Penny pinching: Can Obama manage elimination of one-cent coin?
By Ali Weinberg, NBC News
President Barack Obama finally broke his silence on an issue of national importance Friday he thinks its time to retire the penny.
The possible extinction of the one-cent coin was a featured economic question in a Google+ Hangout with the Commander in Chief last week as John Green, the co-creator of a popular YouTube channel, applied a little presidential peer pressure.
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, many other countries have gotten rid of their pennies, Green said. Why havent we done it?
http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013 … &pos=3
I always have a bunch in the bottom of my purse and in most drawers at home. Maybe it's time to kill off the little cent
" an issue of national importance"
Its been keeping me up at night.
I agree completely, that we need to get rid of this pesky piece of copper. Maybe if we're forced to save our nickels instead of pennies, we can go on those much-needed vacations more often. But really, wouldn't it be nice to finally round the cost of items up? Instead of $19.99, just make it an even $20.00? That has irked me my entire life. Makes no cents...lol...did ya catch that one?
And the reason I think it is of national importance is because every single one of us has money lying around, stuck in the couch cushions, underneath the washer/dryer, sitting in jars to be ignored forever, in the bottom of our purses, in parking lots on the ground, in the sands of beaches, on the floors of our cars.
That being said, there are probably millions and millions of dollars going to waste just collecting dust. What's the point in that? People will be more guarded with larger coins, not as apt to let them sit around. Of course we'll actually spend it out in society, better for businesses and maybe it'll eventually lead to more jobs and a better economy....???? Who knows, but I agree we should've done away with the penny long ago.
Pennies at the bottom of your purse can be changed into dollars. The more the better. Some day you will miss them. They are proof that you were given precise and accurate change recently. They are a symbol of small increments of inflation rather than automatic 1x5 increments.
Getting rid of the penny sounds insignificant and innocuous, but imagine the revenue generated by adding 1 to 4 cents to all those sales transactions, and then again to the tax. Merchants will likely take the opportunity to round up prices to the new, cleaner looking, even dollar amount even though many were at xx.95 which was already accommodated by the nickel. That is your first increase. Then wherever a sales tax is applied it would round up again, 1 - 4 cents per transaction. Sounds like a windfall for business and government at the consumer's expense. As for savings related to not handling all those coins, those expenses are already factored into our current system and won't be returned when no longer incurred.
What about these thoughts of bBerean's???
What stops companies from rounding up their prices already?
What about counting change back? what will be the cut off-point for rounding down or up: 91 cents will equal 90 cents. 95 cents will equal 95cents, but ninety six cents will equal $1.00... right? It seems like in the course of a day I could loose money depending on what I am buying...
There won't be a need for 96 cents. It won't exist anymore. So there won't be a problem.
Most countries that have already done this (without any problems) use Swedish rounding. 1 and 2 round down to 0, 3 and 4 round up to 5.
The only way to make it better is to automatically price in tax to the item cost, so you don't pay $15.45 + tax, you just pay $15.45.
Essentially the unit of measure, 1/5 of a nickel, will have to be illegal and never used again. Ever. E v e r y o n e is okay with that?
What about in labs where the counting by 1's IS important...or VITAL? Won't it screw with our sense of value in other areas where measurement MUST be accurate? I guess we will be able to discriminate. I sure hope so!!!!
Q. Is it ok to get rid of the first eight digits (1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9) of our decimal monetary system? Kids will have to count with their fists. (This should make Mr. Josak happy! )
Calm down Kathryn.
We're not talking about eliminating the number 1, or changing our number system.
Um. why on earth would people count differently just because they have to round off financial purchases to the nearest 5 cents?
Do you really think the UK, Canada and New Zealand gave up counting and measuring?
In what universe do you live where people don't learn maths because cents are not independent?
Here in Canada, starting this month (Feb. 4, 2013), merchants are supposed to have stopped giving pennies as change, although some still do. Bank transactions are still calculated to the cent.
The way the rounding works here in Canada..at the checkout, the final total (including the tax) is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. So to a fair extent, it's 'revenue neutral', as they say. It's not a case of the merchants or the governements taking more of our money. The federal government just wanted to save the cost of dealing with the pennies. It was actually costing more to make them than the face value.
Most people are glad to not have to deal with them anymore. Although we'll probably end up with just as many nickels in our pockets, which are a bit heavier...oh well.
Those who manage their money accurately and wisely keep track of it to the last cent. They will certainly cry. I can't stand the idea. It is horrible. It will affect our psyches. That is not good-
If it's like it was in Canada, each penny was costing more than a cent to produce. So it made sense for it to disappear. They will be rounding out prices if you pay cash but if you pay by debit or credit you will pay the true cost.
