Will We Really Get Rid of the Penny?

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getridofpennyRecently, President Obama expressed a desire to get rid of the penny. Talk of ditching the one-cent coin has been circulating for years. The chatter picked up last year when Canada announced its plan to get rid of the penny, but the talk soon died down.

President Obama stirred the debate up again by talking about getting rid of the penny in a Google+ Hangout not too long ago. NBC News reports that the President is concerned that people don’t actually use pennies anymore — and that’s a problem in light of the fact that it costs more than a penny to make a penny.

According to the NBC News report, it cost 2.41 cents to create a penny in 2012. For some, getting rid of the penny seems like one way to reduce some of the costs weighing our government down. Even though the government spent “only” $58 million to mint pennies in 2012, many cite other costs, including the economic costs and productivity costs involved in trying to make transactions work on pennies.

Even though there is some talk about how pennies are useless, getting rid of the penny has proved problematic through the years. Bills in 2001 and 2006 failed to get the support needed to eliminate the penny. Some politicians think that solution might be to stop using zinc and copper, and consider using even less expensive metals like aluminum or steel.

A major stumbling block to getting rid of the penny is the fact that there are major lobbying efforts to keep the coin. From zinc producers to Americans for Common Cents (who worry about inflation with the penny gone), there are those who want to keep the penny around.

What do you think? Should we ditch the penny?

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in financial topics. Her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds.