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The US should abolish the penny

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 780 times Debate No: 76714
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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I believe that the US should abolish the penny for multiple reasons.

The person who accepts this is in support of keeping the pennies.

abolish: to do away with; put an end to; annul; make void

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Round 3: Rebuttal

24 hours to post argument


I believe we should keep the penny around. Therefore, I accept the debate challenge. Best of luck to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Forthelulz for accepting this debate

On to my arguments:

Argument 1: Pennies are a waste of money
As of now it takes 1.7 cents to make a penny when a penny is only worth 1 cent. Because the US makes billions of these per year the costs add up. In 2014, around 8,146,400,000 new pennies were made that year. Take the cost and multiply it by the amount of new pennies circulated in 2014 and you get 57 million dollars wasted every year to keep alive this dead currency. That is money that could be used for better things. Even if the cost of pennies were reduced if they were made of something that represents their true nature like plastic, this does not solve the fundamental problem with pennies.

Argument 2: Pennies fail as currency
Let me build a scenario, you want stuff from a shop keeper. Rather than bartering like savages, you use money as a means of exchange. That is what money is meant to do. Money is used as means to facilitate the transaction of goods. Pennies fail to meet this function that because they are very inconvenient to use. For example, try to pay for $10 worth of groceries with 1000 pennies in your pocket. Even if you just pay in exact change pennies still prove an inconvenience. When you get to the counter and fumble with getting the right amount of pennies, you waste other people"s time.

Pennies not only make transaction of goods more frustrating and inconvenient but in many cases, they also fail as a mean of transacting goods. Say you rather not waste people"s time and go to a machine to take your pennies and return a good or service. However such machines are virtually nonexistent. Toll booths don"t accept them, vending machines don"t accept them, parking meters, laundry machines, or anything else because they aren"t worth the time and effort to count, transport, and store them. The only machine that exists today that accepts pennies is Coin Star. It is but a leech on the economy that takes 10% of your hard earned cash and returns 90% of money that you should already be able to use. Back then, pennies could actually buy things, but the rising cost of pennies and inflation ultimately makes pennies a useless currency and the reason why most pennies end up in jars.

Conclusion: Because of the cost of the US penny and the fact that it fails to facilitate the transaction of goods, we should move on and abandon the penny.



Okay, dropping a few definitions of my own, not conflicting with any Pro provided. Hope Pro doesn't mind.

Consumerism - the theory that an increasing consumption of goods and services is economically desirable.
Instant gratification - The consumer receiving the good/service immediately or in an expedited manner upon paying for it, instead of a delay.

Definitions adapted from

My argument for keeping the penny is a simple one. Not everyone has a credit card. There are those of us who have to make do with the money in our pockets when we go spending. The penny allows for cashiers to make change more easily. For example, a $0.99 item (after tax) is being paid for with a one dollar bill. Well, the change for that is... wait for it... one penny. Sure, that is a specific example, but still, convenience.

For reference, consumerism is still alive and well here in America. The penny, as it is now, is a medium of exchange, legal tender, for all debts, public and private, here in America. An announcement of an attempt at abolishing the penny would result in an uproar unless it coincided with a sporting event.

The way the debate statement is phrased, abolishing the penny would cut down on the money supply a bit, but so would contractionary fiscal policy. We are paying 1.7 cents per penny for convenience. Sure, there are downsides, such as a bunch of pennies being really heavy, but they have machines like Coin Star* for that. You are paying for convenience when it takes 10% from your monies, but you can now get bills and nickels on up, and drop the penny in the chain's pet project charity of the week's box if you so desire. The term for such a thing is instant gratification. Another example of instant gratification from our daily lives is fast food, such as In-N-Out or McDonalds. You get your food very quickly, allowing you to resume your life sooner than if you went to a sit-down restaurant. There are those that would say, "Hey, fast food is cheaper than sit-down." Yes, that is true. However, fast food can and does serve more customers overall, which means they can have lower prices, to attract more customers. Yet again, In-N-Out would be a prime example of this. A better example of instant gratification would be the one-day or two-day shipping options when shopping online. "You want this thing? You want it now? Pay a little extra to get it!" As far as I can tell,
*This, and all the other examples given aren't advertising; I'm just using the examples I know.

