Now that U.S. pennies are more of a nuisance than a useful form of currency, given their ever-so-rapidly evaporating value (no offense, Honest Abe), and now that it costs the government nearly two cents to make each penny, why don’t we just toss them altogether? (Hint: It has to do with lobbyists.)
AP via Yahoo! News:
The nation’s sole supplier of zinc “penny blanks,” Jarden Zinc Products, is lobbying the federal government to protect its interests.
The subsidiary of Rye, N.Y.-based Jarden Corp., paid Baker & Daniels LLP $180,000 in 2006 to fight legislation that would have allowed retailers to round off cash transactions to the nearest nickel, effectively creating a penniless society. Fortunately for Jarden, the House legislation did not gain traction, and its author, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., has since retired.
In the past two weeks, however, bills in the House and Senate were proposed that would give the Treasury Department the power to decide—without congressional approval—the type of metals used for all coins. The bills’ authors said using cheaper metals to make pennies and nickels, which incidentally cost an estimated 10 cents each to produce, could save taxpayers $100 million annually.