The Decline of the Penny

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It was first proposed to eradicate the penny in 2001 by U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, because of the growing cost of production of it. (Lewis) To this day nothing has yet to be done about this. Currently it takes about three cents just to make a penny. That in itself is counter productive, especially with out current national debt. Since we make about a billion pennies a month, at three cents to make a penny, our national debt would be a whole trillion dollars less if the penny was gone at the beginning of the war with Iraq. The only reason why the penny is still around is because Tennessee is a major producer of zinc, which is what the penny is mostly consisted of now. The only copper we actually use is in higher denomination coins and ironically is the least used in pennies, only to give the penny its color. Even Arizona, the United States’ largest producer of copper is all for the penny’s dropping out, which makes us wonder why we still have this worthless, annoying, costly coin. Besides the costliness of making the coin, it wastes time. How do you know how much time you have wasted looking for that last penny to make exact change? Well, Jeff Gore does. According to Gore it takes “4 hours per person per year”. (Kahn) With another four hours per year who knows what could be done? If we total this up with everybody else in the United States at an average pay of fifteen dollars an hour, we are loosing 15 billion dollars a year. If the cost of making these wasn’t enough, the estimated cost is just staggering. At an average life expectancy of about seventy years, all together it is possible to waste about twelve days looking for that penny. That doesn’t make any sense to waste so much of one’s life looking for something that can’t even be used in vending machines. If the population was more informed on the subject, this bill would have gone through by now. This is not an issue that is front and center, like it should be. Since the spotlight is being hogged by people who actually give a care about what type of dog Obama has and what Blagovitch is hiding on his forehead, the penny problem gets no time in the media. If the people knew the amount of time and money that goes into the penny and how worthless of it then less than seventy five percent of United States citizens would either have an opinion on it or would be for the eradication of the useless penny. (Harris Poll) With people being so oblivious to it, there is no wonder that people still carry around all those pennies that they are too embarrassed to actually do any purchasing with and can’t spend in any modern vending machine. With all the negatives against the penny, why do we still keep it around? Because people don’t know. People don’t know that they are loosing days of their lives looking for them. People don’t know that the debt in the county is growing every month from this. People don’t know that this is even an issue. When people themselves forget the last time they have used a penny in a way other than exact change, it is time for a little change.


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