Pity the Poor Penny

Today is National Lucky Penny Day. And the penny has been quite a lucky coin. It costs more to make one than one is worth, yet we will mint 5.9 billion of them next year and ship them out to people who will lose them or smash them as souvenirs of visits to historic sites.

Former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe tried twice to abolish the penny only to be thwarted by Lincoln lovers and zinc lobbyists. That’s right, the penny is made mostly of zinc. The coin makes no sense in today’s society. Getting rid of it won’t do much to rein in the budget deficit, but we’ve got to start somewhere.

My plan is to use the penny to force a first step. I save every penny that comes into my possession. I’ve been doing it since the Reagan administration. I have hundreds of dollars worth of these useless coins. If we all hoard them, the government has to mint more and more at an increasing loss per coin. Eventually the number will get large enough to be noticed. In the meantime, I’ve offered to contribute my penny collection to the US Treasury for the purpose of debt reduction if they stop making pennies. I’m not advocating that we stop honoring pennies as US currency. Just that we stop making them. Eventually they will all have been smashed into souvenirs or lost in couch cushions, and so be it.

Join my pledge! Start hoarding your pennies today. When you have $100 worth, send a letter to your congressman and Senators informing them that you will donate your extensive penny collection to the Treasury for the sole purpose of debt reduction immediately upon enactment of legislation that eliminates the production of pennies.

Tilting at windmills? Maybe, but it doesn’t take much to try.

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