In recent years, there has been a growing movement to “retire” the penny or take it out of circulation. This movement has been countered by people passionate about preserving the penny. There are compelling reasons to eliminate the penny and to preserve it. What do you think?




According to the U.S. Mint, it costs 2.4 cents to produce one penny. In other words, the cost of making a penny is more than double its value. Since the United States Mint produced $50 million worth of pennies in 2010 at a cost of $120 million dollars, $70 million was wasted.


Advocates of “retiring” the penny claim the coin is obsolete and virtually worthless. Nothing can realistically be bought for a penny anymore. In addition, simply handling pennies reduces the efficiency of the United States economy. Studies have shown that handling pennies adds at least two seconds to transactions at convenience and department stores. With over 107 billion cash transactions that occur in the United States per year, handling pennies wastes 120 million work hours per year, costing the economy over two billion dollars.




Supporters of the penny believe its elimination would cause prices to rise as the prices of items would be rounded up to the nearest nickel (which, incidentally, costs eight cents to produce). Poor people, who tend to make smaller purchases, and who are more likely to use pennies would suffer the most. Penny supporters also believe that organizations that rely on pennies as charity would be adversely affected. Many people who give money to organizations do so in the form of jars of pennies. Finally, the penny honors Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most cherished figure in American history (although Lincoln is also on the United States five dollar bill).