Pennies are more than just a currency, they are a symbol. We associate pennies with our government, our economy, and the American dream. However in recent years pennies have become a nuisance. You can find a handful of pennies in your car and your home. Some less frugal citizens will actually throw pennies away, reducing one of our beloved symbols to garbage.
The penny was the first coin minted in the United States. They began with the image of Lincoln and the copper tint. Since the penny’s creation, there have been eleven different designs (Walczak Par 1). There are approximately 2.5 billion pennies in circulation (Got Cent’s Par 3). They have an average life span of 25 years, and the US spends 116 million minting pennies each year. Currently, a penny cost the government 2.41 cents to make (Cirilli Par 2).
President Obama endorsed phasing out pennies on February 14, 2013.
We remember our piggy banks, counting up all our pennies, taking them in, and getting a dollar bill or a couple dollars. And maybe that is the reason why people haven’t gotten around to it. I will tell you that you’re right, this is not going to be a huge savings for government. But anytime we are spending money on something that people do not use, that is what we need to change (Cirilli Video).
Obama makes a valid point. We need to eliminate wasteful spending in areas that give us no benefit. Nostalgia is not an excuse for wasting tax payers’ dollars. However it is not always that simple. Our whole economy would need to adjust to the loss of the penny. Not to mention the 2.5 billion pennies that would become useless junk metal lying in our floorboards.
Change is inevitable in any human system and it must occur to keep the system fresh. Phasing out one of our beloved icons would be heartbreaking. But it is one of many necessary steps we must take to reduce the deficit.
Cirilli Kevin. February 15, 2013. “$116 million: Those pennies sure add up”. Politico. Retrieved on March 7, 2013 from http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/obama-eliminate-penny-116m-87713.html.
Got Cents?. 2012. “Penny Facts”. Retrieved on March 7, 2013 from http://www.gotcents.org/pennyfacts.html.
Walczak, Lynnette. 2011. “10 Facts about Pennies”. US Coins. Retrieved on March 7, 2013 from http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2006/01/penny_facts_faq.php.