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March 09, 2007

Get rid of pennies

Thanks to Joe Williams (3/1, Letters) for reminding us of the uselessness of pennies. So many countries have eliminated pennies because it’s so easy to “round up” or “round down.” The United States is in the Dark Ages. Rep. Jim Kolb of Arizona has twice introduced legislation to stop making 1 cent coins that cost 1.4 cents to make. He has had no success because there are organized opponents.

Mary Lu Parks
Columbia, Mo.



Here's an idea.

We produce pennies only in odd years at the current production rate. There are more than enough pennies out there to sustain us.

Mark K

Jack- I have a cute little anecdote about the metric system. Once upon a time a city put out a bid for a water plant. In order to go with the government's adoption of the metric system they put out the bid to build a plant with metric specs. You see, it turns out our infrastructure isn't really geared for metric. They got a bid for one meter pipes. It turns out no one in the US makes one meter pipes, so they would have to make all new forms to provide them. (3 feet doesn't quite equal one meter) In short the bid for the plant came in at three time the bid for one built with standard specs. Its not just a stubborn American mentality(which I'm glad we have), its an economic reality that everything we do is geared towards the standard system. Just food for thought.
As far as pennies are concerned, I'd say the precision they provide is a boon to consumers. If they cost 1.4 cents to produce, they pay for themselves in the first transaction that doesn't cheat you out of 2 cents. Give inflation a while longer though, and they probably won't be worth producing.


Rigid? Us Americans are rigid? No Way! Just like with the metric system, dollar bills and all that other stuff that we keep using when the rest of the world has shifted, it is because we are right! Let the rest of the world change (oops, they already did) who needs them anyway!


What becomes of the 150 billion pennies that are in circulation? Do credit card companies and stores get to begin rounding up or are credit cards/checks still to the nearest cent?


Five-cent pieces are rather balky and unhandy --- might as well phase them out at the same time. Next time the city needs another penny for sales tax or the Feds. for a Postage stamp to operate a year or so, they can just round it off a dime???
I’m sure Arizona’s Kolb could find a project for a few extra cents OR dollars!
(1.4 cents to coin a penny is a bargain!)

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