The Bottom Line: No New Pennies!

Filed in Uncategorized by on February 13, 2009 0 Comments

I just found out that The United States 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 of Lincoln’s birth and the centennial of Lincoln’s penny portrait. (Dan Tomkin’s Gather post has design close-up photos.) However, it seems to me that these mintings are yet another waste of federal tax dollars.

First, it actually costs more to make a penny than the coin is worth (1.4 cents in 2006). Second, Congress has 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. Mint says the 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 I 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.”

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I am a journalist who has spent most of my life getting paid to write about things that interest me, and that is a lovely thing. I am good-natured, relatively non-judgmental and a friend to all.

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