Great Penny Debate

Great Penny Debate

After finding out that the Canadian penny went out of circulation in the fall because it costs more to make than it’s worth, I wanted to see if the same issue had ever come up regarding the US penny. I was a bit surprised to find out that it’s quite a hot topic among Americans. During my research, I was even more surprised to learn that many people leaving comments on various websites regarding the penny debate didn’t know some important facts about our country’s history. For example, some people don’t want to get rid of the penny because that would be dishonoring former President Abe Lincoln, not knowing he is also featured on the $5 bill. Another example along the same lines was that some suggested giving Lincoln a memorial somewhere, not knowing there is a very popular Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

As I continued my research, one piece of information in particular was difficult to verify – how much does it cost to mint the penny? I saw prices range from.81 of a cent to 1.23 cents to as high as 3 cents. According to penny related articles on Time Business & Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, and CNN Money, all reputable sources, it cost 2.4 cents to make one penny. If in fact it costs 2.4 cents to make one penny, then the government is losing 1.4 cents on every penny. Strictly looking at this from a budget perspective, continuing to mint the penny doesn’t appear to be a prosperous economic decision. However, nothing, especially when it comes to congress, is ever that simple. According to ABC News, President Obama proposed an initiative in budget for the Treasury Department to reduce the cost of producing pennies by making the composition more cost-effective materials. Perhaps a cheaper-made penny is the solution.

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