There Is No Reason To Have Pennies In 2015

Time to break out those 8th-grade TI-83's, kids -- we're going to talk numbers.

This may make Abe Lincoln's ghost weep, but I'm going to come right out and say it: I hate pennies.

I hate the way they take up space in the bottom of my bag and make me jingle, I hate the way they break my vacuum by appearing when I do my biannual attempt at cleaning and, most of all, I hate the way they cost almost twice as much as they are worth.

John Oliver's recent segment about the total worthlessness of the penny validated a lot of feelings -- and he totally isn't alone in his penny hate; There's a number of people (myself and John Green included) who get really fired up over the one cent coin -- more specifically over why they are still a thing.

So put on your fun hats, kids, and break out those 8th grade TI-83's -- we're going to talk numbers: A penny cost 1.7 cents to make in 2014, according to the U.S. mint's biannual report to congress. While that's down significantly from when it cost 2.4 cents (2011 was rough), it still costs more to make these pocket weight/choking hazards than the measly single cent they represent.

This is only made worse by the fact that, according to that same report, there is literally no way to make pennies cost less than a cent to produce. Aside from slight changes due to inflation, they are as cheap as they're gonna get.

In 2006, economist Robert M. Whaples told that the U.S. loses nearly $900 million a year on "penny production and handling." That would be enough pennies to fill countless Scrooge McDuck pools and maybe even a Scrooge McDuck ocean.

Pennies man

“We spend around $136 million making $80 million in currency that, let’s face it, no one really uses," Oliver says, citing a few different experiments (from local news crews) that showed no one had any interest in picking up these kinds of coins when they were scattered on the street (because Spoiler: Americans, for the most part, DGAF at all about pennies.) The people who do care are either fueled by zinc companies or nostalgia or a love of seeing Abraham Lincoln smirking back at them from every sidewalk corner in the country.

If this is all TL;DR for you, John Green circa 2009 boils it down to this (in an appropriately hand-flailing fashion) and he's not wrong:



To conclude, here's a (pretty much) comprehensive list of things pennies are actually used for in 2015: Scratch-off lottery tickets (when quarters aren't available); acts of spite; folk art and/or DIY-ing furniture; the go-to trick-or-treat item from the laziest house in your neighborhood; filling up your car's cup-holder and messing with the balance of your coffee cup; accidentally getting eaten by my dogs, purposely getting eaten by children; getting rejected by vending machines and paying for Taco Bell in exact change (because every cent value ends in a 9 and the world is a cruel and unforgiving place.)

Literally, that's it.