Why We Should Get Rid of the Penny

If you know me, you know that one of the things that angers me most in the world is the penny. Ever since John Green introduced me to how ludicrous they are in 2011, I have hated them and everything they have come to stand for. Stupid, right? Well, maybe — but did you know that the US loses about 55 million dollars per year due to pennies? In fact, the penny costs about 1.7 cents to make — meaning to make one cent, you have to spend over one-and-a-half cents.

Ridiculous, right? Now, you may be asking yourself, Why are pennies still a thing, if we’re losing so much money? Great question, dear reader. I don’t really know either. But guess what? The solution is simple! We just have to stop having pennies. It’s really as simple as that.

Now, you may be asking, Wouldn’t it be hard? We can’t just stop using pennies one day. Well, no, we couldn’t. But what we could do is follow Canada’s lead and just gradually take pennies out of circulation, using a rounding method to split the difference. It’s really that simple. 

So my question is: What groups out there are rallying for pennies? People don’t even like pennies. They’re essentially worthless, they smell disgusting and leave your fingers feeling nastier than when you handle multiple dollar bills (which, by the way, are also not worth the trouble they cause). When presented with a penny, most people tend to leave it rather than take it, despite the fact that it is still a viable form of payment. The penny seems to be more of a practical joke or protest than anything. In fact, back in 2002, 2% of Americans polled admitted to throwing their pennies in the garbage.

So why don’t we get rid of the penny for good? Well, there are a number of reasons. Nostalgia, for one — but the U.S. has gotten rid of certain coins that no longer made sense (for example, the half-cent), so it can’t be the only thing holding us back. There is the fact that we are dealing with bigger issues — and while I do believe that these issues need to be addressed, I don’t think that’s an excuse to continue doing something that is literally costing us millions of dollars — especially when the solution is so simple. Perhaps the main issue is that some of the major opponents to getting rid of the penny are the producers of coin blanks and the U.S. zinc lobby — the groups that profit from the production of the penny.

Whatever the reason, I think it’s clear that no matter how you add it up, it just makes more sense to get rid of the penny.

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As seen here on Odyssey

Becca Jean

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