Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: Time for U.S. to stop making pennies’

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Published: Thursday, June 16 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

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a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

Ron England should have sold his 1,000,000 pennies to the U.S. Mint. Since it would cost them $10,700 to make a million pennies, it should have been willing to pay him at least $10,000 for them.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

With inflation making the penny worthless and the system converting more and more to the plastic and digital- pennies have become obsolete and too costly.

Herriman, UT

Definitely time, we just need to commit another coin for Lincoln (to appease Illinois) and then drop the thing.

Farmington, UT

What all of you are missing is that today's market does indeed use the concept of "cents" and using nickels or dimes would indeed have dire effects.

Have you ever wondered why gasoline is priced at "whatever-point nine cents"? It's because of "taxes" by the state and feds; one is .5 cents and the other is .4 cents so it equates to .9 cents and isn't thought of being a full cent, so it's more acceptable. In $100 worth of fuel, there's precious little difference in quantity or cost. So give the Government (state and federal) their due, they messed this up years ago.

But what do you think would be the effect in marketing products if stating something cost $100 as opposed to $99.99? Face it, we all love to think we're saving big bucks when it's just a penny. Look at electronic gadgets, car prices, clothing, etc and this practice of using 9's is universal. And if you use the USPS very often a few cents difference on postage adds up in a hurry.

So be careful what you wish for; better to have one upset guy pay with pennies than to eliminate them altogether.

Beaverton, OR

Time to live in fives and zeros at the end of a price. Makes it much easier to count. This also means that communities across the nation will have to change their taxes to reflect the no cents matter.

Salt Lake City, UT

I agree, pennies are too impractical to have any real value for individuals, which is why the banking industry will never let us get rid of them.

Farmington, UT

With respect to Mr. England, saving a "million pennies" on a bet, or for whatever reason, is a bit eccentric and the monetary system used by millions of persons every day is not designed to accomodate eccentric behavior. That type of behavior is its own reward, as recently observed in the Vernal incident.

Businesses who use the US mail thousands of times a month will suffer by the elimination of cents (pennies), whether you're talking about letters, packages, etc as rates would increase, not drop.

Does anyone seriously think that taxing entities won't "round up" the tax bill? Just look at the amount of sales tax you pay and see how many times it equals 5 or 10 cents at the end (total) and decided how much more you'll be paying. Intsead of a 99 cent item, with a 7% sales tax being $1.06, it would change to $1 plus 10 cents, and you'd pay $1.10. One purchase a month, no big deal; but what about all the purchases over a year's time.....?

Use pennies the way thay were intended to be used and it works.

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

correction repost

Sorry to burst the bubble you live inside Jay Evensen, Deseret News, you may have some DNA in you off of Ron Paul, wanting to just get back to Utah making its own money, and start up the gold and silver standard, but I strongly disagree with you on this one, NOT only will it by eliminating the penny would drive up prices. Merchants would simply round up the cost of items. It distroys everything America is all about. NEVER get rid of them. Get rid of the people that want to.

Two Cents
Springville, Utah

It does seem ridiculous to spend 1.7 cents to manufacture a penny. More and more, pennies do appear to be a throwaway coin--whether in a fountain, on a convenience store counter or whatever.

Perhaps the Mint should go one or two years without making any new pennies and see if we miss them. There are always plenty/too many in circulation.

Floyd Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK

The penny should be eliminated and we should move to $1 coins. Eliminating the penny would in no way alter current pricing strategies. Fuel is already priced at intervals smaller than a penny, and that practice would continue. Stores could not establish pricing strategies that would overcome a simple requirement of providing change to the nearest nickle. Any attempt to do so would be negated by multiple items purchased and the addition of sales tax. As far as the dollar goes, a quick internet search will show the anticipated savings by reprinting paper dollars, and the logic becomes vividly clear. Give up pennies and paper dollars America, Australia did it decades ago with no problems, and we can too.

Murray, UT

I have a 3 foot high plastic coke bottle (piggy bank) filled to the brim with nothing but pennies. It took over 20 years to fill up and weighs about 80 pounds. Anyone have a clue how many pennies that is? Because I have no idea. As for cashing them in, I think it makes a much better decorative piece.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's just eliminate all coins... everything costs an even dollar amount. No $0.99 or $1.50. No more making change from the register and no need for a coin purse or coin pocket. No coins lost in the couch.

