If Pennies Cost More than 2 Cents to Make, Why Do We Still Use Them?

Saturday, April 07, 2012
Even the U.S. penny has a lobby, which helps explain why the costly currency is still around.
Some people in Washington want to do away with the one-cent coin, due to its costs of manufacturing. For every penny produced by the U.S. Mint, the government spends 2.4 cents to do so.
Canada recently decided to stop making its pennies because it was too expensive. Former Congressman Jim Kolbe thinks the U.S. should do the same thing.
“The penny has no functional use and is costing the country the country tens of millions a year to make,” Kolbe told Politico. “Doing away with it doesn’t raise taxes and it doesn’t eliminate services. That’s a good deal.”
But some special interests don’t want the penny to go away. This includes Jarden Zinc of Greeneville, Tennessee, which has spent $140,000 on lobbying to convince policymakers that the country still needs its penny.
Last year alone Jarden Zinc received $48 million in federal contracts to provide zinc (the primary metal in pennies) and other coin-related services. The company is a subsidiary of the New-York-based Jarden Corporation.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
The Big Bucks Backing Small Change (by Russ Choma, OpenSecrets.org)

U.S. Mint Halts Presidential Commemorative Coins…No Chester A. Arthur (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


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