My Two Cents

More stories from Brad Oliver

May 22, 2015

Should the U.S. rid itself of a staple in its’ coin currency?

What can you buy with a penny? Nothing, not even a penny. It takes 2.4 cents to create a penny, which means America loses money every time they make a new one.

While it isn’t much money per penny, but this adds up over time. The U.S. loses millions of dollars per year on pennies. Knowing the loss the government creates because of this, groups of Americans have gathered to convince the U.S. government to follow in Canada’s footsteps and abolish the penny.

Arguments to get rid of the penny include things like being too expensive, a waste of time to make them, their utility is already limited, and the penny is worth less now than it ever has been in history.

However, two-thirds of Americans polled want to keep the penny. Their arguments include the fact prices would be rounded to the nearest nickel, and likely rounded up in favor of merchants; to add to that, the poorer Americans would suffer from the rounding system as they tend to make smaller purchases more frequently. But the biggest reason to hold on to these tiny bits of metal are that pennies hold a lot of sentimental value to people.

The argument that stands out the most to me is the fact that nickels cost even more to make than pennies. It costs roughly twelve cents per nickel, which means five pennies cost less to make than one nickel.

One solution cropped up to solve this dilemma.  Pennies get to stay, so they keep their sentiment, but one cent coins are abolished. Pennies get to be the new five cent coins and nickels are removed from circulation.

That way, it takes 2.4 cents to make a five cent coin, and nobody is “wasting time” on one cent coins any longer. To keep one cent coins without losing millions annually requires the one cent coin to be made of a cheaper material, which has it’s own concerns.

I agree America needs to keep its’ penny. However, if the penny is worth less than what it is made from, we need to find a solution.

That’s my two cents.