Jay Evensen: Time for U.S. to stop making pennies

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  • slacquin Nicholasville, KY
    May 4, 2012 11:05 a.m.

    God loves the Penny I'm sure if you take those un-respected pennies to the religious entity of your choice and give them as offering, that deed will go un- punished an have an everlasting effect on the world. but don't stop there get busy an work for your Lord ( insert designation here).Oh Man!

  • Nadine NEWBURY, NH
    July 26, 2011 1:39 p.m.

    Please Help
    I started a petition to abolish the penny (1 penny costs 1.7 pennies to make losing americans 48 Million dollars a year) and I need support. I am trying to get ten million people to sign. Will you sign and spread the word? :) Thank you for your time!

    at the website
    change . org

    Search Stop the Production of Useless pennies to find it

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    June 19, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    I agree with Paul in MD

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    June 19, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    I say we should get rid of the paper money and go totaly coin. This would disrupt the drug trade and counterfeiters. Coins last longer than paper. As for the penny, just make it from plastic with a metal(copper) foil inside.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    June 17, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    Another alternative is to change the content of the coin to make it more economically feasible. It may require changing the impression on it, but it could be done.

    The Japanese 1 yen coin is 100% aluminum, and has been for quite some time. I don't know exactly what it costs to mint.

    We need to consider another factor in evaluating the cost of minting money - the lifespan. Coins last for decades - I have a few that are over 100 years old. I think the average lifespan of a penny is about 50 years. A dollar bill, on the other hand, has a life expectancy of 21 months. Old worn-out paper money is pulled, burned and replaced with newly minted bills.

    Look at the dollar. To keep the cost of a dollar bill at or below $1 for 50 years of service, it would have to cost 3.5 cents or less to print a dollar bill. I think the cost right now is over 6 cents per bill.

    So, when to we move to aluminum pennies and dollar coins?

  • alanamerican SLC, UT
    June 17, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    Having served overseas frequently for the military, I came to value pennies. We didn't have one penny to spend. I got to thinking about this. Then I realized there was a reason we didn't have any. We weren't being taxed. NO TAXES on our purchases. Then I realized that pennies are worth their weight in gold. Let the government do away with pennies and then instead of 6 percent taxes on purchases it will be rounded up to the nearest nickle. That is in effect an increase of at least four per cent. Yes, let's raise taxes and do away with pennies, we don't pay enough as it is.

  • J.East OGDEN, UT
    June 17, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    I agree with eliminating the penny. I think that the problems lies with the fact that they think it would take too much time and effort to re-design all systems and pricing of items to support eliminating the penny. When items are priced and tax added they would have to ensure that they are rounded to a 5th or 10th. this requires new programming for all pricing in any store and for taxes.

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    June 17, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    When I go to Walmart and wait in the checkout line I see customer after customer using a card. I use a card. I don't see what the fuss is all about.

    But I do agree that the life of the generic penny has come to an end. When they are discontinued those who still have them will be able to sort through them and find the ones that will now be collector's items for numismatists.

  • tinahons Trenton, UT
    June 17, 2011 7:01 a.m.

    I LIKE pennies:) I for one do NOT want to get rid of them, ever. some things are worth the cost:)

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 17, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    I happen to like pennies.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    June 17, 2011 4:08 a.m.

    Elevate Mr. Lincoln to the five cent peice and put Mr. Obama on the penny...the zinc one. His first shovel ready job could be to dig up some more copper here in Utah. Look at the jobs it would give to Utah miners and we could put Mr. Bush on the new copper penny which could be a new one and one half cent penny.

  • DDH Adelaide, South Australia
    June 16, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    "Pennies," or rather one cent pieces were taken out of circulation here in Australia in 1992. Though, they still remain legal tender. What was collected were melted down and used to make the bronze medals for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    June 16, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    The problem is that liberal policies have made our money worth less and less. The nickel in a nickel is now worth more than a nickel so this can cause coins to be melted down. We have a very serious problem with our economy. The government does not care. The only solution is to clean house in Washington. Replace everyone with people who love their country. Find people who will cut government spending and totally cut many government programs. When the dollar is worth more, the penny will be worth more.