I've read and watch reports of people hoarding pennies and want to cash in on the copper value of them. Maybe they'll make a mint!
Currently, it is illegal to turn pennies back into copper.
Will it become legal?
Good for them in that case!
Another excellent reply
There is absolutely nothing illegal about it, indeed we already do it in America with fractions of a cent when transactions for shares etc. are made the fractions of a cent are rounded out which is exactly the same as what is being suggested here.
Your argument is beyond the pale and factually incorrect.
- yeah, they are trying to mess with the cash society people. Some of us will not be involved in the cashless society. We will be the barbaric outsiders who want nothing to do with the One World Government which is coming upon us whether we like it or not (which will surely begin with the with the implementation of the PPACA BS.) As things go bad there will be those who will work with cash only. save your money! not gold not silver. cold hard cash!
I read an article that said it costs two cents to make a penny, so it really doesn't make sense to have them anymore in the U.S. I always know when my purse gets too heavy I have tons of them at the bottom! It is true vendors may take advantage and round up to more than they have to. And times when I've just thrown pennies in a jar, I've had enough to do something little with them. So I have mixed feelings.
It has nothing to do with being cashless. Prices are just rounded a few cents up and down. No biggee. I have been in three different no-penny countries and there are no difficulties at all.
I do NOT agree.
1. It messes with the justice of owing a man what is his due.
1. We cannot be rounding off!
1. It is not justice or just or fair or decent or practical
IT IS WRONG!
This comment is so ridiculous it truly terrifies me.
Prices are already adjusted to specific monetary figures, do you think it's some coincidence that so many prices end in .99 and you think it's sane economic practice (or practical) to endure the cost of providing a coin for that 0.01?
Everytime I see your vicious energized fist it terrifies me. Stay where you are. Step away from America!
good rational reply there
Did you know that the penny costs almost 2 cents to make? You think this is sane?
Who cares. justice is involved. It is the price of justice. I, for one, am willing to pay it.
As noted above there is factually no justice issue involved...
what is in it for you to argue this. go on....
This is a seemingly small one cent issue, but on the other hand it IS NOT! We cannot be rounding off. To accept this is playing with fire. FIRE!
It's not really that big of a deal. Prices would adjust, everyone would be paid their due.
Pennies are not only essentially worthless, but we lose money by making them.
You said, "not really that big of a deal... " You did not say, "We need to get rid of pennies because we s h o u l d be rounding off.
The lack of absolute accuracy affects one's psyche. It is not a good thing for the people to get used to, especially children. Maybe we could make pennies out of another type of metal? Is brass cheaper?
No accuracy would be lost. Just as now we use the lowest denominator, we would use the lowest denominator.
We don't have absolute accuracy anyway. Shouldn't you be supporting 1/10 cents and 1/100 cents so we can get closer?
The issue is it's ridiculous how when hard pressed for funds we continue to waste billions on a piece of currency that is utterly useless and in fact hinders the economy, (service is significantly slowed by the handing out of pennies which has an impact on our national economy as a whole) on a ridiculous arbitrary limiter that somehow rounding fractions of a cent is fine but rounding whole cents is aberrant.
It's a completely illogical premise.
No it hasn't for a very long time, it's been costly and inefficient since inflation made the cent irrelevant, when the cent was created it was worth more than a five cent coin is now.
Its been good for commerce. Its been good for understanding the true value of all items. It been good on a level of our collective and concrete mental sense of order. Otherwise the penny wouldn't have been used in the first place.
However, I'm sure it will happen that we will loose our pennies. I hope it will not affect us. It might be okay for adults who are very abstract in their thinking... and I guess it can be taught to our children. And I guess we will all adjust to it just fine.
But, wouldn't it be better if we just kept the penny for the sake of the concrete reality of what we are actually dealing with?
And what about what bBerean mentioned up there?
But, like many things, its usefulness has passed.
It was useful when the cent was necessary for small purchases but now the five cent is worth less than the one cent was which shows clearly how irrelevant and out of date it is.
This "it's good for the psyche" argument is incredibly dubious and I would love to see any actual psychological research to back that claim. Furthermore rounding means more accurate, when addition only has to be done in a decimal and half decimal system errors are greatly reduced (hence more accuracy).
There is no concrete reality in cash values, they are arbitrary values imposed for social convenience, the value of the coin doesn't even correspond to it's mandated currency value.
