Government shutdowns. Global warming. The upcoming election.
There are a lot of pressing issues at the forefront of the minds of the American people. There is one issue, however, that I feel is being severely overlooked. It is an issue that affects each of us but does not receive as much recognition as it deserves.
As a nation, we should seriously consider the elimination of the penny. The disadvantages to the penny far outweigh the benefits, and frankly, it is ridiculous that we have kept them around for this long.
Pennies are a waste of time, a waste of space and a waste of our resources. It costs one and a half cents to produce one penny. Now let’s remind ourselves how much a penny is worth. It’s worth one cent. That is absurd.
I don’t even want to hear the argument that pennies are good luck. The only way you get good luck is if you find it with the head facing up, but if the tail is facing up… guess what? You get bad luck. Statistically speaking, it seems like a penny is just as much good luck as it is bad luck.
I’ve been walking the planet for about 21 years, and the amount of pennies I have accumulated and never used for anything meaningful is insane. The only way to use a penny is if you are paying for something in exact change, which is proven to be the least popular payment method.
A study was done by the National Association of Convenience Stores that determined cash transactions are extended by an average of 2 to 2.5 seconds as a result of handling pennies. That adds up to two hours wasted each year dealing with pennies.
Pennies are completely worthless at almost everything that has a coin slot. They won’t get you anything at a parking meter, a laundromat or a gumball machine.
Pennies are made of 97.5 percent zinc and only 2.5 percent copper. The elimination of the penny would decrease the amount of zinc mining, which has a negative impact on the environment. In addition, most of the zinc that is used in the production of pennies is imported from China which adds a large amount of money each year to the trade deficit between the United States and China.
An estimated $1.2 million worth of pennies are thrown away every year. According to Citizens Against Public Waste, eliminating the penny would save the U.S. taxpayers $1 billion over the span of the next 10 years.
The withdrawal of low denomination coins has been successful in 30 countries including Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Even the U.S. successfully withdrew the half-penny from circulation back in 1857. Some countries permit the coins to continue to be a legal tender after they have been eliminated and some countries do not. If the coins are no longer being minted, a rounding solution is required.
If the U.S. withdrew the penny, we would be able to round to the nearest nickel. Due to inflation, the value of a nickel is the same as the value of a 1972 penny. If everything was rounded by five cents, it would lessen the impact of the “left-digit effect” which is what causes us to focus more on the “$19” in “$19.99.”
When you look at the facts, pennies just don’t make cents, and we would be better off without them.