Death to Pennies

Death to Pennies


The story of the penny starts in the first
US Mint founded in 1792 which produced these one-cent pieces along with other coins including
the Quarter, Dime, Half Dime and a mystery coin that we’ll get back to later. These pennies of the new republic were born
of 100% pure copper. But, two forces conspired to ensure this wouldn’t
remain the case for long. The value of copper went up and, because of inflation, the buying
power of the penny went down. This caused The Mint to reduce the amount
of copper in pennies, first from 100% to 95%, and then to only 5% copper and 95% zinc. Despite this debasement, in 2006 the value
of the metal in older pennies rose over 1 cent and suddenly they were worth more dead
than alive so people melted them to sell the raw copper for profit. In a rational, efficient world, the story
of the penny would have ended here with the Government realizing that they weren’t worth
Minting and happy that its citizens were removing them from circulation. But, instead the Government made melting U.
S. coins illegal and continues to manufacture 4 million pennies each year. Which is idiotic as it costs the US Mint about
1.8 cents to make a each 1 cent penny. But, even if pennies were minted from something
more representative of their true value — like plastic or lint — it wouldn’t fix the fundamental
problem that pennies are bad for people and the economy. Here’s why: The purpose of physical, cash money is to
make it easy to transact the everyday business of buying stuff. A shopkeeper has stuff and you want that stuff.
Rather than bartering like savages for it, you use cash as a medium of exchange. To get the price just right the cash must
be divisible into pieces so that you don’t overpay. But it isn’t divided forever, because at some
point the value it represents is too small to buy anything or bother with. Which brings
us back to the penny. In the olden days, pennies could actually
buy stuff, no more. Now, if you want to spend pennies, you’re going to have to put in some
effort. For example, try to pay for 20 bucks worth
of groceries with 2,000 pennies weighing 11 pounds and see how that works out. So you have to get rid of them by using exact
change. But, because the United States doesn’t include
sales tax in prices — unlike more civilized countries — and you can’t multiply by 8.875%
in your head, you can’t get your change ready before you reach the register like a good
Samaritan would. The pennies you inevitably fiddle with after
discovering the true cost of your goods add two seconds to each cash transaction on average
which is less than the value of your time, and the time of everyone behind you, which
is why most normal people don’t bother messing with change and the usual penny-counting culprits
are those with nothing better to occupy their day. If you want to spend pennies without being
an inconsiderate jerk who wastes other peoples’ time perhaps you can find a machine that will
accept them. Good luck with that. Vending machines won’t
take pennies, neither laundry machines or toll booths or parking meters or anything
else — because pennies aren’t worth the time and effort to count, store and transport them. In fact there is only one machine that takes
pennies: Coinstar — a leach on the economy that eats 10% of your money while providing
nothing in return except the ability to spend cash that was already yours. The difficulty of spending pennies is why
they end up in jars, dead to the economy after a short, useless life where they failed at
their only job, to facilitate exchange and instead did the exact opposite by being a
literal dead weight on every cash transaction. They must be eliminated. But, you might think, won’t prices rise and
charities lose money without the penny? No. New Zealand got rid of their 1 cent coin,
as did Oz. Finland and the Netherlands ditched the 1 euro cent coin as well. Though that
might have been because of how absurdly small and frustrating 1 euro cent is. These countries round to the nearest 5 cents
for cash transactions and none of them saw prices rise or charitable donations drop. And anyway, the United States has already
gone through this process before without trouble. Remember the mystery coin from the beginning?
That was the half-cent. Seen one lately? Of course you haven’t. It was discontinued in
1857 for being worth too little. But when the half-cent met its fate, it had
more buying power than today’s dime so perhaps the list of modern coins to kill could even
be larger. There is one last, irrational problem with
getting rid of the penny. Everybody loves Lincoln — well almost everyone.
After booting off Lady Liberty and the Chief, the US sure has Lincoln-ified the penny within
an inch of its life. But ditching the penny won’t erase him from
history. Lincoln, and his monument, are still on the
5 dollar bill which isn’t going away. And, even if you think it’s unpatriotic or
disrespectful to retire Presidential coinage, allow me to direct you to a little organization
known as the United States Military. Where, in overseas bases, they’ve already
abolished the penny by automatically rounding to the nearest five cents. Sooner or later even the most ardent Lincoln
lovers will have to give up the penny: they cost more to make than they’re worth, they
waste peoples’ time, they don’t work as money, and because of inflation they’re less valuable
every year making all the other problems worse. Sorry Abe, but it’s time to kill the penny.