It is a matter of accurate counting. The penny helps us count and keep track of the accurate price. I am concerned with how it will affect our thinking. If we can handle it... and the rounding off will not be taken advantage of... fine. But won't the rounding off be a cause of arguing and disagreements? Or will we be able to settle these issues?
As mentioned in the OP this has been done in several nations without issue and with economic and trade benefits benefits resulting.
It's not going to move on to the nickle, dollar, $20... the reason for targeting the penny is that it is basically worthless, due to constant inflation, and it cost more to make one than what we say it is worth. Nickles and quarters still have some actual value. In time, we will get rid of nickles and quarters too. With inflation, it has to be that way, unless you want to still have pennies around when a loaf of bread costs $20.
A penny in 1950 had the same buying power as a dime does today.
I still say it helps us count. No? We don't need to count accurately in the concrete physical relm? I guess like you say. we don't have 1/4 cents and 1/2 cents.
What's a penny these days!
Count by fives. It's still accurate.
Kathryn, it's inevitable... you do realize that right? When the cost of items goes up 3% every year, at some point a penny just isn't worth it anymore.
I guess the British felt that way when they did away with farthings and three-penny coins in the last century.
What would it do to the price of copper?
The cost of the wire in your home is not considerable and in a school or other commercial building it can easily be tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, the cost of copper piping dwarfs that of wire. It's enough that copper theft from incomplete job sites is a major problem just because the scrap value is so high.
There's a fair bit of copper in your car as well as anything with an electric motor such as a refrigerator.
Can we save something well beyond the actual cost of producing pennies?
Are you saying, the price of copper would drop and we would not be saving money anyway? or what?
Is it okay to loose 8 digits (12346789) in our monetary system??? IS IT? The kids (and adults) will have to learn to count with their fists!
Your arguments just keep degenerating.
Are you planning on abolishing the nickel?
Right! That would actually make sense. Why deal with nickels? Dimes would be even easier (smaller, lighter) to carry, count and deal with!
Eventually, it will be electronic based currency, anyway...very abstract and non concrete, like being on the astral realm. Here comes heaven.
Perhaps you should deal with your other assertions that make no sense before making more of them.
Kathryn, what I want to know is why you seem to ignore almost everything that's been said to you.
Do you think we would be better off with 1/10 cent pieces?
Abolish nickels. Pennies only- that would be better for me! There is a solution we could all live with and an excellent compromise! (Mostly benefiting children which is a major concern of mine.) Is it expensive to produce nickels? Lets get rid of them instead!
No, I don't get what your concern is. We round already, that doesn't seem to bother you though.
How do we round already...? I guess you need to enlighten me.
Buy something that costs $1.23, with a 7% sales tax. Tax is $0.0861, but we don't pay that. We round.
Taxes would be the only thing that you would have to round, and we already do that.
But a penny is an amount that we care about. We don't care about anything less because it it is too tiny. We need to keep the penny for the sake of how we count and think.
I have no idea why you think this. As I have already said, Canadians and Brits seem to still know how many fingers they have. In fact their mathematical education system seems a tad better than the norm in the US.
Exactly. The penny is too tiny nowadays. Do you realize that every year, the penny loses another 3% or so of its value? You can't buy anything with a penny anymore. It costs taxpayers money... we are literally wasting money on pennies.
Eliminating the penny has no effect on counting in the common realm.
...to children it would have an effect. It is hard for them to think in the abstract. Counting by 5's is cumbersome. What about counting by fives and rounding off by your anesthesiologist?
That's ridiculous. We counted by 5s in kindergarten, it's not confusing at all.
Everyone would still be able to count by 1s in other uses.
No, children are not counting by 5's in kindergarten. They don't get the concept till they are much older when the times tables are learned.
Our class did it.
Whatever, I'm done. You're ignoring almost everything being said to you.
And if we adopt the decimal system nobody will know what a foot is any more and we will have to crawl everywhere on our bellies!
You are not listening to me. It is important to keep the penny for psychological peace and happiness. We count and think and deal with units of 1/100. I am talking about ease of thought. Freedom from cumbersome and confusing abstractions of mathematical computations.
Cents aren't really made of copper now. They're largely zinc with copper plating. We switched to this in 1982, because copper prices were making cent production too expensive.
Have we stopped counting by ones? No! Nor will we ever! Therefore the penny is more important to keep than the nickel! Lets get rid of quarters as well!
Keep the Penny!
Okay, Okay I get it.
Goodbye concrete monetary representative of the reality of ONE.
I, for one, will miss you.
