Skip to main content

Don't abolish U.S. cent

I am a practical, logical person. No one would ever say I’m frivolous. But when it comes to talk of eliminating the Lincoln cent, I get a bit irrational.

Canada has decided to phase out its cent at the end of the year. It costs more to produce than it’s worth. Just like the U.S. cent.

The logical part of me says, “Away with it.” The sentimental part of me says, “It still serves a purpose.”

Think of all those signs in the big superstores. One store boasts laundry detergent for $8.99. The store down the block offers it for $8.98. How many people will drive the extra block to save a penny?

And gas. We all talk about gas prices. We notice when they deviate up or down by 1 cent. We don’t save our opinions until the deviation is a nickel.

You can’t find penny candy like you could 30 years ago, but don’t take away the coin that reminds me of trips to Taylor Avenue Bakery in Racine, Wis., where one display case alongside the kringles and pumpernickel bread was devoted to penny candy. Who cared if the long strips of button candy meant you ate more paper than candy or that the little wax bottles filled with flavored syrup tasted horrible. What did you expect for a penny?

And what about my cent collection? I'm not quite ready to abandon it, thank you very much. I was kind of hoping one of my grandchildren would continue my Lincoln cent collection some day.

I know people say that eliminating the penny won’t really affect us because so much business is now conducted electronically. We pay with checks and debit cards. No rounding there.

But why wouldn’t a manufacturer decide that it “makes sense” to mark that laundry detergent at an even $9 now that the cent is defunct? And yes, I’m pessimistic enough to think it won’t change to $8.95 instead.

Let the U.S. retain the cent but alter it’s composition so it can be produced economically. And yes, I do believe it speaks to our economic stability. One cent still means something in the United States. And that’s something to be proud of.