Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Penny for your Thoughts...

As a piece of currency, the penny is considered by most people to be inconsequential. According to the New York Times, since it's inception in 1909 over 444,039,035,418 pennies have been created. For the upcoming Lincoln Bicentennial the U.S. Mint will be releasing four new coin designs to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the production of the Lincoln penny.

But do we still need the penny as part of our currency system? According to the Americans for Common Cents, we do. They say that:

Eliminating the penny is a losing proposition because it will result in rounding to the nearest nickel and higher prices for America’s working families. This increased cost to consumers will be felt in everything from the grocery store to the gas pump. Pennies add up to millions of dollars every year for charities across the country. Simply put, the penny plays an important role in our everyday lives and in our nation’s economy.

The opposing viewpoint? Citizens for Retiring the Penny:

Inflation has eaten away at the value of the penny to such a degree that it no longer facilitates commerce. The fact that the penny is still in circulation does not mean that it is useful. If the half penny were minted then it too would be in circulation, even though it would be nothing but a nuisance. The half penny was eliminated in 1858, when it was worth over ten times what the penny is worth today. Assuming that the timing was correct before, this means that we should have eliminated the penny fifty years ago. The penny is now worth so little that nobody even picks it up off the ground, despite the old "lucky penny" adage.

What do you think? Does a nickel for your thoughts sound the same?

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