No one says we will give up counting by ones. But, what about in terms of change? Without a penny how will we pay back the right amount of change? We will have to round up or down and I or the business might be getting short changed! If this keeps happening throughout my day It could add up to a whole dollar! (...if I actually use cash, which might be the whole point, it will be better not to use cash. Right?) Unless the businesses stop using 12346789 in all pricing matters. (sigh)
1) Money is not the only reason we count.
2) You still have to count the exact price, and then round it if you are paying cash.
So the worst case scenario is that kids will have to learn how to count, and how to round. Bit on average the amount paid will be exactly the same as we will round up as often as we round down.
If you get rid of the cent, you'll likely see immediate inflation. Businesses will round up to the nearest nickel. For example, gas will increase in 5-cent increments. At first, it doesn't sound like much, but what if you are paying an additiponal 2 or 3 cents on the dollar, for every item you purchase? That's an extra 2-3 percent inflation. Bad idea.
- Just when I was getting used to the idea!
But the others here are saying we will still be counting in 1's.
Q. So why would they round up? (Especially, if we only use electronic-based currency.)
A. We the people will be w i l l i n g to give up cash to "save money", in the end.
Jaxon does not indulge in conspiracy theories, though.
Well, if you're using electronic-based currency, this entire thread is a moot point, as you wouldn't have any money.
Businesses try to find any way to turn additional profit. They round up, because they can and because they are in the business of making money. Rounding up increases profits.
I agree with you and Kathryn Hill.
The penny is important.
Not even close to that.
First, retailers will be more likely to price to the nickel. Some might price up, but some might price down. Competition will still exist, so why would everyone price up if pricing down just a penny from where it was would give them an edge? If they don't price to the nickle, half of the time you'll round up, and half of the time you'll round down, so no difference.
Second, it's not 2-3 cents on every dollar. If you buy something for $25.13, and pay $25.15, that's only 7/100ths of 1% of an increase. If you buy $150 worth of groceries, it's only 1/100th of 1%.
To put that in perspective, even if you rounded every purchase up, and none were rounded down, it would be like someone who makes $45,000 having to spend an extra $5/year on stuff.
Which is a moot point because, as I have already mentioned, when the penny is abolished Swedish rounding is used. It goes up half the time and down half the time.
Yeah, I mentioned that in the second paragraph.
But hey, $144 million/year is nothing, nobody cares about that little amount of waste the government spends.
The problem is, the government has 50,000 programs that are all wasting millions of dollars a year. Each one, by itself, isn't such a big deal.
Some might price down? What company is going to price down when the competition is increasing profits? They all go up, and then somebody will go down a cent or two after going up. Think about it, when prices go up, how often do those prices go back down to the original price? There's always some "reason" for increased prices. Enter the cent, scapegoat of the moment.
Competition, do you know how it works?
If everyone is selling Gadget X for $50, and you sell it for $49.50, people are going to take advantage of that savings.
All this talk about how corporations are just looking to raise their prices is silly. They could raise their prices without getting rid of the penny, but they have to stay competitive.
I checked with my father, who was an accountant controller for a company called US Manufacturing. He completely and utterly agreed with your point of view, Jaxson. He said with inflation, it is ridiculous to use cents.
Actually, after polling boys and girls, women and men today... females had the hardest time accepting loosing the penny. In general, males were just fine with it...(in my little poll, anyway... I worked at a Jr. High so the age of kids were about 12--13. I asked three classrooms what they thought.)
Not to change the subject, and this is not just about the penny, but is related to the minting of all U.S. coins.
I just find it interesting; I didn't know that there was a particular law enforcement agency just for this--------
It costs 2.41 cents to mint a penny. We mint 6 billion of them a year.
Yeah, I read that too.
But can we think of it this way?---------Those pennies go into circulation and are spent, put back into the economy etc...........
So, even if "the government" loses money in minting that particular coin, at least it helps provide jobs for people (mint employees, zinc companie employees, etc.) and people get use out of pennies; and the "government" is supposed to be us anyway. So I'm inclined to think that minting pennies is a more productive than many other government jobs! lol. And I'd imagine some great minds can surely come up with a less costly minting process.
I dunno; just trying to sort some of it out....
Anyway, I'd really miss seein' old Abe's face every day! I'd much prefer to see his face and the other past Presidents' faces (notice I said past) instead of some European guy's face or "global leader" or whatever the hey image our "global" leaders might come up with.
The penny is a tradition. Other Nations may have one-cent coins, but our penny is uniquely American and is an American staple, a tried-and-true piece of still-useful history and commerce.
