I just found outÂ that The United StatesÂ Mint is releasing four new Lincoln penny designs this year. I checked it out, it’s true, and I’m outraged.
Sure, I understand the Lincoln symbolism, given that it marks the bicentenial anniversary ofÂ Lincoln’s birth and the centennialÂ ofÂ Lincoln’s pennyÂ portrait. (Dan Tomkin’s Gather post has design close-up photos.) However, it seems to me that these mintings are yet another waste ofÂ federal tax dollars.
First,Â it actually costs more to make a penny than the coin is worth (1.4 cents in 2006). Second,Â Congress hasÂ talked of phasing out the penny all together. Third, who among us actually needs more pennies? Most people would say they have enough already.
So why are our federal tax dollars, in a time when the economy is already stretched, going to create four — count them, four — new pennies? Sure the U.S. MintÂ says theÂ Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 allows the new mintings, but should the U.S. Department of the Treasury actually be taking that option in this time of financial distress? I say “No!”…
If IÂ receive one of these coins as change, even though I’m a collector, I’d feel a moral obligation to recirculate it. That tax dollar, in the form of a new Lincoln penny, would then be partly on its way to actually getting its “money’s worth.”