President Obama Thinks That It Is Time To Retire the Penny

USD Penny - IllustrationIn the summer of 2012, Canada announced their intention to start phasing out their penny.

The move was seen as a no-brainer by all of the major parties that make up the political landscape in Canada. Ditching the penny will reportedly save Canadian taxpayers $11 million per year.

The move to abolish the penny in Canada has gone fairly smoothly so far. The change only applies to cash transactions, and there is a simple formula of determining whether a transaction should be rounded up or rounded down. For instance, if a purchase comes to $7.98 and the customer is paying by cash, the transaction price will be rounded up to $8.00. If a purchase comes to $1.22 and the customer is paying by cash, the transaction price will be rounded down to $1.20. A purchase for $1.23 or $1.24 would be rounded up to $1.25, while a purchase for $1.26 or $1.27 would be rounded down to $1.25.

Canada has joined Australia, New Zealand and others as countries who have ditched the penny.


The question was recently posed to President Obama during an online Q&A - why hasn't the United States ditched the penny yet?

Here was his response:

"I gotta tell you, John, I don't know. Anytime we're spending money on something people don't actually use, that's an example of things we should probably change."

According to, the current cost of minting a US penny is roughly 2.4 cents per coin. In 2011, the United States "spent almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency." also notes that the Department of Defense scrapped the use of pennies at their overseas military bases over 30 years ago, citing the fact that the pennies were "too heavy and not cost-effective to ship."


The main reason that I hear for preserving the US penny - Abraham Lincoln, and the fact that the US penny is a memorial to the nation's 16th President.

Proponents of scrapping the penny will point out that Abraham Lincoln's face is also on the $5 bill, and that ditching the penny wouldn't do anything to lessen Lincoln's memorial.


What do you think? Ditch the penny or keep it?

Source: Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny

Filed under: General Knowledge

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