A very good question for those penny-punters (not pinchers) would be "What then? Do all existing pennies become worth the alloys they are made of?" Chances are, they just saw an example of waste and wanted to smite it, initiate sweeping reforms, and get a statue (made of smelted pennies or something pretentious yet awesome like that) somewhere. A buyback program would work... up until pennies don't show up in multiples of five. Would we round up or round down in such a case? If we round up, we're throwing money at people. If we round down, we're taking even more money from people. If we round up, the government loses in the short run, which is bad for the politicos, but good for the people. If we round down, it looks better on the balance sheet for that year, but a lot of people just lost a few pennies. Admittedly, people would probably lose less than they spend on a cup of coffee on any given day, but there would still be a bit of outrage, and outrage is bad for the incumbents.

And now the rambling bit that I really should write better, but because of reasons, I only had twenty minutes to write this, because of a prior engagement that I should have remembered earlier that, fortunately, let out early.

Wishing wells and/or the Uncomfortable Truths Well would have a lot more nickels, dimes, and quarters in them. We already have issues with fractions of cents. Don't make it worse by getting rid of the penny. It's easier to use a Coin Star, take it to the cashier, and deposit it in a savings account than it is to do a buyback. How much change do you have lying around that you won't find for a couple years? How long is the aforementioned buyback program in effect? Which way was it going again? Were they rounding up or down? Will it simply take place at a bank, or will there be specialized facilities? All of these are legitimate concerns.

In conclusion, the penny is still a viable medium of exchange and store of value. By all means, we should keep it around.
Debate Round No. 2


The problem with pennies as stated in my first argument is that pennies are no longer convenient. Even after that penny in the $0.99 transaction is returned, the penny will most likely end up in a jar dead to the economy not fulfilling its role as currency. The fact that machines such as Coin Star exist that take advantage of the inconvenience and uselessness of pennies to make money off of people just proves my point. Many businesses and organizations recognize the cost of transporting and counting the pennies isn"t worth it. One of these organizations includes a little organization known as the United States Military, where in overseas bases have banned the use of pennies. They also contradict your definition of consumerism as because those who use exact change to pay for items waste the time of those waiting and overall, the rate at which things are sold decreases.

There is a simple answer as to what happens after the penny is abolished. There are many countries around the world including New Zealand, Canada, etc. that have gotten rid of their lowest unit of currency and ended up fine. None of these countries have saw high degrees of inflation or drop in charitable donation. The US could easily take after those countries. Also this sort of process isn"t anything new to the US as we went through the same process when ditching the half-cent coin in the 1800"s for the same reasons we should ditch the penny. Abolishing the penny would actually do it good. As the amount of pennies decrease as they are melted, lost, etc. their value begins to increase again. Take a look at the half-cent coin now and they have more buying power than the US dime.



Forthelulz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by brianjustin3709 2 years ago
The us should abolish the penny because the penny is much expensize then you think. The copper costs more than 1 cent.
Posted by Forthelulz 2 years ago
It's sad, though. Anyone who saw Twenty Bucks would know that that same money gets spent repeatedly, which was a point that I would have raised in round 3, if not for the whole "Whoops, I got sidetracked because we got six coding breaks and it's just you and the professional slacker" thing, followed by the coffee running out.
Posted by MegadethRocks44 2 years ago
What is the point of abolishing pennies? they aren't harming anyone lol. why don't they just stop making them? I think that if the government stops making money inflation will decrease and then the penny will actually be worth something.
Posted by Forthelulz 2 years ago
I thought I submitted it before I went to bed.
Posted by tajshar2k 2 years ago
This is a good debate.
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