We Clearly Do Not Understand the Value of a Penny

Last month Canada voted to stop minting and circulating pennies as a cost saving measure.  If you’re thinking this isn’t very newsworthy, I don’t blame you.  My initial attitude towards ending penny circulation was relatively apathetic.  I saw no great alarm or harm in depriving Canadians of their smallest currency.  But this act has rekindled the debate as to what we should do with our penny.  Should we follow the lead of our friendly neighbors from the north?  After hearing Daniel Akst‘s estimate in an interview on NPR that we lost over 60 million dollars last year manufacturing pennies and another 27 million the year before, it certainly seems like it is a good idea to put Abraham Lincoln out to pasture.  As Akst points out, it costs us 2.4 cents to produce something worth, well, 1 cent — which, is not exactly a viable economic model. Thus, every penny we mint drives us deeper into debt — and we produce a lot of pennies — normally between 4 – 14 billion pennies a year.

With potential savings like that, I started wondering why we didn’t eliminate the penny years ago.  Just ask the Americans for Common Cents.  They have plenty of reasons why we should keep the penny around, and some of their arguments sounded pretty compelling…until I kept digging.  It turns out (and you won’t find this on their website anywhere) that the Americans for Common Cents is funded by the Zinc lobby.  Want to take a guess what metal comprises 97.5% of a penny?

Read Daniel Askt’s full article here:



About Finley Vinson, Contributor

Finley Vinson is a husband, father, traffic engineer, and die hard documentary film buff. He’s also a bit of a conspiracy theorist. He enjoys history, mountain biking, eggnog, and comedies his wife calls “movies about nothing”. His achievements include an undergraduate degree from Hendrix College, a graduate degree from the University of Arkansas, and personally meeting every princess at disney world. He is passionate about underprivileged children, social injustice, keeping the floor dry during bath time, and Monsanto.