According to the U.S. Mint, it costs about 2.4 cents to mint each penny
I really hope the group Citizens to Retire the Penny isn’t successful. I promised my son I wouldn’t let them get rid of the penny.
I love vacations because I get alone time with my kids that is harder to find during long work weeks and busy youth sports schedules. Blake and I were in the pool and he just blurted out, “I hope they don’t really get rid of the penny. If they do, Abraham Lincoln’s face won’t be on anything but the Lincoln Monument and it could be destroyed.”
After assuring him that the Lincoln Monument was probably safe and reminding him that Lincoln also appears on the $5 bill, I promised him that I would stop them from discontinuing the penny.
He didn't believe I could.
“You can't stop the President and Congress,” he said. I assured him that I had a good chance because we still buy our ink by the barrel and my columns go viral online all of the time (not just when the NRA and AFP use them as red meat for red state voters).
I get the arguments. According to the U.S. Mint, it costs about 2.4 cents to mint each penny. That’s not very efficient.
According to the Citizens to Retire the Penny, Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t want his face on a coin that costs more to make than it is worth. I don’t know that I would care how much a coin cost to make if my face was going to be on it.
That would be pretty cool. I’m sure Lincoln would agree.
A penny may not buy a penny but a dime won't buy a nickel. It costs almost 11 cents to make a nickel.
But the penny and nickel are hardly the only coins in the world that costs more to produce than they are initially worth.
Ethiopia began replacing its bank notes with coins in 2010. They spend about 16 cents to produce a one birr coin that is worth about 6 cents in American currency terms. Even though the initial cost is higher, the coins are in circulation for more than 10 times the lifespan of a paper note.
Of course, with the penny, there is no demand to replace the coin. These groups want it eliminated.
There are concerns that eliminating the penny would make prices higher because there would be no way to account for denominations below five cents. And what would happen to all of the “take a penny, leave a penny” dishes at convenience stores? No one is leaving a dime or a nickel behind.
This wouldn’t be the first time the United States has discontinued a coin. The half cent, two cent, three cent nickel, three cent silver, half dime and twenty cent coin have all gone the way of the denomination dinosaur.
But no matter how much sense it seems to make now, we just can’t get rid of the penny anytime soon. It would make all of the money we have spent producing the penny over the years a waste. And worse than that, it would make my son think I couldn’t single-handedly keep them in circulation. I have to stay in his good graces.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org