Luther Melly, Undersecretary for the US Department of the Treasury Printing Service, spoke with a small group of reporters early this morning on the rear steps of the US Treasury building in Washington, DC.
“We have decided that it is more cost-effective to tap into the world-class manufacturing capability that now exists in China than to continue to operate the somewhat antiquated printing facilities we have here in the US.” Melly said.
“We took a look at a cost-benefit analysis ranking the proposal we received from the Chinese and comparing it to the investment required to upgrade our old technology printing facilities here at home. We ultimately decided that this is a job best left to the experts in Asia.”
According to Melly, a key part of the negotiations with the Chinese concerned interest payments that the US pays to China on funds borrowed from them and secured by US Treasury Notes.
“Ultimately,” said Melly, “we agreed that they could just print up their own payment every week. We would, of course, agree on the amount, but it will be much simpler for them just to print it up for themselves. We see this as a huge cost savings on the administrative end alone.”
As part of the negotiations, the Chinese further agreed to discontinue phone calls to the residence of US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the evenings and on week-ends.
Melly said, “There is some guy from China who calls himself ‘Trevor’ who calls Secretary Geithner’s home relentlessly about upcoming interest payments. We wanted to make sure that this activity was suspended for evenings and week-ends to give the Secretary some peace and quiet.”
On a brighter note, Melly went on to say, “The good news is that we will continue to stamp our coins right here in the US.”
“People just don’t realize how much harder the paper printing is, as compared to the coin stamping. Frankly,” Melly said, “a couple of times in the past few years, the printing machines have broken down and we almost ran out of money. Our guys have these gigantic printing presses patched together with chewing gum and baling wire and, when they go down, all hell breaks loose. Thanks to our friends at the Canadian Bank Note Company, we were able to do a work around so the US consumer didn’t really notice. We just don’t have the expertise any more to keep these plants going 24/7. The Chinese have really become much better at this. We need to focus our resources here at home on those areas where our US base of knowledge-workers are best utilized.”
When Dreadmonger inquired as to what those areas might be, Melly responded, “Why, green jobs, of course.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to this story as details become available.
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