What can you buy with a penny?
Right now, a penny doesn't even buy a penny.
According to the U.S. Mint’s 2011 annual report, the current cost of a penny is 2.4 cents per coin. With nearly 5 billion pennies minted in 2011, the U.S. spent almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency.
Right, left, or center, all parties know that the country needs to save as much money as possible. And it’s impossible to save money when it’s being wasted.
Remember the Half Cent?
The U.S. has already phased out a coin with no ill effects. The Mint stopped producing the half cent in 1857, when it was worth what a dime is worth today, and there was no public outrage or damaging economic effects.
The penny served us well for a while. But now, at more than 200 years old, it’s unable to keep up with inflation. Isn’t time to let the penny retire?
Penny Non Grata at Military Bases
For those who think it un-American to stop production of the penny, consider this: the Department of Defense abolished the use of pennies at overseas military bases more than 30 years ago. According to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the coins are “too heavy and not cost-effective to ship.” The same logic could be used in the States, as five pennies weigh 12.5 grams compared to a 5-gram nickel.
Continuing to Honor Abe
Some people believe that to eliminate the penny is to forget Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, and his memorial, however, are firmly ensconced on the $5 bill, which is not going anywhere. At a cost of 8.5 cents per note (based on the Federal Reserve budget for 2012), the $5 bill is both conducive to commerce and cost-effective.