Eliminate the Penny to Boost the Economy


Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States

Goal: Urge President Obama to retire the penny (one cent piece) to increase economic productivity

The penny is draining millions of dollars from the United States’ economy and contributing to higher taxes. According to the US Mint’s 2011 annual report the current cost of minting pennies is 2.4 cents per coin. An estimated 5 billion pennies were minted in 2011, costing the US almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency.

Not only is the penny costing the US Mint double its worth to produce, but the National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailers reports that searching for and handling pennies adds roughly two seconds to every transaction at a cost of some $300 million each year. The time it takes customers and cashiers to sort pennies is inconvenient, wasting businesses’ and consumers’ time and money. Eliminating pennies will increase economic productivity by cutting the cost of minting and reducing the time burden associated with their use–reasons why Canada eliminated its own one cent piece in 2012.

Greg Mankiw, Chairman of Economics at Harvard University, put it best: “When people start leaving a monetary unit at the cash register for the next customer, the unit is too small to be useful. It is just wasting the people’s time–the economy’s most valuable resource.” Urge President Obama to eliminate the penny in order to increase economic productivity.


Dear President Obama,

It is time to take a progressive step and eliminate the penny from American currency. The one cent piece is costing the nation both in time and money and is not worth keeping in circulation. According to the US Mint’s 2011 annual report, the current cost minting pennies is 2.4 cents per coin. In 2011 it cost almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency.

The penny is holding the United States back from economic progress by charging taxpayers for the production of a coin that is economically unsound. Eliminating the one cent piece would increase economic productivity by reducing transaction times for consumers and cashiers, saving them from having to constantly search for, count and hand pennies.

While there are people opposed to eliminating the penny, opposition is largely rooted in self-interest such as lobbying groups backed by the very manufacturers whose zinc is used to produce the coin. Keeping the penny in circulation is a frivolous use of the nation’s limited resources. I urge you to consider how burdensome the penny truly is–separate from its historical value–and to retire it once and for all.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bobby131313 via Wikipedia

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One Comment

  1. Wow. Just wow. The president has absolutely no authority to do this.

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