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The Trickle - Pennies

August 3, 2012 - Brian Ferry
I don't especially like pennies. Money in general, I appreciate. Pennies, not so much. I realize pennies add up. I'd love to have 100,000,000 pennies. I'd much rather have a paper equivalent or even a bank willing to tell me I had access to the equivalent of 100,000,000 pennies. I'm not going to go Jed Clampett on them and ask to see my pennies (or my dollars), but it'd be nice to be able to buy something that costs the equivalent of 10,000,000 pennies and have most of $1 million left over. No, I just don't like pennies. I'm not alone. I'm pretty sure the IRS gave up on pennies years ago. If they didn't, I suppose I'll be getting a visit soon. I can't really buy anything with a penny, but I get them all the time. I'd like to tell the U.S. Mint they don't have to make my portion of pennies ever again and can pocket the savings. According to my research (which was pretty cursory) it cost the mint about 2.4 cents to make a penny in 2012. In 2011 (I don't have 2012 data on that one), the mint made about 4.9 billion new pennies (why so many?). So, my portion of the penny minting operation this year is, what, 35 cents? The only problem I see is that it would be easy for retail operations to decide to raise their prices a little to make sure I don't need those pennies. The "99 cent menu" (something with which I am familiar) could stay, but the dollar menu would have to adjust - probably to the "dollar-four ($1.04) menu" in Pennsylvania. I hear it costs over 11 cents to make a new nickel and that we had close to 1 billion new ones last year. Three of those are mine, but instead of saving my 33 cents, I recommend they make nickels out of something cheaper. I don't hate nickels.


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