Dubner vs. Federline

It seems that Stephen Dubner and Kevin Federline (Britney Spears’s husband) find themselves at odds over one of the great crises of the day. Not the Middle East or Social Security, but rather, whether the government should keep making new pennies.

Dubner better be careful or Federline’s next rap will be dissin’ him.


tmitsss

2009 is the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's appearance on the penny (and Lincoln's 200th birthday)Perhaps we should acknowledge 100 years as long enough and do away with the penny that year and come up with some other way to honor Lincoln. (although the $5 bill should be enough) Perhaps a special penny minted for his 200th birthday as the last of the Lincoln pennies.

Dr. Funk

I think they should do away with pennies, nickels and quarters. Seriously, what costs less than 10 cents? Why do candy stores get to determine what coins we use?

jw

I would like to see the penny go away as well. But realistically, there is no way to program millions of cash registers to round to the nearest nickel.

I think that would be a bigger software nightmare than the year 2000 problem.

EmilyAnabel

In New Zealand, there is no problem with not having pennies. Prices are still listed as before, and the total may end up being not a multiple of 5 Kiwi cents. If so, if you pay with an EFPOST you pay the actual total. If you pay with cash, they round by hand, almost always in the customer's favor. No big deal and people coped with it there without any problems, and Australians have as well. In the US, perhaps there is more concern about tracking cash in cashier's drawers down to the last penny, so it may be more of an issue with that, but I think that is clearly secondary to the cost issue. After all, $900 million/year = $3/person-- sorry , 300 pennies per person.

dbswinford

In my neck of the woods (around Houston), most of the Stop'N'Robs that I frequent have a tray at the counter for a "slush fund" of stray pennies. When I show up a penny short, the clerk almost *always* says "Don't worry about it", and when my transaction impels them to give me a penny or 3, I toss those into the tray.

While I have to agree with the folks that say "What can you buy with a penny, anyway?", I regard the "neighborliness" of the transactions I've just described as a net "good" for society. It allows a little "grease" in the transaction, and *probably* averages out even between the proprietors and the customers (over time).

My sense is that if every transaction was rounded up (or down!) to the nearest nickel, then we'd lose what (IMHO) has become an altruistic (but, basically "free") ritual of commerce.

Roni

I think everyone who shows up here with the mentality of "Hey, yeah, we SHOULD abolish the Penny! It's useless, there's almost no value to it anymore!" really needs to stop and think for a second...

Why is the Penny "value-less"? Did you ever even wonder that?

Some of us may just blindly assume that "That's just how things go.. money eventually loses its value." But the error in this thinking is that money only loses its value when our economy is failing.

When we talk about the penny, it's usually a very ignorant observation about that little brown coin that is a nuisance when we get change back, but there was once a time (not too long ago, really) when people used pennies the way we use dollars today. The problem is that the value of our dollar is drastically dropping. When the Federal Reserve keeps printing money out of thin air, our dollar loses more and more value, which makes currency like the Penny more and more useless.

Do we want to wait until we have a Million Dollar Bill, so we can start thinking "Hey, let's fix our economy to the way it used to be! Let's bring back the value of the penny".

It's really a shame when people only focus on the nuisance of a penny, and don't realize the deeper fact that our country is slowly failing in its economy.

Do you even realize why gas prices are going up so drastically?! It's NOT because of the Barrels of Oil getting more expensive!! The cost per/barrel of Oil hasn't changed in many many years. But what HAS changed is the value of the American Dollar. We keep assuming it's the Middle-East's fault our gas is going up but it's actually our own economy's fault! (In other words, the 'GAS PRICES' aren't going up, EVERY PRICE is going up due to the inflation).

Instead of being annoyed by the penny, let's try to bring back its value!!!

Read more...

Steve

I like Roni's logic. We'd basically acknowledge that the dollar is becoming more and more worthless. lil by lil

tmitsss

2009 is the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's appearance on the penny (and Lincoln's 200th birthday)Perhaps we should acknowledge 100 years as long enough and do away with the penny that year and come up with some other way to honor Lincoln. (although the $5 bill should be enough) Perhaps a special penny minted for his 200th birthday as the last of the Lincoln pennies.

Dr. Funk

I think they should do away with pennies, nickels and quarters. Seriously, what costs less than 10 cents? Why do candy stores get to determine what coins we use?

jw

I would like to see the penny go away as well. But realistically, there is no way to program millions of cash registers to round to the nearest nickel.

I think that would be a bigger software nightmare than the year 2000 problem.

EmilyAnabel

In New Zealand, there is no problem with not having pennies. Prices are still listed as before, and the total may end up being not a multiple of 5 Kiwi cents. If so, if you pay with an EFPOST you pay the actual total. If you pay with cash, they round by hand, almost always in the customer's favor. No big deal and people coped with it there without any problems, and Australians have as well. In the US, perhaps there is more concern about tracking cash in cashier's drawers down to the last penny, so it may be more of an issue with that, but I think that is clearly secondary to the cost issue. After all, $900 million/year = $3/person-- sorry , 300 pennies per person.

dbswinford

In my neck of the woods (around Houston), most of the Stop'N'Robs that I frequent have a tray at the counter for a "slush fund" of stray pennies. When I show up a penny short, the clerk almost *always* says "Don't worry about it", and when my transaction impels them to give me a penny or 3, I toss those into the tray.

While I have to agree with the folks that say "What can you buy with a penny, anyway?", I regard the "neighborliness" of the transactions I've just described as a net "good" for society. It allows a little "grease" in the transaction, and *probably* averages out even between the proprietors and the customers (over time).

My sense is that if every transaction was rounded up (or down!) to the nearest nickel, then we'd lose what (IMHO) has become an altruistic (but, basically "free") ritual of commerce.

Roni

I think everyone who shows up here with the mentality of "Hey, yeah, we SHOULD abolish the Penny! It's useless, there's almost no value to it anymore!" really needs to stop and think for a second...

Why is the Penny "value-less"? Did you ever even wonder that?

Some of us may just blindly assume that "That's just how things go.. money eventually loses its value." But the error in this thinking is that money only loses its value when our economy is failing.

When we talk about the penny, it's usually a very ignorant observation about that little brown coin that is a nuisance when we get change back, but there was once a time (not too long ago, really) when people used pennies the way we use dollars today. The problem is that the value of our dollar is drastically dropping. When the Federal Reserve keeps printing money out of thin air, our dollar loses more and more value, which makes currency like the Penny more and more useless.

Do we want to wait until we have a Million Dollar Bill, so we can start thinking "Hey, let's fix our economy to the way it used to be! Let's bring back the value of the penny".

It's really a shame when people only focus on the nuisance of a penny, and don't realize the deeper fact that our country is slowly failing in its economy.

Do you even realize why gas prices are going up so drastically?! It's NOT because of the Barrels of Oil getting more expensive!! The cost per/barrel of Oil hasn't changed in many many years. But what HAS changed is the value of the American Dollar. We keep assuming it's the Middle-East's fault our gas is going up but it's actually our own economy's fault! (In other words, the 'GAS PRICES' aren't going up, EVERY PRICE is going up due to the inflation).

Instead of being annoyed by the penny, let's try to bring back its value!!!

Read more...

Steve

I like Roni's logic. We'd basically acknowledge that the dollar is becoming more and more worthless. lil by lil