Monday, September 15, 2014


By Michael A. Nettleton

 We’re always looking at ways we can make government more efficient and use our tax dollars more wisely. Here’s an idea whose time has come. Let’s retire the penny from our range of currency. Here’s a snippet from About dot com.
Approximate Current Cost of Minting Various U.S. Coins
  • Penny - 1.26 cents
  • Nickel - 7.7 cents
  • Dime - 4 cents
  • Quarter - 10 cents
  • Dollar (Coins) - 16 cents
Yep, it costs more to make pennies than their actual value as money. The same is true of nickels, but one thing at a time. This is mostly due to the cost of the material. Pennies are currently comprised of zinc, primarily. Prior to 1982 they were largely copper. There’s a move afoot to make them out of steel, but the U.S. Mint opposes it. So do I. Let’s just 86 them.

I was at the supermarket the other day and some variety of beefsteak was being flogged at $4.00 a pound. Good. Finally some honest pricing. No more pricing it at $3.99 in the belief that we’ll say “Oh, geez, that’s a much better value than the stuff they’re selling for $4.00 pound. 

Another ridiculous argument is that we need the pennies to accurately calculate our taxes. Horse-hockey. Let’s just round up or down to the nearest nickel. Anything that comes out at $.02 or less gets rounded down, anything that’s $.03 or more gets rounded up. Simple. As the British say, “Bob’s your uncle.” 

Finally, to dispel one more specious argument I’m sure someone will bring up. “Pennies are valuable to teach children the value of money.” I gauren-blanking-tee you that if you present a penny to any child old enough to realize it doesn’t belong in his or her mouth they’ll stare at it slack-jawed and make one of those “awwwww Mom,” noises. 

Let’s set a date, get people to round up their pennies and cash them in. (Once again, rounding up or down as we compensate them.) Give advertisers time to remove any ridiculous $_____99 references from their pitches. Crank the gas pump amounts up another 1/100th of a turn and make petrol $4.00 (or $5 or $6, gulp) a gallon and let the chips fall where they may. 

Let’s start giving people a nickel for their thoughts. It's worth every penny.