Common Cents

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Meander to your jar of pennies. Reach into your pockets to grab the off-orange colored change. Coins shuffle amongst themselves as you mosey away. The process of dealing with pennies takes an unnecessary amount of time. How much easier would life be if pennies did not waste time and space? The United States should eliminate the penny because of its outrageous production costs, other nations have dropped their lower coinages, and it will put the country in a better global situation.
At a time when our country has a growing, monstrous debt, one that currently exceeds fourteen million dollars, most individuals favor ideas that can save the country money. The US Mint’s 2010 Annual Report states the cost of a penny as 1.79 cents. Pennies literally cost more than their face value; however, the Federal Reserve Banks pay for all currency at face value. The two facts equate to the problem of the United States losing money to create the penny. Also, the cost of pennies is expected to rise. Pennies are composed of 97.5% zinc, and between the years of 2003 and 2006 the metal tripled in price. As zinc prices continue to rise, penny prices continue to rise. In reality some of the biggest defenders of the penny, like lobby group Americans for Common Cents, receive generous donations from companies heavily invested in zinc. Many mask their greed behind organizations that appear to have down to earth objectives, but they get involved only to ensure profit. Not only do pennies cost a lot, but they also waste our time. According to Jeff Gore, leader of Citizens to Retire the Penny (CRP), producing pennies costs about one hundred million dollars a year. Gore hypothesizes that even more money squanders away from the penny. He believes every cash interaction increases by approximately two seconds because people search to find the appropriate number of pennies. This time adds up, for the average adult loses 2.4 hours per year to the diverting nature of the penny. Gore looks at the big picture; the nation has so many possibilities if the 240 million adults all had that time back. He understands the grand price tag left by pennies while realizing the United States has the capabilities to do better as a nation.
Eliminating the penny should not be met with fear because various nations as well as the United States have seamlessly modified their currencies in the past. Most notably, in 1988 Australia and New Zealand ended the production of their one and two cent coins. The coins lost value--similar to our penny. The countries also handled the adaptations of having no penny well. Obviously, prices can no longer be payed to the exact cent. All businesses met the change with open arms and rounded to the nearest five cents. With the purchase of multiple items and the randomization from sales tax, people truly stand unaffected by the change in currency. The United States has made a similar step to this in the past. In 1857 the half cent retired from the ranks of United States currency. Although half cents hold little value, it proves the country has the capabilities to drop archaic coins. The United States could drop the penny as well. In the 1980’s pennies were eliminated from military bases. Possession of pennies hindered individuals, especially since many residents of the bases moved in and out of the country numerous times. Of course, military bases show only a small sample size, but it also shows the United States can operate without the penny. Seeing that eliminating outdated currencies does not leave negative impacts, the United States have nothing to lose by eliminating the penny.
Right now our country drags in the field of currency, but ending production of the penny opens the doors for the United States to increase their global ability along with trail-blaze new paths. In the past, the strong US dollar was used to back currencies. However, the struggling American economy makes that a less viable option. The Euro has now started its climb of power, for it is the official currency of 17 states and currently worth more than an American dollar. Dropping the penny helps the economy, and that allows the United States to dabble with the Euro. That may be compete against it again or use it to some extent. Former US Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker said, “A global economy requires a global currency.” Volcker implies that at some point one currency will rise as a standard, just as the English language is standard for most global affairs. Professor Macintosh from Berkeley also sees a global currency. She looks at the fact that Internet shopping only increases. Macintosh criticizes the lack of structure in the laws, for they need improved to allow commerce to flow freely. However, one step away from the coinage and hard bills like the elimination of the penny puts the United States another step forward into this new field. The most appealing aspect of ending production of the penny is the country as a whole will be willing to open its mind to new ideas. We can enter the forefront of a new arena of currency.
The downsides of initiating the end of penny production barely dent the list of upsides; however, the hearts and soul of the American public must be considered. Losing this symbolic being may be as difficult as giving up your favorite childhood toy. However, remember at the time that decision broke your heart, but doing so opened a world full of new and better toys. That is the goal of ending the penny. The country holds back, and this is an opportunity to move forward.
By eliminating the penny, the United States fairs in a better condition. The nation will save time and money, we will catch up to nations whom already dropped lower currencies, and thus excel into a new field. No one likes watching our nation waste money or fall behind others, so we must lead a wave of change and request the penny to stop being produced.

Works Cited
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<http://www.retirethepenny.org/>.
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<http://www.2facts.com/article/i1100590>.
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<http://www.law.berkeley.edu/journals/btlj/articles/vol14/Macintosh/html/text.html>.
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