Most people have a pet issue that they are especially passionate about.
These issues can be very emotional, exciting or of great importance, but for me that is not the case.
My pet issue isn’t sexy like pushing for clean energy, opposing war or working for civil rights. My pet issue is coinage reform.
I became interested in coinage reform three years ago by stumbling onto some Youtube videos that included anti-penny rants.
Despite my love for Abraham Lincoln, I have developed a deep-seated hatred for the modern incarnation of the penny.
To put it simply, I am Don Quixote and pennies are my windmills — read more books if you don’t get that reference — and here I will explain why.
Over an extended period of time, pennies have gone from consisting of 100 percent copper to 5 percent copper and 95 percent zinc.
Despite that change, in 2006, pennies became more valuable for their copper components than as legal tender.
It is estimated that it cost the U.S. mint around 1.7 cents to produce a penny. Since 2013, United States Taxpayers have been losing $105 million subsidizing penny and nickel production.
Not only do pennies cost the taxpayer, but they are also a giant suck on our economy due to the fact that they are almost useless, yet in one way or another we end paying for it through the cost of transporting pennies, the amount of time and effort spent fiddling with and handling pennies, and the space spent storing them.
Outside of Coinstar and those penny squishing machines at theme parks or boring tourist attractions, virtually no coin-operated machine will take pennies: not parking meters, laundry machines, arcade games or even most vending machines.
Australia, New Zealand, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, and the United States Military on overseas bases have all eliminated their one-cent coins and now round all prices to the nearest five cents.
These places have not seen any noticeable change in prices, loss of savings, or decreased donations to charity.
Other than having a sentiment for President Lincoln or some philia for zinc — no judgment; you do you dear reader — there is no good argument for continuing to mint the penny.
While this might not be as exciting as some of the issues currently being discussed on the political stage, it is an important one because it reflects our politician’s current inability to come together and solve even simple common sense problems, let alone the complex difficult problems that we face as a nation.
As we progress into an ever more digital world and its debit cards and “Snapcash,” it is clear that pennies have outlived their usefulness — much like Dial up Internet or Harry Reid.
As such I would encourage all of you to take action! Write your congressperson, send emails, take to the streets in protest, and support pro-coinage reform candidates for higher office.
Send a message to “The Man” that we will no longer be subjected to his copper-coated, zinc-filled tyranny.
Have a Merry (penny free) Christmas!