Ezra Klein highlights some proposals going around Washington that are not controversial and that everyone of any political party should be able to get behind. Not me, when it comes to abolishing the penny!
In 2007, economist Austan Goolsbee wrote an op-ed article in which he asked, “How dumb do you have to be to mint money at a loss?” Goolsbee is now President Obama’s chief economic adviser, so it would be unwise for him to answer his own question. But I’ll do it for him: really, really dumb. And we’re doing it.
It now costs 1.7 cents to pound out a penny, which means we’d save billions of dollars by retiring the hardy coin.
And it’s time to get rid of it anyway. America has never kept a coin in circulation that’s worth as little as the penny is today. In 1867, when the half-cent coin was phased out, the penny was worth 26 cents at today’s rates. But today we’ve got a coin worth 25 cents. It’s time for the penny to enjoy a well-deserved rest.
I disagree! The virtue of having pennies is that our financial transactions can have exact precision. We might as well get rid of the greenback dollar, since you can’t buy anything with that either.