of the 100 dollar bill, known as a benjamin;<2> not because it is the cost of a bottle of cava<3>, but for the portrait of Benjamin Franklin found on the face of the bill. An error in the quality of the paper has provoked this singular case of “monicide.”<4> Money does not smell (Pecunia non olet),<5> as Emperor Vespasian explained when an official reproached him for imposing a tribute on public latrines. Perhaps it is experiencing death before birth, during a time when liquidity is needed more (something the Spanish Savings Banks should be asked about). While banks are rationing credits, it turns out that just like in Ali Baba’s cave, the vaults of The American Treasury have accumulated $1.1 million of useless benjamins. It hurts just thinking about how frustrating this peculiar situation has become.

Gila<6> was also probably wondering what “the boss” of the Treasury in Fort Worth is going to do with so much paper. In one of his greguerías, <7> Gómez de la Serna<8> defined banknotes as “the sweat of the world’s blotting paper.” To say that the governments of Greece and Ireland have sweated ink hits the nail on the head. It is possible to say that the governments of Portugal, Spain and Italy may have done the same. There seem to be enough bank notes to make scented towelettes. Of course, it gives cause for speculation. Coffee shop politics would say that it is the biggest unnecessary waste that there is; a scriptwriter would write scenes in which cohorts of orthodox monetarists led by Axel Weber<9> would try to attack the piles of money defended by expansionist Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke; while José Blanco<10> would ask for the damaged benjamins, just in case he needs to slip them to the air traffic controllers — although it probably would not arrive in time for pay day.

Still the provincial perplexity remains: How is it possible that with so much digital technology, after centuries of experience ironing notes, the United States has to throw $1.1 million in benjamins in the garbage because the paper folded and a small piece was left blank? Let “the boss” of Gila come and explain that to us.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 06:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Like seeing a pile of food thrown away in front of starving people
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 06:22 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Or burning tankers in front of people who need fuel to cook/ stay warm.
:(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 06:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Or like looking at vacant/foreclosed homes when you have no place to live.n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
geckosfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's just green paper. And when you cut corners and try to save a few pennies
by buying cheaper raw materials, you get burned.

Not to worry - the American taxpayer will cover it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
5. This is very badly reported here; it was 1.1 billion $100 bills, ie worth $110 billion
See eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11941612

Printing 1,100 bills wrong would be a tiny problem (of course, 1,100 * $100 is not $1.1 million - the numbers in the Spanish translation aren't even internally accurate). But according to this article, perhaps 30% of the 1.1 billion have errors, and it cost $132 million to print them (that is, about 8 cents each). That's the potential loss here.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 07:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I'm guessing it was a translation or typing error.
Hey, they were off by only three zeros.

:hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. billion means a different number in Europe than the US -- at least in the UK
weird but true. Perhaps that's the problem.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Well, it was, but the American usage has pretty much taken over in the UK now
The Spanish article says "la impresión de casi 1.100 millones de unidades del billete de 100 dólares" which I, and Google, would translate as '1,100 million units of the 100 dollar bill' (remebering the Spanish separate thousands with a '.', not a ','). The translator just seems to have left out the 'million' here, and then taken "1.100 millones de benjamines estériles" later in the article to mean "$1.1 million of useless benjamins" - ie they put the '$' in there, and forgot that a '.' in a Spanish number should be a ',' in an American (or British) one.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Aug 20th 2014, 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC