Kill the Penny!

It costs 2.4 cents to make a penny. Let the one-cent coin die with some dignity.

Canada recently announced that it will no longer be making one-cent coins. Perhaps it’s time for some inward national reflection. The penny seems worthless now, but until 1857 it made sense for the US mint to issue even half-cent coins. Prior to 1982, the one-cent coin was made primarily of copper – they are now mostly zinc. This is why old coins are green; it’s the same process (oxidization) that has given the once shiny copper Statue of Liberty it’s current green color. Over the past ten years, the price of raw materials and minting has gone up significantly as have the calls to cease production.

If it were so simple, we would have already gotten rid of the one cent coin by now. So what are the reasons for maintaining it?

  1. prices will rise as a result of everything being rounded up to the nearest 5¢
  2. poor folks will be disproportionately affected by this price rise
  3. many charities rely on pennies precisely because people are more willing to part with smaller denominations
  4. we would have to mint more nickels, which are even more expensive
  5. sentimentality/tradition/respect for Abraham Lincoln

And now the reasons for getting rid of it:

  1. it wastes taxpayer money
  2. it wastes time at the checkout counter
  3. any price increase would be effectively meaningless because most pennies are lost/discarded/hoarded anyway
  4. maintaining the penny is a disgrace to the memory of Lincoln in that his face is on a worthless coin that nobody wants
  5. c’mon!!!!!!!!!!

The world is moving on. It’s time to kill the penny.


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