Thursday, December 14, 2006

Should the penny come to an end?

With this announcement today from the US Mint that it is illegal to melt down pennies and nickels, even though they are worth more as metal than as currency, people will surely start asking the question of whether we should end the penny and start rounding things up to the nearest five cent mark.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/14/news/melting/index.htm?cnn=yes

Pros and cons abound.

Pros:
1. No longer forced to make something that cost more than it's worth.....billions of 'em.
2. People already throw them away, leave them on the ground, give them away at convenience stores.

Cons:
1. Numismatic heritage is lost
2. Calculating taxes and prices and per unit costs would be much more difficult
3. Little kids need to have some kind of money to put in their piggy banks. If we end the penny, we'll need to start making $.50 pieces and $1 coins.

I think the penny should remain for now. I'd recommend a vast overhaul and redesign, changing the metallurgy of the penny and making it out of the cheapest metal possible. The copper clad zinc doesn't have to be that way. Pennies were made of steel during WWII for a lack of copper. People will adjust.

You just know that the Distinguished Gentlemen from Illinois will have a cow about taking Lincoln off the front.

3 comments:

Tim said...

Nothing would make me happier than seeing the death of the penny. They're completely worthless as currency.

Tara said...

You just wanted to use the word "metallurgy." ;-)

Paul Dunn said...

Although not with the same conviction as young Boisvert, I too would like to see the end of the penny. Coins are supposed to come and go. The penny has certainly run its course.

I don't really see taxes being a huge issue for getting rid of the penny... either you round up or round down, just like you do now.