Getting Rid of the Penny
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
The “Ban the Penny” movement is in high gear again. According to the U. S. Mint, it costs 1.66¢ to make each of the 8 billion pennies churned out every year. At that rate, we spend nearly $132 million to make $80 million in pennies. What’s worse, inflation makes the penny worth less every year. Furthermore, the U. S. Mint states that there is no cheaper way to make pennies.
Realizing that pennies are more trouble and expense than they’re worth, a number of countries eliminated pennies years ago. Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand have all banished the penny and accordingly round prices down or up, depending.
Every few years, this or that group calls for the end to the U. S. penny, asserting the coin is worthless and nothing but nothing can be purchased with a penny anymore: not products in vending machines; not parking. The only “industry” accepting pennies is “Coinstar,” which charges approximately 10% to convert your change to another form.
Despite frequent calls for its banishment, the penny endures. An example of the recurring penny debate can be accessed on YouTube’s “Death to Pennies”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5UT04p5f7U
Apparently, the ignoble penny has some serious backers. Chief among them is a group called “Americans for Common Cents.” (Do you see what they did there?) “Americans for Common Cents” has its own web site and everything: http://www.pennies.org/ In a happy coincidence “Americans for Common Cents” Executive Director Mark Weller is also a lobbyist for Jarden Zinc Company, which produces the disks minted into pennies.
The penny is also supposedly supported by the Lincoln Library, which touts the Lincoln Penny and intends to oppose the penny’s elimination from U. S. Currency. “Everybody loves Lincoln” and that is somehow connected with the penny (and the $5 bill and the Lincoln Monument).
By Kathy Catanzarite
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