Canada Kills Its Penny; Can We Please Be Next?

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may know that I am devoutly anti-penny. This includes a rant on 60 Minutes in which I argue that the penny should be killed off, as inflation has rendered it worse than worthless. 

The U.S. government remains unpersuaded, but our good neighbors to the north are about to take the leap (following the lead, it should be said, of several other countries).

"Death to Pennies": Hear, Hear!

It pleases me to no longer be the only guy complaining about the penny.

This anti-penny rant was quite good.

But this one is even better:

Will the Cashless Revolution Wipe Out Panhandling?

A reader named John Neumann writes:

Guys, I had a thought today as I was walking to work in the sweltering D.C. morning heat: As the U.S. has increasingly become a cashless society with the rise of debit- and credit-card use, has there been a decrease in panhandling, busking, and homelessness? Obviously, fewer people carrying cash or change means panhandlers, buskers, and the homeless will have fewer and fewer people giving them money on the street. Would busking and panhandling become extinct if we do eventually become a completely cashless society? Is that already happening?

Great questions, John!
I don't know the answers, but I might now seek them out. If we do ever get truly cashless, presumably you could transfer money from your digital wallet to a panhandler's digital wallet. Might it be hard for a panhandler in possession of a digital wallet to appear needy? Probably not: if they are ubiquitous, the cost of a digital wallet itself would likely be near (or even below?) zero.

John's questions raise two other thoughts:

+ I wonder if the appeal of going cashless might wane in light of so much high-profile financial hacking going on.

+ If/as we do get more cashless, what are the other unseen ramifications? Personally, I'd be happy to do away with the stuff. It's dirty, inefficient, and produces a lot of troublesome by-products.

A Dunkin' Donuts Store Exhibits Penny Sanity

One Dunkin' Donuts store is taking a stand against the penny.

The Best Anti-Penny Rant Ever?

I've already used up too much of your bandwidth complaining about the uselessness of pennies, but allow me to share with you a wonderful vlog rant by John Green on the many, many reasons why the penny (and the nickel, too) should be abolished.

FREAK Shots: A Cheap Parking Spot

A penny for parking.

Cutting the Currency Gordian Knot

Get rid of the dollar bill and the penny.

Do We Need a 37-Cent Coin?

A young economist I know, Patrick DeJarnette, believes a much more radical change in currency is warranted. Here is what Patrick writes:

Late one night I was curious how efficient the “penny, nickel, dime, quarter” system was, so I wrote a little script to compare all possible 4-coin systems, with the following stipulations:

Fight Spam With Pennies

Fight spam by donating to your favorite charity. That's how researchers at Yahoo are hoping to convince people to put a virtual one-cent stamp on their outgoing e-mails. Sending a penny-stamped e-mail through Yahoo's (not yet released) CentMail program would automatically mark it as "real mail" and get it past any spam filters.

Finally, a Use for Pennies!

I never set out to be anti-penny, but somehow it happened, and I have gone on the record more than a few times arguing that the penny should be eliminated.

While I stand by my belief that the penny is lousy as currency, someone has finally come up with a use for pennies that has made me reconsider my extinction argument: make a floor out of them!