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Why Should the Penny Be Retired? Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 24th, 2020

Introduction

The US penny, which has been produced almost without interruptions for several centuries, is now posing a threat to the country’s economy. While some citizens consider it necessary to keep the penny in order to sustain traditions, others think that continuing to use this coin will lead to considerable losses for the US. This paper argues that the penny should be eliminated due to several reasons: pennies they are useless, they harm the environment, and they cost the government and taxpayers money.

The major reason why the penny should be retired is that it is no longer useful. As Starr notes, the penny has become the most “unprofitable and insignificant piece” of currency (30). Taking into account the inflation, eliminating one-cent coins is the most effective solution to stop the inefficient processes in the U. S. Mint (Starr 30). DiBella (56) and Klein (4) remark that even one-dollar bills should be changed to coins due to their uselessness. Taking the evidence from these research studies into account, the pointlessness of pennies becomes justified even more.

Another significant question to discuss when deciding whether pennies should be retired is that their production is harmful to the environment. The process of making pennies involves the use of zinc. In zinc ores, as little as 3% to 11% of metallic zinc is contained (Zinc Smelting 1). Apart from zinc, these ores include toxic metals, such as lead and cadmium. Moreover, high doses of zinc are harmful to people and animals. Therefore, the refusal from pennies, which contain zinc, would be beneficial for the environment.

The next issue that serves as an argument for retiring the penny is that it costs much both to the government and taxpayers. The rough cost of producing a penny is $0.016 (Keinsley 1). Apart from these expenditures, there is also the need to transport the coins to banks, which makes the whole process even more expensive. Therefore, the process of making pennies is not cost-efficient, which leads to significant losses experienced by the government.

Counterargument

While there are many arguments supporting the retirement of the penny, there also exist opinions defending this coin’s existence. The most disturbing idea of these is that with the elimination of pennies, the rounding policies will have a negative impact on citizens’ budgets (Keinsley 2). The rounding policy is then considered to have a regressive effect, “hurting the poor more than the rich” (Keinsley 2). Because of this issue, some analytics argue that the penny should not be retired.

Rebuttal

Despite the apprehension concerned with the rounding policy, the benefit of refusing from pennies is more vivid than the advantage of keeping them in the monetary system. Because the cost price of one penny is higher than the value of the coin, there is no sense in leaving the penny (Keinsley 1). After all, the government could regulate the rounding policy so as to avoid the negative impact on the poor population.

Conclusion

Out of the many reasons for eliminating the use of pennies, several stand out as the most solid. First of all, these coins are no longer useful for the system of money exchange. Also, pennies are harmful to the environment, and they cost the government money. Despite the apprehension of the rounding policy’s negative outcomes, the benefits of retiring the penny are more numerous than the disadvantages.

Works Cited

DiBella, Anthony J. “Sustainable Change (or the End of Change) at the U.S. Mint: A Case Exercise.” The International Journal of Management Education, vol. 11, no. 2, 2013, pp. 55-65.

Keinsley, Andrew. . 2013. Web.

Klein, Aaron. Time for Change: Modernizing to the Dollar Coin Saves Taxpayers Billions. 2013. Web.

Starr, Ethan. “A Quest for Common Cents: The Future of the Penny in the United States Currency.” Colloquium, vol. 2, no. 2, 2018, pp. 30-41.

. N.d. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Why Should the Penny Be Retired?" December 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/why-should-the-penny-be-retired/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Why Should the Penny Be Retired'. 24 December.

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