Should the US dump the penny too?

Canada is phasing out the coin, saying it offers too little return. The US spent $120 million in 2011 to produce $50 million in pennies.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 5, 2013 12:25PM

Canadian pennies (Michael Fiala/Reuters)Canada is phasing out the penny, with the the Royal Canadian Mint on Monday halting distribution of pennies to banks and other financial institutions. 

That means that the supply of Canadian pennies will gradually decline and eventually go the way of the dodo. But why is our northern neighbor taking the step, and should the U.S. follow in its footsteps?

Canada's reasoning is partly financially driven: Each penny costs the country 1.6 pennies to make. But Shelly Glover, Parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, noted another couple of reasons in bidding farewell to the penny.

"They demand too much time, for too little return, of our small business owners," she said in a statement. Moreover, pennies "have sat idle for too long in forgotten penny jars and couch crevices."

That's something that most Americans can relate to. Who doesn't have a jar full of pennies sitting on a shelf? And who doesn't find their wallets bulging by the end of the month, since it seems too annoying and slow to count out cents when paying for items with cash? 

Getting rid of U.S. pennies isn't an unknown idea. There's actually a group called the Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny, which is advocating for the cent's demise within the 50 states. Their reasons are fairly similar to Canada's penny-wise logic. 

"According to the U.S. Mint's 2011 annual report, the current cost of a penny is 2.4 cents per coin," the group's website notes. The group says that the U.S. spent almost $120 million in 2011 to produce $50 million worth of pennies. Of course, that's a drop in the bucket compared with the U.S. government's $3.5 trillion in annual spending.

So how will Canada lose its cents? Canada says consumers will still be able to redeem their pennies at banks or other financial institutions. The government also hints that Canadians may want to donate the coins to charities. 

Even though the government will stop minting the coins, they'll still maintain their value, the country's department of finance said. But it'll be up to businesses whether they want to accept pennies, it added. 

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Feb 5, 2013 3:26PM
No, you don't need to get rid of the penny, just mint them every 5 to 10 years.  We all know they last for at least 50 years.  Do that for all coins not just pennies.

Feb 5, 2013 3:23PM
dump cash in general and go to all plastic....
Feb 5, 2013 3:22PM
Anytime your currency cost more to make then it is worth you should dump it! The rate D.C. is going we might as well start discussing when we dump the dollar!!!
Feb 5, 2013 3:20PM

We need three coins.  The dime, a 50 cent piece that is a little bigger than a nickel, and a dollar coin that is a little bigger than a quarter.


Confiscate all pennies, nickels, and quarters and melt them down.

Feb 5, 2013 3:20PM
Typical US Government manuver.  Spend a dime to save a penny....
Feb 5, 2013 3:20PM
My fear is if you drop then penny then it will all add up.  Instead of having a 6% or 7% tax on the items you buy in the store, it's going to be raised to a 10% tax to make the numbers all round out to either the nearest nickel or nearest dime.  Over the course of a year it will add up how much you're spending out of your pocket.  Either that or you're just just going to be S.O.L. and end up paying extra for something because you're paying with cash instead of plastic.
Feb 5, 2013 3:19PM
the only thing we do with a penney is placing it in are coin jar. then we way 4 pennies for every dollars at the coinstar machine, so what is the point of a penny, we treat it a a scrap of metal anyways
Feb 5, 2013 3:14PM

Pennys? Sure they cost money, but we use them.

How about all the money wasted on dollar coins that aren't even in circulation?

Feb 5, 2013 3:13PM
Should have dumped it a long time ago.  While the Federal Reserve is at it, please get rid of the $1 bill and redesign the $1 coin so stupid people don't complain about confusing it with a quarter.  We also need a $2 coin.  If somebody needs $1 bills they can buy them when they go into the strip club they frequent.
Feb 5, 2013 3:13PM
What would all the 99 cent stores do?
Feb 5, 2013 3:09PM
Dump the penny. Dump it. Dump it now.
Feb 5, 2013 3:09PM
drop the penny.  and while you're at it, drop the nickel as well
Feb 5, 2013 2:46PM
yes,yes,yes! It is so irritating to carry around all those pennies we receive in change from purchases, You can't buy anything with a penny anymore. I remember a time when you could, but those days are long gone and you are not fooling anybody with the $1.99 price versus just $2.00. Just make it $2.00 please,and make us penny free. about all you can do with a penny is save up a can or big jar full of them and cash them in at the coinstar machines. which in turn makes the government mint more pennies to make up for all the pennies being saved up. which costs us more than the penny we are saving on the price!!! Get a clue Government, Yes Indeed GET RID OF THE PENNY!!!!!
Feb 5, 2013 2:42PM
We should get rid of the penny and the nickel right now.  Just move to tenths of a dollar only and round everything to that.  Things cost ten times what they were when the penny was way more relevent anyway.
Feb 5, 2013 1:49PM
We could have the penny minted in China ,
Feb 5, 2013 1:25PM
Yes and get rid of that stupid 9/10 on the gas pumps. Why in the world do they price gas at 3.29 9/10, why not just 3.30?
Feb 5, 2013 1:22PM

I read somewhere, maybe a MSN article, that someone tried to pass a bill to get rid of the penny a while back, but the 'zinc lobby' prevented that from happening.  The penny is made primarily of zinc.  I'm starting to notice that whenever you hear about some change that should have happened a long time ago, usually the reason why it hasn't is due to some lobby's influence.


Seems like a lobby's needs is always more important than a country's needs or more important than progressing forward in a positive manner that should be expected from any sensible first world nation.

Feb 5, 2013 12:51PM
Canada also started producing plastic money. The $100, $50 and the $20 are all plastic. Advantages, less trees cut, they last longer, extremely hard to reproduce and if your wallet falls in water they are waterproof. The only disadvantage I can find is when counting money they are stickier!
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