Nickels from Heaven

2009-Lincoln-Cents-650x219Monday, I read on that President Obama said he would consider eliminating the penny from U.S. currency.   The idea has been around for years because it costs more to make a penny … 2.4 cents … than the face value of the coin.  In 2011, minting pennies cost over 60 million dollars that could be saved by eliminating pennies.  Imagine … a savings of three ten thousandths of one percent of our national debt.  Astounding.  But wait, the good news isn’t over.   Nickels cost 11 cents tonickels put into circulation and it’s likely more nickels will be needed to make up for the disappearing pennies.  By the way, according to a poll on Yahoo, 55% of Americans still think the penny is useful.   The president thinks that’s nostalgia … We all remember, at least those of us of a certain age — some of you are a lot younger than me — he said, but we remember our piggy banks and counting up all our pennies and taking them in, gettin’ a dollar bill or couple dollars from them.   He also said that the penny is a good metaphor for the larger problems facing the federal government.  For once, I agree … one of our biggest problems is politicians talking about small easy issues and kicking the can on larger hard ones.

TSTSo here on Top Sites Tuesday #191 … where we offer Two Thoughts on Tuesday … I’ve been mulling my Thought Number OneIt’s a sure thing that some how, some way, this will cost us money.  Think about it.  Suppose I buy a new Timex watch for $45.00.   In Orange County California, the sales tax is 8.5%, so my tax would be $3.83.   But remember, we have no pennies and you can bet your sweet bippy that it will not be rounded down to $3.80 … either the seller or the government will walk off with an extra two cents.  The way I figure it, we’ll pay an average of two cents more on each purchase we make.  No big deal, you say?  According to, U.S. retail sales amounts to $370 billion dollars per month.  If I assume that the average retail sale is $1000, that amounts to 370 million purchases per month, so our small increase in cost amounts to ($.02 x 370000000 x 12) = $88.8 million a year, probably more than it will save the government.  Didn’t I tell you?

But that’s not the worst part, Thought Number TwoThink of the damage to traditional American idioms.  Would Benjamin Franklin approve of changing his famous quote to A nickel saved is a nickel earned?  If I say, A nickel for your thoughts, should I expect better thoughts than I did when it was a penny?  If I call someone a bad penny and no one knows what I’m talking about, is it fair to upgrade their degree of worthlessness to a bad nickel?  Does a bad nickel always come back?   Do I have to say nickel-wise and five-pound-foolish?   Is there such thing as a pretty nickel?  How about a lucky nickel?  And most importantly, will there be more injuries if Every time it rains, it rains nickels from heaven?  See what I mean?

Any thoughts are welcome in my comments section and the price is still a penny.  And I’ll throw in another if you’ll take the time to push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #191.

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11 Comments on “Nickels from Heaven”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I don’t have a strong opinion on doing away with pennies but you are right it ultimately won’t be a cost savings for either the consumer or the government. If more nickels are needed at the cost of 11 cents each, to compensate for the penny’s demise…any savings is doomed from the start.

    And I am not a big fan of everything being raised a few cents so that everything is priced on the 0, 5, or 10. That sales tax can quickly become 10 percent to make things come out better.

    Still I doubt that the word penny takes much of a hit. There are so many things that have gone obsolete and we still use the words.

  2. Coming East Says:

    Good thoughts on the considered demise of the penny, Bud. Since I can sometimes be a penny pincher, I worry about how difficult it will be to pinch nickels. Such an important issue for the government to be considering. Guess that’s because no important issues are troubling us now?

  3. SandySays1 Says:

    My human still picks them up off the ground when he sees them.

  4. What you might not have seen recently is that the president was essentially responding to Canada’s decision to eliminate its penny. It was the latest of 17 nations to do so. I suspect that just because he says he’ll consider eliminating it doesn’t mean he’ll actually do it – though I don’t agree that any practical consideration should be given to idioms. How many phones actually “ring” anymore? 😉

  5. liggybee Says:

    Hmm…let me put in my five cents here…haha! Gosh, I never really thought about how much it actually cost to make the money in the first place. I kinda always thought of the cost of the coin as being the basis for the value. So maybe, instead of making the penny go away, they should make the penny worth 5 instead of 1 cent? I know…that’s not likely! But anyway, great post! Sorry I didn’t participate this week but I’ve been busy catching up on some reading! 🙂


  6. Trina Says:

    Great thoughts! I support the penny’s continuance. If we do away with the penny doesn’t that increase inflation too ( in a round about way) and devalue the American Dollar even further? How about just decreasing the production of pennies and keeping the old pennies in circulation longer… or maybe switch to a cheaper metal, that was done once when pennies were made from steel… not that I support the steel option, but well, point made. Find a way to make the penny worth a penny…

    And oh yeah, maybe the president should worry about bigger issues that really would make a difference… or maybe he could just walk into a door and take our American crisis more realistically with working solution….


  7. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I think the government can figure this one out… An instead of trying to pass off more costs and spending issues on us, the people who put them in office to help us, maybe they should consider changing the size, thickness or type of metal used to make the penny and make it worth a penny or maybe increase the value of the penny to 2 cents.

    Clicks for you!

  8. Meleah + Math = headache.

    But I am all for saving the Penny.

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