Opinion: Abolish the Penny

Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer

We have been through a lot over the past year.

A shock presidency, Brexit, and even the Patriots winning another Superbowl. All this distracting us from an issue that the United States Government needs to address, the end of penny production.

Imagine you are in charge of a luxury car company, and for each car, it costs you $150,000 to make, but then you take the car, and instead of increasing the price, you charge $100,000 to your customers. Crazy right? You are losing $50,000 on every car. You would go bankrupt because on every car you are losing money.

Who would possibly spend more money making something than what it is actually worth? The answer is the United States of America. According to the annual report from the United States Mint, it costs our government approximately 1.5 cents to make one penny–which as we know is worth one cent. In 2015 over 9 billion pennies were minted by the US Government, costing us approximately 135 million dollars to make. It is a waste of taxpayer money to keep a coin which costs more money to make as it is worth.

Countless countries have abandoned their lowest value coin. These include not only countries with strong economies like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, but also weaker economies like Mexico have stopped the production of their lowest value coin. It is time for America to follow suit.

Even at my job where I make $8.25 an hour, it takes me five seconds to earn a penny. With a median wage of 17 dollars an hour in the United States, you earn a penny in a little bit over two seconds, that being said, it makes no sense that this coin that, quite literally, takes seconds to earn, is still in circulation.

But that is not where it ends, there is no utility for the penny, you can not use it at vending machines, at toll booths, or quite frankly anywhere. It is a useless coin. You cannot use a penny to produce a penny, you would lose money.

The only contenders to this claim are the Zinc industry, who would lose money if the penny went out of production, which is why they lobby to keep the penny alive. Another contention is all things that would cost below a nickel would be rounded to a cost of five cents, or all other amounts which may require pennies would be rounded to the nearest nickel when paying in cash.

This, however, is false, as seen in the countries that repealed their lowest value coin, they experienced no economic strain from this “rounding tax.” Even the United States’ Department of Defense implemented a policy to end use of the penny on all their military bases and experienced no negative change in the economy, because it is equally effective to the producer and consumer, meaning no change occurs in the long run.

So instead of health care, taxes and gun control, Congress should stop bickering about these problems that will have a long, drawn out solution, and focus on a bipartisan issue with an easy fix. The end of penny production and the strain it has had on our economy needs to end. Enough is enough, abolish it.