Stop Throwing Away Taxpayer Dollars on the Penny

Target: Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury

Goal: Stop wasting taxpayer dollars and time minting pennies.

Perhaps no government action today is quite as blatantly futile and wasteful as the continued production of one cent coins. While this appears at first to be a small issue, the cost of making a penny is nearly twice its final value, amounting to millions of dollars wasted annually generating tokens of essentially worthless value. The environmental impact of mining zinc and copper to smelt and mold is not negligible either.

A half cent piece was minted and in circulation earlier in U.S. history, but was discontinued in 1857 for being worth too little at a time when it had purchasing power of approximately 14 cents. The modern penny is worth so little that the average American earns a penny in just over a second, meaning it wastes consumers’ time as well. If the average American wastes just one second every week dealing with pennies, that amounts to over 4 million hours wasted annually dealing with a virtually worthless token.

Progressive countries such as Sweden have successfully switched to entirely virtual currency systems without coins or bills. There is absolutely no excuse for America to continue to waste peoples’ time and taxpayer dollars on this exercise in futility. Please sign the petition below to let the government know that not another dollar should be wasted so pointlessly while a single person has to go without food or shelter, and certainly not when the same government is 19 trillion dollars in debt.


Dear Secretary Lew,

While not the largest issue facing the American government, the issue of waste from continued minting of the penny is one of the most clear-cut. The cost to make a penny is nearly double the value after production, and the amount of time it takes consumers to deal with pennies is worth more than the tokens themselves. Countries such as Sweden have been successful eliminating cash entirely; there is absolutely no excuse for the U.S. to continue throwing away several million dollars annually minting coins at a loss.

The environmental damage done by zinc and copper mining and smelting could be forgivable if it were done with a worthy cause. As it stands, this is an unacceptably pointless endeavor kept alive only by a stagnant legislature incapable of accomplishing even the most straightforward of tasks.

I am urging you to push for the elimination of this small but senseless waste of resources, both fiscal and natural. Show the American taxpayers that their money is not going to be entirely squandered, and use the savings to build a school and feed the homeless. There is no excuse for a government 19 trillion dollars in debt to do otherwise.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Roman Boed

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309 Signatures

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