Stop making pennies.

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Pennies are literally worthless.

The U.S. loses money every time it makes a new penny because it costs 1.5 cents to make a penny. Last year alone, the U.S. lost $40 million just by making and shipping pennies. To put that into context, the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2018 budget request is only $29 million.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. The Mint has continued to be unsuccessful in finding cheaper materials to bring the cost of production below the value of several coins. The cost of making pennies and nickels have exceeded their value for 11 consecutive years. 

The purpose of coins, and money in general, is to make it easier to exchange goods and services. Pennies no longer achieve this. Because of inflation, they no longer have any significant purchasing power. The opportunity cost of using pennies to make exact change show that pennies are quite literally not worth your time. In addition, most coin-operated machines do not even accept pennies.

Even if they stopped making new pennies now, there would still be billions of pennies in circulation. Coins generally last 25 years before they wear out, giving everyone plenty of time to adjust to the transition. Other countries like Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, and Australia have already dropped their lowest-denomination coins and it had little noticeable impact. It's time the U.S. did the same and stop minting pennies.

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