i heard this morning on NPR that due to the current cost of copper it costs the U.S. mint (really costs the american tax payer - you & me) almost two cents ($0.017) to create the penny.
once again this has sparked discussion about eliminating the penny altogether. the U.S. mint has already drastically reduced the amount of copper that goes into producing the penny. pick up a penny created in 2008 & one created a few years ago & you'll notice that the 2008 penny is much lighter & thinner than the previous generation of pennies that were manufactured. in fact, the existing penny is only copper plated & the percentage of copper used is only 2.5% & it still costs more to create the penny than it is actually worth.
i for one would be a BIG fan of seeing the penny disappear. i've felt this way ever since my first trip to australia 8 years ago. items that you purchase still ring up in pennies but this is where rounding comes into play. if an item rings up as a $1.77 - you pay a $1.75 & if an item rings up as a $1.78 you pay a $1.80. doesn't it just frustrate the crap out of you when something rings up for a $1.71 & you know that when you hand that cashier a $1.75 you are going to get back 4 dirty old pennies?
i can't stand carrying coins - let alone nasty corroded copper plated pennies. outside of items ringing up for values not easily divisible by 5 what good is the penny? can anyone name something that you can buy with a single penny?
i just don't get the fascination folks have with the penny. is it some significant artifact in U.S. history that we really need to hold on too?