I wrote recently about the pragmatic value in stopping making the penny. I stated there that, as I had heard many years ago, the penny costs 1.6 cents to make. Well, that was out of date! I just discovered that the current figure is over 2.4 cents! See the article here:
Also, according to that article, the nickel costs over 11 cents to make. And the total losses last year in making pennies and nickels was $116 million. It’s become much worse in the past year because of the soaring cost of the raw metals, but the raw material is only part of the cost. The labor, shipping, etc. to make them domestically must be very expensive as well. But that cost, and the profits that are going to somebody, must be the reason we’re still paying to make them.
By the way, I’ve seen articles on the internet say that the “penny” should properly be called the “cent”, but I disagree. No one says the “nickel” should be called the “five cents”. A “cent” is an amount of money. A “penny” is a coin. If I have 10 cents I may have 10 pennies, or I may have a dime coin or $0.10 in my bank account. The word “penny” is hundreds of years old and is used also in the UK and the major British Commonwealth countries. It’s not slang. Maybe is just sounds too cute — it is a woman’s name after all — to be a word used in legal documents. But that’s what the coin valued at one cent is called.
Here is a list of future topics I’m planning to write on:
– Immigration reform
– Metric system
– British driving on left
– Differential pay based on subject area
– Sunspots and solar flares
– The bathroom (waste of time, but shower feels so good)
In my last post, I discussed one pragmatic change that can be made that would save the American Taxpayer money: the replacement of the dollar bill with a dollar coin. The other obvious currency reform is the elimination of the penny. This reform may be even harder from a political standpoint, as shown by the fact that a coin corresponding to the approximate value of the penny still exits in both Britain and in Europe. The elimination of the penny is even more connected to inflation as it shows that money (or at least one form of money) is so worthless it isn’t worth keeping.
But the fact is, it isn’t worth keeping. And that’s what pragmatism is all about: recognizing the truth and acting accordingly, instead of acting in accordance with what you wish to be the truth. I see pennies lying in the street quite frequently while no one is interested in collecting them. Several years ago I learned that the penny costs 1.6 cents to coin, so it is literally worth less than the cost of manufacture. Trays for “give a penny – take a penny” have proliferated in the past decade. It isn’t worth keeping track of costs to the nearest penny, even in retail sales. So why do we continue to worry about the penny? Why does anyone carry them and save them and spend them? Perhaps out of habit, or sentiment. Or only because in large numbers, they still have value.