Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

In for a penny, in for a pound.

1951-wheat-pennyIsn’t it nice to know that government can be consistently ridiculous when it wants to be? Like, not only in the large things like foreign policy, but also in the smaller things, like that perpetual denizen of the couch cushion, the dependable American penny?

I present you with Representative Jim Kolbe, who for the second time in five years is attempting to pass the COIN (Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation) Act that would eliminate the penny.

Now let me start off by saying that I rather like the penny for purely aesthetic reasons. Lincoln’s profile is well suited for such miniature enshrinement, with his head shape so unmistakeably distinct that on such a small coin you could make it out even without the rich detail that the United States mint has crafted upon it. I also like the penny for its differences in the realm of coin currency; I like its inherent copperness in the otherwise uniform sea of nickel plating and I like its smooth circumference.

However, as Rep. Kolbe points out, the chief ingredient in the penny–zinc–has jumped in price over the last few years, such that it now costs more to produce a penny than a penny is actually worth, almost two-and-a-half cents per coin.

This alone strikes me as a reasonable argument for the penny’s discontinuation. Kolbe’s bill further calls for all prices in American commerce to be rounded to the nearest .05 cent mark. This would be inconvenient, at first, but so are all such radical innovations to activities we now take for granted.

This bill won’t pass. I suspect it has to do a little bit with the extra legislation tacked into the bill, regarding the study of new metals for coins and the removal of market protection for Crane Paper Company.

But in my mind this seems like a no-brainer, especially during shaky economic times. You’re losing money on the creation of money.

Stop doing that.

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2006 by in History, Politics.
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