Get rid of the 1 cent piece?

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn writes about getting rid of the 1 cent piece (he calls it a penny, but the US Mint has never minted a coin officially called a penny).

In any case, here’s an excerpt from his thoughts on the matter. He makes a good point and I don’t have a strong opinion either way. Perhaps it would make things simpler, but at the same time, it would reduce the number of coins we as collectors have access to, unless they add a $2.50 coin or something along those lines.

Recent news stories tell us that:

New figures from the U.S. Mint that show the skyrocketing prices of the two metals used to make the penny – zinc and copper – have pushed the cost of making the coin across the 1-cent threshold for the first time, to 1.23 cents.

In Congress, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R.-Arizona) has announced that he plans to reintroduce legislation to eliminate the penny in the coming weeks.

I argued years ago – back when a penny was worth 1.44 cents in today’s terms – that it was time to retire the pesky little trinket and round all prices up or down to the nearest nickel.

In fact, speaking of nickels, today’s nickel has the same purchasing power that a penny had in 1971, and we did fine without having a smaller denomination.

(The U.S. got rid of the half penny in 1857 when it was deemed too nugatory to be worthy of carrying about; a rough estimate of its purchasing power then in current terms is 11 cents.)

Yeah, yeah. Pennies figure into many old sayings and cliches.

Yeah, yeah, getting rid of them will be getting rid of a cherished bit of Americana that we all grew up with.

But they have become nostalgic artifacts we can no longer afford.

Are you with me? Shall we retire the penny?

Last I checked, the poll was at 64.3% (914 people) in favor, 35.7% (507) against.

Category - Informative
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