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Canada drops the penny; will the US ever do away with it?

By on March 31, 2012

Canada is killing the penny!

Canada will withdraw the penny from circulation this year, saving taxpayers about C$11 million ($11 million) annually and forcing retailers to round prices to the nearest nickel, the government announced in its budget [Thursday].

Doug Mataconis wonders if we’ll ever get with the program:

The situation is actually even nuttier here in the United States, where it costs 2.4 cents to produce each penny, but efforts to eliminate the penny have always died in Congress. The President’s new budget included a proposal to allow the US Mint to study the use alternative metals in coin production in the hope that this would reduce costs, but that’s likely only a short term measure.

A couple months ago, Tim Fernholz examined the groups that don’t want to change our coin system, like zinc miners and businesses with a stake in vending machines:

The penny paradox is a dilemma at the heart of democratic government—a engaged, concentrated group of people who benefit from spending can keep it going, even if it’s not in the broad public interest.

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