To Keep Or not to Keep: the Penny

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In recent years, a debate on whether or not America should keep the penny has arisen. Numerous Americans are in favor of keeping it due to sentimental value, while others say it is just too costly. There are multiple upsides as well as downsides to America discontinuing minting the penny. Overall, continuing the use and manufacturing of pennies would be ineffective for the United States economy.

One of the biggest claims for people in opposition to keeping the penny is that pennies cost more to make than their actual face value. In the U.S. Mint’s Annual Report, it stated that a penny costs 1.82 cents to make, which is over half of its face value. (US Mint 9). The report also showed that penny shipments increased from 55.9 percent in 2016 to 59.9 percent in 2017 (US Mint 9). This means that America is also spending more money on shipping pennies along with minting them. All things considered, the penny is costing America more money than what they are getting out of it.

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Another reason that the anti-penny community gives is that they are damaging the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, zinc ores contain only 3% to 11% metallic zinc (EPA 1). This means that pennies are barely made up of actual copper, rather toxic metals like cadmium and lead. These type of minerals in large amounts are harmful to both plant, animal, and human life. Pennies also waste multiple natural resources when produced due to the copper and zinc which releases sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere (Treehugger). With all of these combined aspects, it is making the air we breathe less sanitary and safe.

Many people are under the impression that pennies will cause stores to round prices up, which in turn would cause them to spend more money. This, however, just isn’t the case. A study done by the Eastern Economic Journal found that discontinuing the use of the penny will not cause a rounding tax (Econ Papers). An economic scientist, Bob Hirshon says the time saved by eliminating pennies could add up to 300 million dollars a year, this will cancel out any rounding up overall (Science NetLinks). The takeaway from this is that the argument of no pennies would cause up rounding up is obsolete.

It is apparent that throughout the multiple arguments for and against the penny, it is simply better to get rid of the penny. Pennies are too costly for the American economy to handle due to current debt. They don’t help our environment either, which is already in a rough and damaged state. Consumers also don’t need to worry about price rounding and may even profit more with discontinuing the penny. Discontinuing the penny matters because if the minting of it continues, the American economy will be negatively affected. With everything considered, the penny should be forgotten. 

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