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In answer to your question

Asked about it at a town hall in Pennsylvania, he said, “We have been trying to eliminate the penny for quite some time -- it always comes back,” joking, “I need to find out who is lobbying to keep the penny.”
I'll be happy to tell you who is lobbying for pennies.

It's the poor of your country.

We depend upon the pennies that spill from the pockets of wealthy people such as yourself in parking lots to buy milk or eggs for our children, to collect enough to put one more gallon of gas in our cars so we can go to work - because we don't earn enough at our 60-hour-a-week jobs to buy gas or milk out of our paychecks.

If you're of a Biblical turn of mind, consider the pennies the gleanings of society.  

The parking lot pennies have meant the difference between having heat one more month in winter or having it turned off for non-payment. The parking lot pennies buy aspirin for sick children.  When your grocery budget is $20 a week, every penny is essential.  Finding a couple of pennies means you have enough to pay the tax on the jar of peanut butter you'll carefully dole out for a week.

Before you consider eliminating the penny, please make sure you have no citizens who rely on pennies to survive.

If you dislike the penny so much, why not drop them in parking lots so your vastly underpaid citizens can use them?

Sincerely,
A Mother Who Raised Her Family on Parking Lot Pennies

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

    by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:22:30 PM PST

  •  Pennies are good for kids as well. (10+ / 0-)

    They're good for counting, for sorting, for learning how to count by twos and fives and tens. Finding a penny will keep a preschooler happy all day. And those pennies in their piggy banks add up.

    Pennies are good for charity jars. Look into the "Ronald McDonald House" box once or twice, the primary color you'll see is copper not silver. Look in the 'wishing fountains' in the mall, it's not quarters people are throwing in there, and often those 'donations' go to charity as well. Those pennies add up quickly and help thousands.

    I concur with the parking lot pennies as well, been there, done that. Probably will do it again.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:28:01 PM PST

  •  In an episode on the West Wing (love that show) (5+ / 0-)

    they had a discussion on it and it was pointed out the strongest advocates are the fans of Lincoln and the state of Illinois where he's from.  Either this is totally a joke from Obama or he really doesn't know the history of the coin.

    I can understand businesses not wanting to deal with pennies (like I think I heard some businesses in NY were doing), they can round down the charges to the nearest nickel and not deal with pennies.  Until/unless taxes are made in nickel increments and pricing isn't done at the $$.99 level, it's not an option to get rid of the penny.  There are more important issues out there, like dollar coins (if you really want to eliminate waste from the Mint).

    •  Round down? You really (7+ / 0-)

      believe they'll round down?

      I'm pretty sure they'd round up.

      I'd advocate for the return of the halfpenny and the tenthpenny, too.  As long as we have to pay increments of a penny in taxes, we should be able to pay the exact amount owed and not some rounded up number. Or the IRS and businesses need to stop charging percentages of pennies or in penny increments.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:35:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Canada stopped producing/using pennies two weeks (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, chimene, winglion

        ago. Gov't has ordered businesses to round up and down to 5 cents from the midpont on all cash transactions. Cheques, debit and credit remain  to the exact cent.

        I have no answer for the parking lot gleanings point, except that the US is slowly descending, no make that racing fairly quickly in its descent in its inhumanity to its own citizens. I feel deeply for those who value and need  those pennies - that breaks my heart. I see it around me when I am here.

        "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

        by ontario on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:39:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Canada... but you see, you have to consider this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontario

          decision in light of WHO IS RUNNING CANADA TODAY!

          Steven Harper, Bush II-Lite and his crazy, Amur'ca-contaminated cohorts, that's who.

          Dropping the penny will be inflationary.

          And how long will it take to decide to drop the nickel, once the penny is gone?  And then the quarter. or should we make the quarter worth 20 cents?

          If you think it costs too much to make traditional pennies, change the material! find a cheaper metal, or make them out of plastic...

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:20:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hear rumblings about the nickel. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chimene

            You are right about Harper. Worse today. New office of Religious Affairs in the Foreign Affairs Dept, plus a 128- page damning report from the Privacy Commissioner crapping gall over the Government refusal to let governement scientists speak to the press or public.

            Pennies were no longer copper, alloy was as cheap as they can get.

            I have wondered iF Tim Horton's, MacDonalds et al have guys with pointy heads and sharp pencils trying to figure out the optimal price for  each item, so they get the majority of sales (CASH) ending up at 3 or 4 cents, (thereby rounded up).

            I guess this would not work because of taxes, multiple quantities, different-sized coffees with donut, muffin instead of donut, etc.

            But I'll bet someone tried somewhere. I'll use credit, debit or cheque to the real penny.

