Protecting pennies makes cents

Shannon Keyser

Recently, opposition has been growing in America against something that has been around since 1787: the penny. Yes, this little, brown, seemingly insignificant coin has been the subject of much debate across the nation. More and more support is growing to get rid of it. Entire websites have been developed with the goal of eradicating the penny. Yet despite all of their effort, these people are wrong. The penny contributes a whole lot more to society than many people realize.

One of the biggest opposition points is that the penny is more expensive to make than it is worth. That is true: it takes 1.7 cents to create a one cent penny. However, the nickel costs about 8 cents to manufacture when it is really worth 5. These manufacturing costs are almost the same when both are divided out. If these “penny-eradicators” want to save money economically, then shouldn’t they be more worried about the nickel than the penny? If our nation does get rid of the penny, the government will have to start making even more nickels, thus making the manufacturing cost even more expensive.

Then there is the matter of logic. If the United States get rid of the penny, the only digits in the hundredths place could be a 0 or a 5. This on its own does not seem to be that big of a deal, but it actually affects the economy in a severe way. In looking at price tags in stores, it hardly ever reads a as a multiple of five. Oftentimes it says $0.99, $0.98, or something similar to that. If the penny is scrapped, then these prices are most likely going to rise without the actual value of the product changing. This is known as inflation and is bad for the economy. Why? Perhaps one day a dollar could buy a pack of pencils, but then a month later, that dollar would not be enough to purchase the same thing. This means that more physical money is required to get the exact same thing. While anti-penny activists argue that stores would simply round their prices down without the penny, it not as simple as they want it to be. How would it benefit a store to round down instead of up? Rounding up will bring in more money, even if it is only a few cents at a time. Over time, it adds up to a lot of money for the company even if it’s at the expense of the consumer.

Pennies are also an important source of income for charities. From the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to the Salvation Army, millions of dollars in pennies has been collected. In an odd way, it’s because of the penny’s low value that this is possible. For many people, it’s easy to drop a penny into a box since they won’t miss it very much. These charities even credit the penny as a large source of income. If the penny was gotten rid of, this large asset would be lost. Anti-penny activists say that people could just donate nickels instead since they will be the next lowest value coin. Right there is what contributes to inflation. The value of the nickel would quickly become the value of the penny, and the country would be right back to where it was before they got rid of penny.

Then there is the fact that the penny has sentimental value to most people. The penny has been around for several centuries. The penny is home to one of the most famous and influential presidents, Abraham Lincoln. There are a multitude of expressions revolving around this coin such as “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “a penny for your thoughts”. While sentimental value may not be considered one of the strongest arguments, sentimentality is a powerful force in most people’s lives. People observe holidays, make memorials, and help friends out of sentiment. If society deny their feelings and try to make these decisions completely by logic, a lot of our personalities and characteristics are lost. Similarly, if society denies the penny, then its special place in history fades into the background.

The penny is an important part of our currency and is far from “worthless”, despite what the anti-penny people say. It has served the United States well, and getting rid of it now won’t solve any major problems. We must keep the penny!