By Bradley Jager
The story of the United States penny starts when it was first introduced in 1793 and it has been terrorizing this nation ever since. Economics Professor at Harvard University Robert M. Beren said, “The purpose of the monetary system is to facilitate exchange, but the penny no longer serves that purpose.” According to the United States Mint 2018 Annual Report, it costs nearly $0.02 for every penny minted. This means that there are $85 million annual losses from just making this coin. That’s the price we pay for making them.
Another major disadvantage of the penny is the waste of time it brings with it. Remember a time you were in a hurry at the store and some lady was paying for something with exact change, wasting your time, the cashier’s time and causing you to be late? Fiascos like this happen all over the country, wasting “120 million hours of time per year in cash transactions,” according to Walgreens and the National Association of Convenience Stores. Think of everything that could be done with 120 million HOURS. That’s 13,000 years of people’s time wasted. Taking the average working income, that’s $426,179,637 dollars in opportunity cost, all thanks to people paying with pennies and taking their sweet time.
We need to retire the penny because it clearly wastes time and money. The penny no longer serves its purpose, not to mention, thanks to inflation, the penny is getting more and more worthless with time.
So how would we retire it? First of the US mint would stop making new pennies, and stores would round prices to the nearest fifth. Stores would send any penny they get off to get refunded slowly, taking the copper menace out of our economy.
Please write to your elected officials and help fight to save our time and our money.