Four More Reasons The U.S. Won't Get Rid Of The Penny Anytime Soon
In case you didn't hear about it, the Canadian government last week decided to stop minting new pennies. The government says it will save $11 million a year by not manufacturing any more of the coins and instead having businesses round prices to the nearest five cents.
This story by Karen Weise in Bloomberg Businessweek explains some, but not all, of the reasons the U.S. won't soon follow the Canadians and do away with its own penny even though the budget savings would be considerably greater. Some additional things to consider:
- Dollar bill supporters -- especially those who sell the paper to the government on which the bills are printed -- will look at a successful penny elimination as a precursor to the elimination of the $1 greenback. Keeping the penny, therefore, will be part of their strategy to convince Americans that there should be no change in their change.
- Abraham Lincoln is on the penny, Lincoln was from Illinois, and Illinois is a critically important state in U.S. elections. Neither political party will want to be blamed for what many in the state will consider massive disrespect.
- Does anyone seriously think that former Illinois Senator Barack Obama will allow anyone to disrespect Lincoln?
- There will be too much outcry about the possibility of businesses always rounding up instead of rounding to the closest five cents. That will make the decision to eliminate the penny appear to be anti-consumer.
In other words, like almost everything having to do with federal budget these days, even if they're there for the taking, the politics of the issue make it all-but- impossible for the savings to be realized.