Time To Eliminate The Penny

By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw makes the case. While we're at it, let's get rid of the $1 bill too, and replace it with a coin. Both changes would save a lot of money: The penny costs the government more than a penny to manufacture, and dollar coins would last a lot longer than dollar bills. But the main reason for getting rid of pennies is, as Mankiw writes, that they waste time. As for the dollar bill, in few countries today is there paper currency in general circulation for $1 or less. You don't see one-pound notes in Britain (much less 50p) or one-euro notes in Europe, or one-peso notes in Mexico. Dollar bills are inconvenient; they stuff up wallets; they should go. But the Crane paper company has lots of advocates, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, with influence in this administration and this Congress. On the other hand, Arizona has long been the leading copper state, so the penny could conceivably go.

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--Read more about Ted Kennedy.


By Michael Barone
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