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. He is good.

jp weaver

you forgot to mention why the government won't eliminate pennies- taxes. I, for one, don't want my 6% sales tax rounded up to the next $.05 (or worse $.10) - otherwise I agree

Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

Give a Penny to Panhandlers....It irritates the HECK out of them. They do not want to burdened with worthless change. They have holes in their pockets. And Beers are two dollars plus. CIgarettes over 5 dollars.

Penny for the beggar. Pretty soon we will not have beggars.


Why go through all the trouble of federal red tape to get rid of the penny and create local or state laws that require all pricing to include taxes AND be rounded to the nearest $.05

Jeremy Laughlin

Having worked in a coffee shop for a while where a surprising number of people pay in cash, I must say that eliminating the penny and nickel would necessitate the elimination of sales tax.

Even if prices could be successfully adjusted to never require a penny or a nickel after sales tax is added, it would take so much extra time and effort to do it that the nation as a whole would simply have shifted the time wasted on managing pennies to managing pricing.

What am I missing?

Jim B.

Why not just get rid of cash more or less altogether?


What about the sales gimmick of $_._9 prices? Would the price of an iTunes download now be a full $1.00? Who'd pay a full dollar for stuff???


Magnus Falk

@Jeremy Laughlin

That's something that's always bothered me with the US: why on earth so you add sales tax _afterwards_? Everywhere else in the world the sales tax is baked into the price and there are no annoying surprises when you get to the register. That way you can figure out how much you need to pay before the cashier finishes tallying everything and everything is sped up. A win for everyone involved!


You need pennies to teach children about money. It's the base value, where it all begins. Without a penny where do we get dimes, quarters, dollars?


Nice kismet that the ad that pops up during the video is pimping "Penny Stocks". Ha!

Eric M. Jones

[partial repost here] The 1909-designed Lincoln penny will be 100 years old next year. It's time to replace it with a George W. Bush penny, made of a much baser alloy, with his least flattering portrait on the front and a selection of his most idiotic pronunciamentos on the back-

Some words of wisdom for the back-

"We'll put food on the family."
"You disarm, or we will."
"I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession."
"I've been in the Bible every day since I've been the president."
The list is endless.

This would do four things-
1) People will still remember this fool 10,000 years from now;
2) People will collect them all over the world;
3) The treasury would make tons of money;
4) And the world might forgive us just a little.

Ian Kemmish

Couldn't people just stop using them? That strategy seems to have sounded the death-knell for dollar coins:

Justin James

Let's not forget those insanely wasteful $1 bills which should be replaced with $1 coins.


David Chowes, New York City

The most perfect argument of the banning of peenies (and, nickels) I have ever heard.

But, I want the U. S. mint to keep them in circulation...


Yes, for sentimental reasons!


Ok people, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding here. Let me explain how the elimination of small coins works in Denmark, where the smallest denomination of the Danish Kroner is 50 øre (øre = cents, but 50 øre = ~0.08 USD)

Sales tax is added before hand and is included in all prices.

If you pay with a credit/debit card you pay the exact amount.

If you pay in cash, you pay the nearest rounded amount.

And no, it is NOT hard to add the sales tax before hand! It's a simple formula, or you can just do a bit of guess and check with the prices to see what is actually being earned. Seriously, are people here that bad at math?

PS. Yes, this does mean you could "game" the system by paying with a credit card when the amount would be rounded up and in cash when it would be rounded down. As far as I know, nobody bothers here, it's just not enough money.


To commenter #1:

Here's how it works. Everything is still priced the way it is now.
Your total at the register gets rounded to the nearest increment of 5c. In practice, this means things that end in 1c, 2c, 6c and 7c are rounded down, and things that end in 3,c, 4,c, 8c and 9c are rounded up. You actually do break even in the long run. Australia has been doing it for years and it's actually saved them money.

I also imagine that electronic transactions would still use 'odd-numbered's sales amounts, since you don't need pennies for Amazon.

Dan J

To those to wonder how the rounding is done -

Plenty of other countries have made the switch just fine. Note you only have to round cash transactions - electronic transfers like credit cards, etc don't have to worry about the cost of pennies.

Daniel Howard

Why not just ditch dimes and round everything to the quarter dollar? Seriously, quarters are the smallest unit of currency I bother about.

I guess pennies and nickels are like Daylight Saving Time: a big waste of resources that will never be abolished because people don't like change unless it is in the form of coins or clocks.



I was stationed on Okinawa in 1999 with the US Marines. We used American money on the bases. There were no pennies in circulation because it cost too much for the base services to ship them over.

As other commenters have said, it worked very simply. For example, if your total at the cash register was $6.99, you paid $7. If your total was $6.97, you paid $6.95. It all evens out.

American money, 11 years ago, no problems. Let's get rid of the penny for everyone already.

levi funk

""Its not the type of issue that gets you re-elected, it's just something that's going to save billions of dollars and create lots of exciting efficiencies in our economy"

so true and sad.

Tim K

Just bought a sandwich today ($5.49). Gave the guy $6, and then waited for the coin tray to dispense my automatic change. A couple seconds later: two quarters appeared.

I told the cashier: "I think your dispensing machine is broken -- it missed the penny."

He took a look and thanked me for letting them know. I laughed. He didn't make any move to hand over another penny. And I didn't care.

And thus we parted ways, having mutually agreed to ignore the fact that they owed me one cent.