It Makes "Cents"
The penny no longer facilitates commerce.
The fact that the penny is still in circulation does not mean it is in any way useful. Inflation has eaten away at the value of the penny to such a degree that it no longer facilitates commerce. In other words, the penny cannot buy anything! If the half cent were still minted, then it too would be in circulation, even though it would not be very useful.
When the government eliminated the half cent, it was worth more than 10 times what the penny is worth today. Assuming the timing was correct before, the penny should have been eliminated in 1950, when it was worth what a dime is today. (Try the Consumer Price Index price calculator.)
The penny wastes money.
In 2011, the U.S. mint produced almost 5 billion pennies—more than 60 percent of all coins made annually—at a cost more than twice their worth. About one-third of the cost is for the zinc that makes pennies, which is why the zinc industry is lobbying to keep the penny in production.
The penny is a waste of time (and time is money!)
Walgreen’s and the National Association of Convenience Stores estimated that handling pennies adds an average of 2 to 2.5 seconds to each cash transaction. If each person wastes 2 seconds in two transactions per day, it adds up to more than 24 minutes of wasted time each year. Considering transactions are not one-sided, and there is typically at least one person waiting in line, the total annual time wasted by penny transactions increases to 1.2 hours.