            "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

            by ontario on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:17:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Bills have gone to a new plastic material , like (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chimene

            Australia. Pictures at link. Very hard to counterfeit, many, many techniques and products in bills to make it almost imposssible. Last much longer too, like loonies and toonies vs paper. Now, with experience and hindsight, I would never go back to 1 and 2 dollar bills,

            http://www.google.ca/...

            "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

            by ontario on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:23:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  They tried rounding to the closest 5 cents but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winglion

        then they got in trouble from people who complained to the owners and to the city's business offices, so they agreed to round down if they rounded at all.

      •  Here's a link to the story (0+ / 0-)
  •  Sometimes the penny or pennies are the only thing (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Noddy, weck, RiveroftheWest, chimene

    an elderly person, poor folks or children can put in the collection plate.  Seems to me I read in the New Testament that a poor widow gave her last "pennies" - the most valued gift according to Christ.  When you're down that low, to give like that is to give all.

    The arrogance and the brutal amnesia or the utter indifferent people that are rich have for the poor or struggling in our country is wretch inducing.  These same people should be made to live like poor folks do, most wouldn't survive it without committing some crime to get by.  Either that or I truly think they'd consider suicide.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy 1980 DNC Keynote Speech

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:42:15 PM PST

    •  This doesn't seem like a good argument to me. (4+ / 0-)
      Seems to me I read in the New Testament that a poor widow gave her last "pennies" - the most valued gift according to Christ.
      I'm pretty sure Jesus wasn't making an explicit reference to the value of US currency in that passage, given that the US wouldn't exist for another almost 1,800 years.

      Given how (not at all) far a nickel goes these days, the meaning wouldn't change a whole lot if we were to refer to the widow giving her last two nickels instead.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:23:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to scrap all currancy that costs more to (14+ / 0-)

    make than they are worth or lower the cost of their production. Spending 2.7 cents to make one cent is actual government waste, money that could go to education and other social programs.

  •  I've been in poverty (4+ / 0-)

    I don't remember pennies making any difference. It would take a lot of them to pay a medical bill. Or a grocery bill for that matter.

    •  Leave it to Dkos to find the one poor (4+ / 0-)

      person who "raised a family" off of discarded pennies, and so believes that eliminating the pain-in-the-ass cent would be a huge burden on parking-lot penny-searching mothers everywhere.

      •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

        My children thank you, too.  

        Those pennies fed us, and got me to work on dozens occasions.  They've gotten us through the end of the month, along with collecting cans and feeding them to the Golden Goat.

        I'm glad you've never been that desperately poor.  I hope you never will be.

        All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

        by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:52:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But consider (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emelyn, hnichols

          Would a penny do the same today?  They are becoming worth less and less.  Eventually (probably now) they are not worth making.  

          •  Yeah, it still does the same today (7+ / 0-)

            I know because last month, I had to scrounge in the parking lot to make up a 3 cent shortage when buying Itzl's food.  I had 5 days of the month left and only 3 days of food for him. Without those 3 pennies I finally found in the parking lot, he might have been on short rations.

            All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

            by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:07:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you saying that you had almost (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hnichols, misslegalbeagle

              enough for his food, but were missing 3 cents? So for instance you had 3 dollars, but the food cost $3.03, so you needed 3 cents, something like that? I'm just trying to figure out why you think pennies are so valuable.

              •  I don't think you can understand (5+ / 0-)

                If you can't figure it out on your own, you will never understand why the penny is important no matter how many pixels I expend on it.

                All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

                by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:51:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are saying that you were so (0+ / 0-)

                  poor that in order to feed your children you had to find pennies in parking lots. But you also say that you were able to have a dog as well. You were so poor you had to collect pennies off the ground to raise your kids, but you collected enough pennies to afford to have a dog? I'm sorry, I just don't see how it is possible to raise a family off of found pennies. How many could you collect on a good day?

              •  This is getting a little harsh (0+ / 0-)

                I did not intend that. We're just talking about pennies. Lighten up a little. Noddy is a good person.

                •  I didn't say anyone isn't a good person. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TheLizardKing, hnichols

                  It honestly makes no sense to me that eliminating the penny will change the lives of poor people in any material way. She had experience as poor person, but that doesn't mean that she is right about this issue.

                  •  why are you so convinced Noddy is either lying or (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    hnichols

                    delusional about her own life experience, doc2?

                    and if you're not trying to imply that, it's sure hard to tell, from the way you're harping on it, and the language you're using.

                    or is it just that you personally have never been that far down?

                    I had an aunt who we found out long after the fact, left her husband because he was beating her. She would make the rounds of pay-phones in the town, checking for change that had been left behind, so she could eat. Apparently she walked miles some days before she had enough for whatever small meal she could get. I don't expect she left any sidewalk pennies behind her, either.

