Saturday, December 05, 2015

Eliminate the penny


The week of  Thanksgiving, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story on the question of whether or not to eliminate the American penny: "Critics Wonder Whether Pennies Make Sense Anymore." I say: eliminate the penny. I agree with John Oliver and Citizens to Retire the Penny that it's past time to do so.

Why do we care about it so much? If the penny disappears, Lincoln lovers can still gaze at his face on the five dollar bill. No one even stoops to pick up a penny on the sidewalk anymore. Even charities and panhandlers don't ask if you can spare a few pennies. Businesses are willing to give you a pass if you're short a penny or they have those "leave a penny, take a penny" dishes where the coins sit there like stale peppermints in absolutely no danger of anyone taking advantage. Some businesses have even started rounding totals to the nearest nickel. And pennies cost so much to make that, economically, no one can deny they're almost worthless as circulating currency.

So why keep them? I think it's sentimentality and inertia, but it's sentimentality and inertia that's a drag on our economy.  Their street value doesn't justify the cost of making them, and yet many people balk at the idea of getting rid of the penny. What will it take for such people to agree to eliminate this coin that has no place in the 2015 economy?

I have a friend who I'll call Ceece (not her real name). (Actually it is.) Ceece agrees with the people who want to keep the penny. I challenge her and anyone else to please leave a comment on this post with an argument for keeping the penny in circulation that isn't about tradition or simply liking pennies. If I get no comments on this post, that will be a statement in and of itself. So there.
John Oliver's rant on the need to eliminate the penny

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