Pennies: Do We Need Them?

There’s a perennial debate in this country about whether or not we need, in this day of electronic commerce and nickel candy, the smallest and most maligned of all the coins, the penny. However, this debate has resurfaced thanks to the rollout of four new designs for the penny in celebration of the great leader whose countenance graces the coin, Abraham Lincoln. From The Washington Times

As an “act of civil disobedience” among the scones, Concord Teacakes became the first retailer in the nation Thursday to refuse to accept pennies as payment, rounding down all transactions to bypass small change.

“We believe that Lincoln himself would support our emancipation from the slavery of the mining lobby, which is behind the continued minting of pennies,” said Al Lewis, who organized the protest in the historic Massachusetts town with bakery owner Judy Fersch. A half dozen neighboring businesses have joined in.

Pennies at the cash register wastes time, and time is money, Mr. Lewis said, adding that there’s an excess of 3,000 pennies per American, prompting people to horde the coins – or throw them away.

Interesting thoughts.

  1. February 17, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I for one am in favor of eliminating the penny. I would propose creating a “Lincoln nickel” and minting both the Jefferson and Lincoln nickels. The Lincoln nickel could be a different metal to differentiate it from the Jefferson nickel, but we also need to get away from copper because it’s so expensive. The Treasury loses money every time we mint a penny.

    • February 17, 2009 at 10:17 am

      Actually, according to the article and other sources, the penny is mostly (97.5%) Zinc with a (2.5%) copper coating, so it’s “Big Zinc” that is keeping the penny in circulation. However, your point still holds. The penny is antiquated, and a novelty at best.

  2. February 17, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Wait, I was supposed to read the article?

    • February 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      Well, it was the Washington Times, which as a liberal you’re honor-bound to never read, so I’ll give you a pass on that one.

  1. February 17, 2009 at 6:35 am

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