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Thursday, May 28th, 2015


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Latest Waste of Taxpayer Money: The Penny Redesign

Amid government bailouts, bankruptcies, and plummeting stock prices what does the government give us to cheer us up and let us know that everything is going to be ok? A new penny. Yes, the government has decided to spend our hard-earned tax dollars giving the penny a makeover. The question shouldn’t have been “does the penny need a makeover?” Is should have been “do we really need the penny?”

Each penny is made of copper-plated zinc. And each penny cost 1.4 cents to make. According to Philly.com, this means the “5 billion pennies —$50 million worth—minted this year cost about $70 million to make.” For those of you really bad at math, that’s $20 million wasted dollars.

But don’t worry, Congress is all over it. Several bills are in play to change the composition of the penny. Never mind how much it costs to get a bill through Congress.

And that doesn’t include all of the money that went into this redesign, which Congress approved in 2005. How many people were paid to consult on the penny design? How many historians did it take to figure out how young Lincoln should look and with what tool he built his log fence?

Of course, polls are cited as valid reasons for keeping the penny: Coinstar (yes, the company that charges to roll up your pennies at the local Safeway) released a poll in 2006 that claims 63% of Americans want to keep the penny as an “important symbol of American culture, history, and the economy.” Do these 66% know how much money we’re wasting for a little nostalgia? If everyone is so worried about rounding up, shouldn’t they consider the extra .4 cents each penny wastes? I guess if you consider the wastefulness of our government, spending an extra .4 cents is a very important symbol of how we operate. So never mind the fact that if you added up all the costs associated with the new penny the government would probably be able to bail out another failing company.

But none of this matters anymore because the penny isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, for the first time in 50 years, the penny is getting a makeover. Yes, in honor of the upcoming bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the U.S. Mint has given the penny a facelift.

The first new penny is scheduled to appear on February 12, 2009— the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The U.S. mint says that the redesign will highlight four phases in Lincoln’s life: “his birth in Kentucky, his formative years in Indiana, his professional life in Illinois, and his presidency.” Translation? A log cabin, a young Abe sitting on a log and reading, Lincoln standing in the Illinois State Capitol, and the construction of the U.S. Capitol dome. Um, yeah. Out of everything Abraham Lincoln did, that’s what they came up with? Sitting on a log reading? A building under construction? The man freed slaves and reigned throughout the bloodiest and most brutal war our country has ever seen. And this is what they came up with? None of the designs even feature his top hat.

But, before you join Citizens for Retiring the Penny, here’s another uplifting thought: last year an average nickel cost 9.5 cents to make.

Sam McGill hates pennies.

Little known fact: the Lincoln penny, first introduced on the 100th anniversary of his birth, was the first coin to feature a person’s likeness.

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15 Responses to Latest Waste of Taxpayer Money: The Penny Redesign

  1. Zuul says:

    Personally, I do my part to rid the world of the penny by throwing them away or leaving them on the counter. Yes, you heard that right. I waste my pennies. Since I use my debit card primarily for most purchases, I only receive on average about 12 cents a week worth of pennies as change. Multiply that out by 52 weeks and I throw away about $6.24 a year. It is worth it to me to not have this useless currency littering my pockets, car, and house. PENNIES ARE A WASTE!

  2. Tool says:

    I love pennies. Pennies are so crucial because what else would I use to flick at people’s head. Hey Zuul if you don’t want your pennies send them over to me.

  3. LanceStern says:

    Zuul that is really horrible.

    I have no problems with pennies, they are the perfect when people have $2.78 change due to them, and if nothing else you can lend them to the homeless.

    I’m horrified you would throw them away. Pennies add up fast.

  4. Zuul says:

    I disagree with you LanceStern. I am a big supporter of charity and donate annually to several organizations.

    Pennies simply do not add up quickly. That is the reason they are a burden.

  5. CDog says:

    This is a bad way to use our budget. Screw honor, I doubt even liclon would want this

  6. littlguy says:

    I disagree with the thought that the penny is worthless. If you think about how much your goods would increase if you had to round up 5cents it would be staggering. The penny may not seem like much but if it wasn’t there we would all face an even larger crunch on our wallets.

  7. JBo says:

    If we were to get rid of the penny, what happens when all of our purchases are rounded-up to the nearest 5 cent price? How much would that cost Americans?

  8. MXs says:

    the penny used to have value a while ago but not anymore. Will this happen to the dollar in the near future?

  9. kgridah says:

    No top hat!!! What the Heck!! It’s like Indiana Jones without a whip, or Cindy Crawford without a mole or Michael Jackson without a….oh wait he’s really like that. The point is we’re wasting our money and even if we get rid of the penny we’ll still be paying for it.

  10. Richard says:

    I disagree.. the penny is an iconic symbol of America that hasn’t really been appreciated in the past few years. I don’t want them to change it, the new designs aren’t nearly as good as this original one.

    I am an advocate for saving your pennies. They CAN add up quickly if you just keep them in a automatic counting jar. I’m up to 100 dollars and 23 cents and that’s all from my love seat, car, and under my bed.

    You’d be surprised what an extra hundred will fix in these difficult times. This is a waste of money, keep the original design.

    Alas, they won’t.

    This stupid younger generations just don’t understand.

  11. ToHellWithPennies says:

    This is a waste of money… the only people pinching pennies are poor. Hell, I’d even say coin change in general is a waste.

    If Richard is so wise and saved 100 dollars and 23 cents by saving pennies, I’d of said he spend the time working on something that resulted in more bang for your BUCK.

    The Japanese also have a weak ¥ yen coin it’s made almost entirely of plastic and is worth even less.

    They provide little to no value except in vast quantitities. And they are of so little value that people leave them around for other people to use because of their poor pricing of items. “Give a penny, Take a penny.”

    Laughable and a waste of time and real money.

  12. Mary says:

    I think it is a waste of taxpayers money to redesign any of the coins or bills.

  13. Mike says:

    I would also like to see the end of the penny. Nothing but a waste.

    Another point: If the penny is discontinued, big business would take a hit and our products would be cheaper. For example: $7.95 instead of $7.99. They would never bump it up to $8.00, it sounds too expensive. Not to say they wouldn’t find a way to pass that off to the consumer anyway.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I’m amazed that you think the penny redesign is a waste of money but fail to recognize the effort that has been put in the one dollar coins and the people’s failure to get rid of the extremely expensive habit of paper money. The Lincoln cent was not put out to cheer us up during a recession it was put out because it was the bicentennial. These would have been put out regardless of the economy’s state. Same thing with the sheild series that is currently out. Work on phasing out the dollar first and the penny would very likely go with it, but for some reason we can’t jump on the bandwagon of coin money instead of paper.

  15. BUTCH says:

    ON AN ARTICLE THE COST OF REDESIGNING THE PENNY WHY WOULDNT YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE COST OF REDESIGNING THE PENNY? IS SAM HILL KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT HE IS WRITING?

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