It's a stupid idea.. even for the penny. I vote to keep it!

Joe Moe
Logan, UT

toosmartforyou, you have not convinced me. For one, not every item would have to be rounded to the nearest five cents. Just the total. If this seems strange, we should remember your own example, gasoline. It is always priced at tenths of a penny, but no one ever pays a fraction of a cent. Also, sales taxes are rounded every day, from the total. Rounding total transactions to the nearset nickel would not upset our economy, nor change any individuals's budget, I am sure. Also note: depending on how the law is ultimately written, elimination of the penny would only affect CASH transactions. What percent of our transactions are made with cash these days?

On the flip side, I think too much is made of the cost of making a penny. Each penny is used in thousands of transactions (I'm guessing). So it's productuon cost should be weighed against it's functional value, not just material value. I just think the functional value is not just nil, but negative.

South Jordan, UT

Get rid of the penny, but don't change prices.
Pay by credit card or check, and you can pay to the cent.
Pay by cash, and when the total is computed, round up/down.

Don't round up every line item, just the total.
No need to change any prices.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

I don't want to see prices climb if we eliminate the penny. Retailers won't round $.99 down to $.90, they'll round up to $100. This would be bad for all of us.

How did cash only gasoline work years ago? The $.009 value leaves some sort of remainder, did they round up or down to get to the nearest cent? I'm sure the practice still continues since my debit card only works on full cent amounts.

Lehi, UT

@Naruto - Instead of cashing in those pennies, you'd probably get more money if you took them to a metal recycling center. Granted the recycling center probably wouldn't take them since melting them down would be considered a felony, but my guess is that if it were legal, they'd pay you more for it than the bank.

European countries dealt with similar issues to this for years before the Euro was adopted. In Italy, when they used the Lira, they had small coins like the 30 Lire, and the 50 Lire coins. But you would still get register totals of like 2310 Lire, but they would usually just round down or up if it was closer to the next increment for which they actually had a coin. I think we could loose the penny with minimal impact to the economy. I know $99.99 sounds better, but realistically consumers understand the difference.

Spanish Fork, UT

I noticed that in Europe the price is still in cents, even though the value of the smallest coin is 5 cents. At the end of the transaction, the amount is correctly rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 cents. Problem solved and nobody has to bother with cents any more.

Rutland vs. Medfield
Seattle, Wa

I do disagree with several of the posters here and also think we should get rid of the penny.

While stationed in Berlin in the early 1990's, the Base Exchange/Post Exchange shopping centers and all other vendors--including the fast food vendors--did not allow the use of pennies in financial transactions.

It was wonderful. It was always easier to find a nickel or a dime needed in your pocket when paying cash for a soda at the shopette. And, it didn't really effect the price of goods all that much. The $9.99 item wasn't rounded up to $10--it was listed at $9.95.

The U.S. should retire the penny.


Having no pennies is simple in practice.

I lived in Australia and it is extremely easy to adjust to it. All prices are still down to the cent and the final purchase price is given as normal. The only difference is, you get a nickel or nothing in change.

It takes about 10 seconds to get the concept down and live with it.

It's simply absurd to assume (as VST does) that we would give up the entire decimal system of money simply because we eliminate one coin.

Just my $0.02 (which would be $0.00 in change if we get rid of that little nuisance of a coin!)

Burley, ID


If the pennies were produced after 1982 it takes about 181 pennies to make a pound.

If the pennies were produced before 1983, it takes roughly 146 pennies. However, there is one caveat. The Pennsylvania mint made the switch from copper to zinc during 1982, so some of their pennies from that year are copper and others are copper coated zinc slugs.

Without a coin counter, determining exactly how much money you have isn't going to be easy. However, there are inexpensive devices which can help you separate the copper pennies from the zinc.

My advice? Keep the copper ones and return (or start spending) the zinc ones to your bank. If you have an account with them, most banks will offer to count your coins for free if you'll be depositing them.

One word of caution, currently it is against the law to melt the coins down and sell the copper. Metal salvage yards are prohibited by Federal law from accepting U.S. copper pennies for recycling.

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