Eliminate the penny!

A group seeks the elimination of the copper coin, and it has a valid case.

The value of a penny has gone down so much that it now costs more than one cent to produce a penny coin. For this and other reasons, a small campaign has begun to retire the penny from circulation. We at the Statesman have to agree that this is a pretty good idea. The group Citizens for Retiring the Penny has been making news in recent months with founder Jeff Gore appearing on programs such as 60 Minutes and The Colbert Report. Gore proposes that the United States stop production of the penny and retailers compensate by rounding prices up or down to the nearest multiple of five. Since half of prices would round up and the other half down, any price changes would balance out. Pennies would still be accepted legal tender but be gradually phased out over time. Because of inflation, pennies have become essentially valueless. Most vending machines donâÄôt even accept pennies. A penny in 1940 was worth what a quarter is worth now. In 1857, the United States discontinued the production of halfpennies because of inflation. At that point, halfpennies were still worth ten times the amount pennies are today. Moreover, pennies are a downright nuisance. Anyone whoâÄôs worked in retail knows people constantly hold up checkout lines digging through their wallets for pennies so they can get rid of them. The Citizens for Retiring the Penny website states that an estimated two seconds are wasted per transaction due to counting out pennies for change. Retiring the penny would save the country both money and time âÄî not to mention making room in peopleâÄôs wallets for money thatâÄôs actually worth something. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in The Indiana Statesman at Indiana State University. Please send comments to [email protected]