Editorial: A penny not made is two saved

Published 10:03 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

It’s high time the United States says farewell to the penny. They cost too much to make.

What’s more, people are always fumbling at cash registers for an extra penny to avoid having them in their pockets and purses. Thank goodness for the share-a-penny boxes. And pennies made after 1982 contain zinc, a poisonous substance. Swallowing pennies has killed family pets.

Consumers already widely use check cards and credit cards to make most of their purchases. Cash is nice, but most people carrying cash and coins do not want pennies.

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Canada has stopped making a one-cent coin. So has Australia, Brazil and Finland.

In fact, President Barack Obama was asked by a citizen in February about getting rid of the penny. He replied: “Any time we’re spending more money on something that people don’t actually use, that’s an example of something we should probably change.”

And U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Arizona, has twice introduced legislation to eliminate the penny.

“Americans will accept it once they understand what the cost of not accepting it is,” Kolbe told Scripps Howard News Service. “People will probably save them and give them to grandkids. There are already billions and billions in plastic jars everywhere. They won’t have any real value for at least a hundred years or more.”

In Canada, where they ceased making pennies in February, people still can purchase down to the exact cent with check cards and credit cards. The one-cent coins remaining in circulation can be used, too, but cash customers without old pennies round to the nearest nickel.

In America, they cost more to make than they are worth. It costs two cents to make one cent, according to the U.S. Mint. Manufacturing them makes little fiscal sense.