Every so often our government officials spend their time (waste their time?) discussing the value of the penny. Not the monetary value, but whether we should continue using it or not. According to the Toronto Star that debate is heating up again, with the senate meeting tonight to talk about this.
I for one would love to see the penny disappear. While prices may be rounded up, I’ll pay the extra cent or two to not have my pockets weighed down by change. Plus, it’ll save taxpayers money. According to the American budget, the U.S. spends 1.8 cents on each penny; they’ve spent about $100 million more than the currency is really worth.
In a story I wrote for Canadian Business a while ago I talked to Scott Travers, author of the Insiders Guide to U.S. Coin Values 2010. He suggested a number of ways you can keep the penny (and nickel, which costs the U.S. government 9 cents per coin to produce) and make it cheaper to create — make it smaller, fashion it out of aluminum — but getting rid of the currency all together may make the most sense. “With the possibility of monetary inflation, pennies and nickels soon won’t mean very much anyway,” he told me.
Anyway, this is probably just another case of the senate trying to fill time. Those pennies are going to with us for a long time whether we like it or not.