                    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

                    by chimene on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:53:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  People needing discarded pennies to support (0+ / 0-)

                      their family is not a good enough argument for the perpetual survival of the cent. It's not even clear that net net it is a good thing for the poor that the penny exists. If businesses had to round down prices the elimination of the penny would be deflationary. Accusing someone of being mistaken is a lot different than accusing them of lying. I'm sure you knew that.

                      •  You lied (0+ / 0-)

                        You have zero empathy, and even less compassion. You are not a liberal regardless of what you claim.  You are a Republican fundamental conservative.  I've been reading your comments.  None of them cross the line into HRability, but not one of them has been written with any degree of love, kindness, compassion, care, or empathy. It's your way or the highway.

                        The penny is essential to our society, not just as an act of charity to the poor, but on other levels as well. I'm sorry you are and have always been too rich to understand how important that can be.

                        But the importance of the penny encompasses compassion and transcends it, but you are stuck on punishing the poor even more.

                        There is no discussion with you.  It's all bashing away at one irrelevant and trivial point to the exclusion of all else to prove your point - which is that poor people deserve to starve.

                        All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

                        by Noddy on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 05:40:05 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Ok, I'm a Republican fundamental (0+ / 0-)

                          conservative (whatever that means). The kind that has been an active community member here since 2003 and that has voted straight-ticket Dem for 30 years. But because I disagree with you on the penny you are the liberal and I am not (oh, and I am a "liar"). I like your dog. You, OTOH, have some work to do.

      •  "the one poor person" -- don't be a d*ck, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ontario

        as Kos would say. (I have read through all comments, cannot believe doc2 is being so intransigent and obtuse about this. Must be nice to be rich?)

        this country is so mean and grasping and savage toward the poor, that a lot of states tax FOOD! that is, have no exemption for food in their state sales taxes. (second-hand here, I live in one of 2 states that do not have sales tax.)

        when you have the money for the jar of peanut butter, but don't have the few cents worth of "tax", YOU CAN'T COMPLETE YOUR PURCHASE! THAT is where the "parking lot pennies" come in.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:14:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well you get rid of the pennies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, weck, emelyn, elmo

    Then the nickel becomes the penny.

    Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

    by jsfox on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:14:18 PM PST

    •  Not true. (6+ / 0-)

      Because people will be less likely to let a nickel drop and leave it in he parking lot than they are a penny.  There will be less gleanings for the poorest to scavenge, and that would make them even poorer than they already are.

      Instead of focusing on the penny, we need to focus on paying people enough that pennies don't matter.

      As long as we have people so poor in this country that pennies really do matter, e need to keep the penny. Consider it an act of charity.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:00:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The US used to mint half-pennies... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, weck, RiveroftheWest

    ...from 1793 to 1857. I don't see a lot of complaint these days that we can't use ha'pennies anymore.

    There's a point at which inflation makes certain levels of resolution for our currency no longer make a whole lot of sense, policy-wise, given that coins cost money to produce. The cost to mint a penny is about 2¢, according to The Almighty Wiki.

    Given that, I don't think the question of whether or not to keep them in circulation (instead of just rounding to the nearest nickel) is necessarily an inappropriate one, and I certainly don't think that asking or considering the question betrays any kind of insensitivity toward the poor. It feels to me like you're reading a bit too much into this.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:17:49 PM PST

    •  But somebody here raised their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emelyn

      kids on pennies found in parking lots. That's a whole lot of pennies I say. But what she is forgetting is that if we eliminated the penny then the coins found in parking lots would be nickels, making it that much easier to raise a family. Of course, we could always eliminate the penny and bring back the two-cent piece, or the three-cent piece (there was never a four-cent piece, though there were two different kinds of three-cent pieces).

      •  That would be me (7+ / 0-)

        And if we eliminate the penny, we raise prices all across the board.  Unless we raise pay (and honestly, as someone who has experienced the 6th straight year of pay cuts, I'm not too optimistic about that), I don't see where eliminating the penny will improve the situation of the poor in any fashion.

        I haven't relied entirely on pennies - I've always worked a minimum of 50 hours a week - but pennies have made up the difference to pay the taxes on buying a carton of eggs, for instance.  If you're 3 cents short, you might as well not have the money at all because you won't be able to get what you need..  Scrounging pennies out of parking lots has often been the deciding factor in being able to buy a jar of peanut butter or putting a gallon of gas in my car to get to work.

        Saying that I'd just find nickels instead isn't necessarily true.  People don't stop to pick up a dropped penny, but if they drop a nickel, they will pick it up.  There will be less parking lot change, not more.

        Obviously, you have never been that desperately poor.  I hope you never will be.

        All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

        by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:49:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am an empathetic person but I also (0+ / 0-)

          know arithmetic. You need to find 100 pennies to make up one measly dollar. You need to find 300 pennies to buy the gallon of gas. That would take days of searching, in any city. No matter how poor you are, a penny is a very tiny amount of money. And it's not clear to me why people won't just drop nickels. The implication is that people toss their pennies BECAUSE they find them a nuisance. So we should keep making these nuisances, which cost a lot to make, so that people will keep tossing them on the ground so the poor will find them. This is just not a compelling case for protecting the penny.