SAVE THE PENNY!!! hahaha
The same amount of money would circulate without it, it just wouldn't cost taxpayers an extra $144 million a year to mint them.
It's about damn time. I hate pennies. And so does James:
http://cinemassacre.com/2007/05/13/you- … episode-2/
We all know Brenda is only against it because Obama is in favour of it
At least cents are accepted at stores. Try spending any currency over a $20 now.
The local Subway broke my $50 bill just fine.
Too bad I was still stuck with a terrible sandwich.
Too bad you were forced to buy it and eat it.
And throw away a goddamn $6 sandwich? Screw that noise. It may have been a nasty-ass slab of stale bread and overcooked meat, but it was MY nasty-ass slab of stale bread and overcooked meat!
haha I like that.
By the way, our local Subway's been selling foot-longs for $5 for a long time; and they're not stale.
Pretty good really, except a sub, even with chips, never seems to fill me up. I guess I'm just more a real meat and potatoes person...........
For some reason, all the Subways around here really, really suck. If I could gain access to a car more regularly, I'd hit up Sheetz instead. $4 footlongs with better bread and better meat, AND it's more filling. AND I can order a cup of fries for $2 more.
Haven't heard of Sheetz.
Must not be in a lot of States.
Can you take the subway to Sheetz? (pun intended jokingly)
Actually, I kinda do think he might be in favor of it because it's gonna take a long long time for HIS face to be put on a coin, if ever. I looked up the schedule, and there are a huge number of candidates ahead of him; all the past Presidents and some ethnic leaders or icons, even First Ladies!
And yes I suppose I would balk at his face on a coin simply because I do consider him unAmerican in his policies and all; plus, he seems to want to take away anything that's traditional in this Country.
So still I say SAVE THE CENT!
Besides, they're emergency coins. When I'm out of change, I can usually go look under the couch cushions, in junk drawers, in the garage, in the basement by the washer, in the car, 'most anywhere and everywhere, and find those one-cent treasures!
Brenda: who do you prefer : the image of Grant on the 50 or Hamilton on the 10? which do you prefer, visually? I kinda like Hamilton.. but, he 's on just the ten. Maybe Franklin is starting to look more handsome to me...
I've never thought about it before.
But...visually....I guess prefer Grant's picture. He just has a very masculine strong-looking face. And strong name. Ulysses. Kinda uncommon and tough-sounding. Also, his initials U.S. are quite a coincidence, and also said by some to stand for "unconditional surrender", which is what he demanded of the opposition. Not that I necessarily believe in unconditional surrender during the Civil War, since it was between U.S. citizens and not another Nation, but the term is strong and bold.
I've heard that Hamilton was very charming and graceful. Great legs. Velvet jacket and lace trimmed sleeves. Men can't wear clothes like that any more and still be considered masculine can they?
Andrew Jackson would've outmanned Hamilton any day of the week. And then swallowed him whole. Before having a hearty breakfast.
ha. Eh...are you referring to the rumors that Hamilton may have been gay?
As far as your question......I think it's more like men simply don't wear clothes like that anymore very much if they aren't gay. Because those frills and all were symbols of authority (I think) or some kind of status in society more than anything else back then. Like the white wigs and robes that kings wore, and American lawmakers often wore, etc........even today Judges wear robes, etc., but it's not so prevalent. I suppose it's been replaced by the business suit in most areas of society. haha.
I do miss the not-so-distant days when comedians could dress and act like the opposite gender without it being a sign of homosexuality. And the days when so many men didn't wear an earring in one or both ears. And bright pink shirts. And let their daughters dye their (the fathers') hair pink and paint their toenails.
Until the turn of the 20th century, pink was the men's color and blue was the women's color. And then it mysteriously reversed.
(prove please. when I look at portraits of men of those days, they are very black. dark dark... never pink. Women in portraits were actually painted with pink in the lights and blue in the darks) men were underlaid with yellow in the highlights and red in the shadows.) with Impressionism anyway. Men should never wear pink. Hamilton wouldn't have.
No. He wasn't gay... (bi if anything.)
You don't like men wearing pink?
Not the flashy pink, no.
But hey if they wanna, that's their business.
A few men probably actually like the color and look good in it, and wear it for that reason or to show that they're not paranoid about being labeled a sissy or something. And it's not just the color that makes a man look manly or less manly; it's the other apparel he wears along with it that makes up the whole picture.
But a lot of men wear it these days to show their support for liberalism. Nope, I don't like that at all.
Well, what do you know... "Old Hickory" Jackson had this to say in 1832, July 10:
"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to suit their purposes."
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