Chris Maryland

No More Pennies

We need to stop pennies. They're evil.

Dear President

Every year, the United States loses between 22.1 billion and 31.2 billion dollars purely from making pennies (Wall Street Journal). In 1864, the penny was legalized and first made in the United States (Penny History). The penny has been around for 150 years, and now there are discussions about whether or not to get rid of the penny. The government should stop making the penny because it is costly from an economic standpoint, will make the currently valueless coin more valuable in the long run, and the money saved could be spent on other issues.

Currently, the penny costs more to make than it’s worth, stopping the production of it will help strengthen the US economy. In 2014 “the cost to produce a penny was 1.7 cents” (Wall Street Journal). In the US economy the penny is worth 1 cent, so for every penny made by the US mint, it costs the country 0.7 cents. Considering the fact that there are 30 million pennies made every day, or 1040 pennies made every second (US Coin Guide), every day the United States loses 210 million dollars, just by making pennies. Some countries, like Australia, who have already gotten rid of their equivalent to the penny, are much better off than the US in terms of economics. Australia has a total debt of 6 trillion dollars as of October 2016 (Australian Debt Clock), while the US has a total debt of 66 trillion dollars (US Debt Clock), over ten times the amount that Australia has. One possible reason for the penny costing so much compared to its worth is because of the metal used to make it, copper. Since 2012, the prices of copper have gone consistently down from about 4 dollars a pound to 2 dollars a pound in 2016. (Investing News). If the trend is to continue, then the penny will become less valuable than it already is, because of the decline in value of copper. By producing currency, it has actually cost the US government money. From an economic standpoint, it is costly to produce the penny for the United States of America.

By stopping the penny production, it will become more valuable in the long run, and eventually will be worth more than it’s current one cent. Terminating penny production in the US mint will mean that there will only be a finite number of pennies, and that number will eventually become smaller every year. An original cabbage patch doll sold for thirty dollars in 1983, today one is being auctioned at over one thousand dollars (The Richest). Over the course of thirty years the cabbage patch doll multiplied its worth by forty, the same might happen to the penny if it were to have its production ended. Another piece of US currency that has had talks about its termination is the two dollar bill, and in 1966 the two dollar bill was “officially discontinued” in the United States (2 Dollar Bill). Today, some of these bills have sold for over forty dollars, which is more than twenty times their original amount. The penny will likely follow a similar path in terms of value increase as its counterpart in currency has if it were to be discontinued. If the penny coinage in the United States comes to a halt, the currently valueless coin could receive a monumental increase in worth.

The money saved from ending the coining of the penny can be used to solve more serious problems in the United States. Each year between 22 and 31 billion dollars is lost to the production of the penny alone. Instead of spending their money on that, the government should spend their money on cancer research, humanitarian aid in other countries, and helping the homeless. In 2013 the US spent approximately “$4.8 billion in cancer research” (Reuters). That is at least four times less money than they lost from producing the penny. With the money that the US could save by ending penny production, cancer could be cured much sooner than it is expected, maybe it already would have been cured had there been no pennies. Other important issues the US could spend more resources on are humanitarian aid and helping the homeless. In the 2013 fiscal year, the US spent “$23 billion” on humanitarian aid (National Priorities). These went to things like helping Haiti and Japan, as well as aiding people in places like Sierra Leone where this is disease outbreak. This resulted in the US saving thousands lives and creating a better international reputation as a country. If the penny is discontinued then the US might have been able to save millions of lives instead. One of the biggest domestic problems in the US has been the homeless, as of January of 2015, over five hundred thousand people were homeless within the United States (End Homelessness). This impacts not just the five hundred thousand homeless people, but also their families and loved ones as well. With the money the US could save by ending the coinage of pennies, this number could drop into the tens of thousands by increasing spending on federal aid programs. Ending the minting of the penny can not only save the US economy, but it can also save lives in the United States.

The government of the United States of America should terminate the penny in order to strengthen the US economy, give value to a worthless coin, and use the saved money from it to help save and impact lives around the world. Terminating the penny has many effects that can change many things. And it is evident through past examples like the two dollar bill and the country of Australia that terminating the coin is likely worth it. In doing this, the United States will be better off and will have a stronger economy, international reputation, and will impact lives around the world.


"Australian Debt Clock." Australian Debt Clock,


"A Brief History of the U.S. Cent." Penny History,


"Copper Investing News." Investing News,



"18 Surprising Items in Your Attic that are Worth Thousands." The Richest,


"The History of Cabbage Patch Dolls." Babyland General,


"Snapshot of Homelessness." End Homelessness,


Sparshott, Jeffery. "Just How Much Does It Cost to Make a Penny?" Wall Street



U.S. Coin Guide,

"US National Debt Clock." US National Debt Clock, Chart.

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Rockville High School

Rockville High School

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