The second death of Lincoln


Philip Ruch

When was the last time you saw something that only cost one cent? For most it’s been years if ever so why do we still use pennies? With a coin shortage on our hands and electronic banking on the rise maybe something will budge. Since the signing of the declaration of independence in 1776 our country has changed a lot in politics, technology and in this case economically. One of those major changes being the price of goods. Gone are the days of 9 cent loaves of bread and 20 cent gallons of gas. Instead of minimum wage being $0.75 an hour it is more like $11.00 an hour. Times have changed. Maybe it is time for our money to change too. 

For starters, let’s look at the cost of money. It sounds weird to say but money costs money or it costs money to make. In a fiscally responsible world you would money would be worth more than it cost to make but that is not always the case. When it comes to the cost of producing pennies each cent that is made costs 1.99 cents to make. The Denver mint has made 4.98 million dollars worth of pennies which cost the U.S. Government 9.901 million dollars. That is a lot of money. The idea of removing the smallest money value is not a novel concept. Countries like Australia and Brazil have both removed their smallest cent values and saw little to no economic change. The lost cent here was almost alway made up there. The governments ended up spending on money printing and they have the same number of U.S. presidents on their bills. 

Believe it or not people value their money. Most people spend their whole lives trying to accumulate more which makes a lot of sense. One might assume that pennies would not be any different because pennies are in fact money, but I found that to not be the case when it came to the old copperhead. I decided to test just how desperate High schoolers were for money. I know gas is not cheap and a lot of students don’t have jobs, so I placed 10 pennies in various places around the school in areas that were noticeable but not walked on or cleaned as much as they could or should be. After 1 week 5 out of the 10 pennies remained in the same place they were left. High school kids did not see any value in picking up the Money that was left lying about.  More often than not, when following the life of a penny it ends up in a console, jar or on the ground. When asked about pennies Joanne, a mother of 3 and grocery truste said “When I am given pennies It never gets used. I don’t use cash very often and so change is almost not thought about.” And it is not just the customers who are not the biggest fans either. Big clunky change drawers are a hassle, Sydney a waitress at 3 Sons said “ people almost never pay with pennies and what they do I don’t appreciate it too much.” If both customers and vendors share the same opinion then the question might not be “Why not?” but instead “when?”. 

So are you interested in changing change?