posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 12:45 AM
I have a hard time believing this made the news, but since it did...
A penny costs 1.2 cents to produce. They are a bit of a nuissance and tend to just get thrown in the car ashtray (sadly a lot of people are so lazy
they just throw them out with the ashes instead of ever cashing them in).
Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona plans on trying again to get rid of the penny.
Is anybody else a little puzzled at how a US congressman has an idea this bad? The value of money is not really in its face value, but in its ability
to move goods and services. That's why the GDP is higher than the amount of money in circulation. (Incidentally, anything raising the GDP raises tax
revenues, assuming it doesn't involve changing the tax rate).
So great, the penny costs 1.2 cents to make- almost a sure sign they'll be able to sell people on getting rid of it- but what is a penny worth? By
estimating the medium possible return in pennies (2 per transaction) and just under 3 transactions a day, i came up with pennies being worth maybe $40
bucks a year to me. If the deficit on minting pennies is 2 cents on the dollar, and sales taxes are around 7 cents on the dollar, not to mention other
taxes, the penny is making Uncle Sam more than it's costing him.
But consider what happens if the penny goes away, if my average return on a transaction is 2 cents, then rounding up will cost me another 3 cents. I
spend another 60 bucks on top of the 40 i'm no longer saving, meaning that eliminating the penny costs me 100 bucks a year total (which happens to be
around one percent of my spending power while I'm a college student). Yet uncle sam makes money, not only on the reduced spending but because
transactions being taxed are rounded up in amount. And does the savings come back to us in taxes- unlikely, but if it did, it's a very creative
(albeit very small) regressive tax move all the same.
It's amazing what silly stuff I can put thought into, I know. I was just struck by the stupidity of the first thing I read in the news article on
this subject being that pennies cost than their face value to mint, and that drove me to look for flaws and rant for a sec.