The US really might stop producing pennies

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Please.Report

  2. Avatar Murali says:

    So, no more 1.99 shops?Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Maybe putting a woman on the penny would save it?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Nope, they’ll be $1.95 shops, or $2.00 shops.

      I’ve always hated the implicit dishonesty in the $9.99 or $299 price, allowing the vendor to claim a price under $X by the faintest percent. Does it truly make a huge difference is sales if the item is priced at $9.99 vs $10.00? Are people really that dumb?Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        Sugar-free Tic-Tacs are basically 100% sugar. The label admits it if you know how to read it. People are capable of thinking. But they don’t.Report

  3. Avatar aaron david says:

    So, when we get taxed on a purchase, will the gov’t round down, saving us the few cents? Or will it round up, gaining the few cents for itself?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Here, in Canuckistan, where we got rid of pennies, it’s not rounded when you pay with debit or credit and if you pay with cash, it’s rounded up or down to the nearest five cent increment. It goes both ways.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        OK, that sounds sensible. As long as cash is king.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          From what I have read both sides benefit whichever way you round, in the “time is money” sense. Vendors benefit even if you always round down in cash purchases.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          On credit or debit card purchases the price remains rounded to the nearest cent as it has always been. So you can exploit the system to make HUGE BANK by waiting to see the total, and then pay with cash for totals that end in 1, 2, 6, or 7 cents.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    As long as we get to keep our shillings and guineas.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    This wouldn’t be a problem if the us hadn’t devalued it’s currency through inflation and “structural easing”.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      The US eliminated the half cent more than a century before Bretton Woods was ended.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        When Canada finally ditched the penny, I looked up the inflation-corrected value of a penny at the time the US got rid of their half-cent – I think it was about 25 modern cents.

        So that change in modern terms would be equivalent to ditching the dime, and letting the quarter be the smallest denomination in circulation. Which seems about right to me, honestly.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I support going by the Ramen Index. The lowest denomination ought to be whatever a cheap pack of Ramen costs.Report

          • Avatar Road Scholar says:

            The Vending Machine index is superior. Almost all VMs accept dollar coins but not pennies, and the bill acceptors will reject about 10 to 20% of all dollar notes you try to use due to age and wear (of the bills). So ditch both the penny and dollar bill.Report

            • Avatar Autolukos says:

              I endorse this standard and suggest that we start sharpening our knives for the day when nickels are no longer widely accepted.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          While I definitely think there is no need to keep nickels around, I am kind of fond of dimes.

          Mostly that’s just because the weight/face value ratio is the same for dimes and quarters, so a given value of change in dimes and quarters will weigh your pocket down by the same amount regardless of the ratio of the two coin types. Which just seems right somehow.Report

  6. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I always hate the “it costs more than a penny to make a penny” thing. It’s dumb and immaterial. It’s fiat currency. It’s value doesn’t like in the value of it’s component materials.

    Sorry, just my kvetching.Report

    • Avatar James K says:

      @morat20

      One source of government revenue is seigniorage – the creation of money as a revenue source. This is nowhere near as large a revenue source as tax, but it is a revenue source nonetheless.

      That pennies have a negative seigniorage value means that the government has to make up that revenue elsewhere, and it really is absurd to make something that is worth less than the materials that make it up.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        The gov’t CAN afford it.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        If a penny was spent once then exhausted, I’d agree.

        Which might make it actually apply to the penny, since it ends up right back in banks rather than circulating.

        But take the almighty dollar. It might get spent a hundred times. If it cost a dollar fifty to make, it still got circulated like a hundred dollars — even if it cost more to make than it’s worth.Report