100 thoughts on “Death to Pennies

  1. Im sorry but coinstar is not the only way to convert them, while it is true they are everywhere, all if not most banks will take your coins off you for free or have a machine at the local branch(at least 3 banks around me have these)

  2. I have three siblings and a stepsister. All of them were born after this video was uploaded. Just felt like sharing that.

  3. I wish in Germany they would do the same, just kill the Pennie, I hate when on ALL priceshields are: 19.99 or 2.99 or 1.99 like c'mon 1cent will give you more profit dude

  4. Whenever I give change, I ask people if they want the pennies. 99% of the time, they say no. The other times they give me a dirty look to which I roll my eyes in front of the customer and hand it to them.

  5. I guess that is why the song «Pennies From Heaven» was written…? In Norway we have no coins under the value of 1. We have soon no cash either, only electronic money. Kids under the age of 10 have never seen cash. Proverb: cash is the poor mans credit card.

  6. I collect pennies and put them in coin rolls so that coinstar can’t coop that 10%. I already spend so much of my free time watching anime and TV that i may as well do that and make small amounts of money.

  7. As of 2018, it costs 2.6 cents to make a penny, meaning the Mint loses 1.6 cents per penny. An even bigger money loser is the nickel which costs. 7.6 cents to make, meaning the Mint loses 2.6 cents per nickel. At least the nickel is still useful, but even then, unless the nickel is reshaped to cost less than its value, it may also be a candidate to go down the path of the penny and instead make the dime the lowest coin unit in circulation.

  8. In Australia decades ago we ditched 1 cent and 2 cent coins, making 5 cent coin the smallest. In a transaction 1 or 2 cents and 6 or 7 cents is automatically rounded down to 0 cents and 5 cents, while the other side 3 or 4 cents and 8 or 9 cents rounds up to 5 and 10 cents.

    Oh for 45 years USA has been officially metric as the preferred unit system. So use it lazy fucks.

  9. You know, the US 1 cent piece is not a penny, its a cent. The penny is a British coin and the US money system is based on the Spanish system, with dollars cents, not pounds and pence.

  10. And soon credit cards will render this whole argument irrelevant. Also, happily working for a place in the US that includes sales tax in our prices, and makes an effort to keep them on clean dollar amounts. The only time we don't is items we want to charge $1.50 for. Because of how tax is calculated here in my state a post-tax price of $1.50 is impossible. It can be $1.49 or $1.51 So we just charge $1.49 because we didn't want to up-charge to $1.60 and most of our customers pay with card anyway.

  11. There HAS to be a black market were annoyed people can turn in pennies for free and get normal money in return, and the criminals in turn melt the stuff down and sell the materials for 80% profit. I know its illegal but it seems like one of the easier types of crime to hide…

  12. 2:55 Technically you can still get 1 cent coins in Australia with special coin sets but the designs and rarity increases the value of said penny.

  13. the ultimate insult:

    you are a penny.

    might seem a little weak, huh? well, here you go:

    • you're not worth much
    • nobody wants you
    • everyone has touched you
    • you're dirty
    • you're on the streets
    • you're two faced
    • you're in everyone's pants

  14. Why don’t they just add the tax to the price?
    Is it meant to incovinience the people of their own county to the point the hate taxes more?

  15. In Sweden, the minimum denomination is 1 Krona, which corresponds to about 10 cents. Although we use almost only card payment, and then less denominations are still used.

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