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Abolish the Penny

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The mystery of how to fix America’s economy, which is collapsing, has been going on for many years. Many have searched for remedies to repair this issue, but few have found one of the most valuable ‘enemies’ in our economy: the penny.

These worthless coins are expensive and can almost never be used. Today, a penny, which is worth one cent, costs 2.41 cents to make. A 1.41 cent difference may seem minute, but when these coins are produced in such large quantities, it’s important to keep the deficit as low as possible. In 2011, nearly five million pennies were minted, causing the U.S. to spend almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency (retirethepenny.org).

Not only is the value of a penny faulty, just fiddling with pennies wastes time and money. As individuals we waste about 730 seconds per year handing pennies (washingtonpost.com). Robert M. Whaples, an economics professor at Wake Forest University estimates that the United States loses around $900 million a year on the handling and production of pennies. All of this lose productivity dramatically affects the economy in the most negative way.

Previous reasons aside, currency exists to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. However, pennies fail to accomplish this crucial task effectively. The places where one would generally use coins like vending machines, parking meters, and pay phones, do not accept pennies. What is the point of producing a coin that is expensive to make and does not effectively execute its main purpose?

In order to attempt to repair the U.S. economy, the best course of action would be to discontinue the production and usage of the penny. Prices in shops would need to be rounded off to the nearest five cents. Although this proposal may seem unconventional, many would be shocked to know that our nation has sacrificed a piece of currency in the past. In 1857, the Half-Cent was abolished because the cost of making it had exceeded its face value and because it was so small a denomination that it was no longer needed. The past Americans would see no problem in eliminating the penny, and neither would other nations. Many countries like Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden have gotten rid of their lowest denominated coin with no dire consequences.

All in all, the penny is not meeting its expectations and needs to be abolished. Pennies are just not worth what they used to be and are failing to facilitate goods and services to the American people. Perhaps a penny saved is not a penny earned.




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