Pennies better dead than alive

Pennies better dead than alive

By Christina Burke
Features Editor

In this fast-paced world, nobody wants to be in line behind the guy paying in exact change, especially while his counts out his pennies.

President Barack Obama announced in February that he was open to saying sayonara to our nation’s lowest valued cent, the penny. This controversial statement has created uproar among astonished Americans who seem to think they cannot live without the coin and its genuine historic nature, but honestly, there is not point in keeping it around any longer.

When originally marketed in the 1700s, pennies were made out of 100 percent copper, which, over time has reduced to five percent copper and 95 percent zinc. This has allowed the cost of making each penny climb over its worth of one cent. It costs the government much more to keep producing pennies than is actually spent by citizens in pennies themselves.

Despite the cost versus actual usage, pennies keep being produced and delivered to paying customers who will most likely never use them again.

Name the last time you paid for something in exact change. Can you? Digging around for pennies, if you even have any, only frustrates the person you are paying and the people who are waiting for you to pay. To avoid this, people pay in bigger bills, producing more change, but prices would be so much simpler if they could be rounded to a more convenient number.

Due to their lack of use, pennies often pile up in jars over the years until they feel it necessary to cash them in. Unfortunately, the only efficient way to cash in pennies is to use a Coinstar machine, which charges you 10 percent of the money it takes in, causing the pennies to actually become less than their worth to the customer.

There was a time when most everything was paid for in pennies. The world’s economy has long since developed into a more complex system that does not need its money divided into one hundred individual pieces.

Many countries, including New Zealand, Australia and Finland have all nixed their versions of the U.S. penny, causing less frustration and complication with coin money by rounding everything to the nearest five cents. With the elimination of these one-cent coins, these countries have not suffered any economic consequences, proving that the coins were already of no use.

The U.S. has done away with other types of money in the past, such as the half dollar coin and two dollar bill that no one misses today because they have since moved on. If Obama were to declare the penny an invalid coin, it would just fade into U.S. history.

The coin has most certainly done its country justice, but all things must come to an end, and the era of the penny has long since passed. Although parting with the penny would be a cultural change, it would not be that hard to forget since it is already forgotten.

For more information on the topic see the video ‘Death to Pennies‘.