  • Brian Wasilla, AK
    June 16, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    If they gave you a mountain of pennies you couldn't make a decent living just counting and wrapping them and your fingers would smell terrible.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:09 p.m.

    Sounds like a good idea as our dollar is going to be worth a penny soon...

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    June 16, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    I had a high school teacher buy a 1969 VW Bug used from a dealership for 400 dollars back in 1984 he went there said he was paying in cash he had a ton of pennies all rolled for them 800 rolls totaling 400 dollars and he dollars for sales tax. the dealership refused the pennies he ask for them to put in writing on their letter head. he went to the federal building and made a stop at the trssury dept with the letter. know what happened a tressurey office went to the dealership confiscaed the car gave it to the teacher and fined the dealship 10,000 US Dollars for refusal of the pennies.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    June 16, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Why not get rid of all currency in favor of debit cards?

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    June 16, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    @ Floyd Johnson,

    Just what I need, a pocket full of heavy coins instead of the same number of thin, lightweight sheets of paper in my wallet.

    BTW, we've already had dollar coins and most people reject using them, for the obvious reasons.

    Dump the penny if we need to, but keep the bills.

  • Jeremy Parker Petersburg, Alaska
    June 16, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    The pennies circulate for so long that the cost of manufacture is minuscule. Amortized over the number of transactions it is almost not measurable. In contrast credit card transaction fees are much greater than a penny and occur at every transaction. The penny is not so great a nuisance as you only ever need four to make proper change. Is that such a burden? If so then cast yours aside for others who still value them (I do). Prices go up fast and come down slow. The last thing we need is Richard Prior (Superman reference) skimming pennies to enrich himself. Are we so prosperous that we don't mind rounding everything up? Perhaps this article says more about the author than society.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    I say you are wrong, toosmartforyou | 10:34 a.m. June 16, 2011.

    The .9 cents is purely marketing, just like buying something for $3.99 sounds like a better deal than pay a whole $4.00.

    You only THINK you're too smart for me or anyone else.

    I'm sure the country will not fall apart and go bankrupt when we eliminate the penny.

  • T A Bountiful, UT
    June 16, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    Make them from plastic.

  • PRoss Boise, Id
    June 16, 2011 4:30 p.m.

    Maybe we should not be so confined and wanting to do away with such a part of our past. Perhaps we can do as the British did and revalue our currency. After all it is fiat. Take us back down to where a penny is actually worth something rather than just dispense with it.

  • Mother of 4 Midvale, UT
    June 16, 2011 4:03 p.m.

    I have mixed feelings for the penny, but it is frustrating when you go somewhere and use the vending that they don't take pennies. But when I moved to River Falls, WI 6 years ago I was shocked that the downtown parking meters took pennies. You got 12 min for 1 penny. It was great I could put in 5 pennies and be back to my car before the time expired. It was a great way to use pennies. That is the only place I have ever seen it!

  • crackerjack Provo, UT
    June 16, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    No way the politcos will raise the sales tax in nickel increments then...KEEP them coming

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    June 16, 2011 1:49 p.m.


    I'm glad someone here is a numismatic! I don't think most Americans realize that that the penny is no longer 100% copper, even though the new pennies are lighter, sound different when dropped, and oxidize differently.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    "Retailers won't round $.99 down to $.90, they'll round up to $100. This would be bad for all of us."

    If a one cent change matters for you (by the way it'd be "down to .95" since nickels exist) then you probably have some major financial problems.

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    June 16, 2011 12:27 p.m.


    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.

    June 16, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    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!)

  • Rutland vs. Medfield Seattle, Wa
    June 16, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    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.

  • ipr Spanish Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    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.

  • Shawnm750 Lehi, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    @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.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    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.

  • offenderforaword South Jordan, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    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.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    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.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    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!

  • Naruto Murray, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    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.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    June 16, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    June 16, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    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.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    June 16, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    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.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    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.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    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.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    June 16, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    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.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:23 a.m.

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

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    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.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    June 16, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    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.