          •  Your empathy is misplaced (5+ / 0-)

            The whole point is - we aren't paying the poor people enough in wages that they can get by without gleaning pennies from parking lots to buy essentials when they paltry paycheck won't cover the cost of the entire month.

            Until we pay living wages, we need to keep the penny, because the parking lot pennies really do make a difference.

            And you're doing the math wrong, too.

            If you're trying to buy a jar of peanut butter to eat (and it will be pretty much the bulk of your meals for the last few days of the month), and you're 3 pennies short, you will not be able to get that jar of peanut butter.  

            I can find 3 pennies in almost any parking lot in a matter of minutes, and I'd score that jar of peanut butter and be able to eat until pay day.

            Why?  Because most of y'all are wealthy enough that pennies don't matter to you, but those who need a few pennies really, desperately need those pennies you disdain.

            Until we admit that we are seriously underpaying the working poor and pay them a living wage, we need to keep the pennies as an act of charity.

             

            All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

            by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:23:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd vote against it, and I'm (0+ / 0-)

              a liberal. Lots of liberals feel the same. These things suck and it's time to get rid of them. Enough already.

              •  You are a very (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                freerad, FloridaSNMOM, chimene

                not nice person. You claim to have empathy, and you don't.

                You will not understand just how important the penny is for the bottom 10% or so of our society. I'm glad you've never been that poor, but that's no reason for you to make life even more untenable for them. You can afford to keep the penny, but you don't want to because it's inconvenient for you. Screw the poor.

                You might as well be a conservative with that attitude. Starve the poor, they don't deserve to earn a living wage.

                All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

                by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:45:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Noddy has a point (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chimene, Noddy, ontario

              We need to have people earning wages they can live on. If you have a good paying job be thankful, there are a lot of us living from paycheck to paycheck praying that our hours don't get cut again.
              Pennies can be helpful, but what would be best is to be paid a real wage

    •  Me! And I'd like (5+ / 0-)

      tenth pennies made, too.

      As long as we're being charged increments of pennies - that 9/10 of a penny tax on gasoline, for instance, or 8.127 in sales taxes...the government loves them some fractions of pennies - then we should be able to pay exactly what we owe and not rounded up.

      Why not just eliminate cash altogether and just go with electronic transfer of funds, embedded in our foreheads at birth. Money is a symbol and has no intrinsic worth of itself (materially, a one dollar bill has the same value as a $1,000 bill).

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:43:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not 1/100th of a penny (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noddy, TheLizardKing

        We could make them of silver.

      •  Do you have any evidence... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that businesses are always rounding up to the next penny, rather than simply rounding to the nearest penny? (i.e., if something is 8.127¢, that you're being charged 9¢ instead of 8¢?)

        A quick search doesn't find any indication that businesses aren't just rounding to the nearest penny... and my recollection from when I used to do mental calculations of sales tax (it's been a few years since I was counting my pennies that closely) is that they did just that. If it was below half a cent, they'd round down; if above, they'd round up.

        If they're truly rounding to the nearest cent and not rounding up all the time, then there's no need for currency at the tenth-of-a-penny resolution, since over the aggregate you save a penny on as many .45¢ instances as you lose on .55¢ instances.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:04:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We've tried five times since I can remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    to replace the dollar bill with a coin, because the bills don't last as long and do cost more to replace.

    Hasn't worked yet, despite beautiful designs (Sacajawea, for example).

    Let's eliminate paper money altogether. A penny is a fine thing; so is a dollar, or a five-dollar coin, or a 20-dollar coin. The bills are costly to stop counterfeiters from falsifying.

    Of course the biggest danger is still "electronic money."

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:56:19 PM PST

  •  The US government could re-value our coins and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, RiveroftheWest, FloridaSNMOM

    currency so that each piece could be worth 10X its value to resolve this issue as well, but with a global economy and stockmarket transactions done in less than a second, it would be hard to implement.  Your new car would only be $3000, and your minimum wage @ 75 cents.

    My favorite coin is a tiny "three cent nickel" made of silver from around the time of the civil war.  If we still used traditional metals for coins, their value would have increased to keep up with inflation, just sayin'.

    My little nickel is probably worth 10 bucks.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

    by weck on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:58:12 PM PST

    •  There is that, too. (5+ / 0-)

      But they are all focusing on the wrong thing about pennies.  They're looking at production costs, and not societal costs.  

      As long as we have people so poor that pennies truly do make the difference in their lives, we need to either pay them well enough that they don't need the pennies or consider the penny production an act of charity to the people we don't otherwise help.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:04:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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