Down with the penny! (and the nickel)

This is just bloody brilliant:


I admit to both a newfound appreciation for vlogging after seeing this, and a newfound loathing for the penny (and the nickel). To hell with these “end the Fed” protests, we need an anti-penny movement.

109 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    The next to last samurai says:

    Ahoy mates! Today be international talk like a pirate day!

  3. 3
    Comrade Mary says:

    Oh — the Green brothers! (Well, you have just one of them here.) They have many, many awesome videos here.

  4. 4
    JenJen says:

    When it comes to vlogging, I’m very partial to Sam Seder’s awesome “That’s Bullshit” series. A taste:

    We’re Turning Into Greece? That’s Bullshit

  5. 5
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I can see his point, but I didn’t think the vid was very funny.

  6. 6
    Comrade Mary says:

    See also:

    The Greek Debt Crisis explained in 4 minutes

    The Stimulus Plan explained

    Is Obama a Muslim?

    (Yeah, this is all John, not Hank, but I loved him first.)

  7. 7
    jimBOB says:

    First, they came for my pennies. But there wasn’t anything to buy that only cost 1¢, so I said nothing. Then, they came for my nickels, but once again there was nothing (5¢ cigars a dim memory, and I don’t smoke anyway) for sale for a nickel, so I said nothing. When they came for my dimes, they were all out marching, and you can’t get a pay phone call for that amount anymore and anyway who uses pay phones? So I said nothing.

    Finally, one day I looked in my wallet and realized it was bereft of small change. I said “Yay! and went on my way.

    If they’re going to phase out coin denominations, I’d say dump the penny, nickel and dime, not the penny, nickel and quarter (nobody uses 50¢ pieces, and I doubt they will soon start). Other than that I pretty much agree with the guy.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    New Zealand did away with the penny, and more recently, the nickel as well. If you buy something with cash, the price gets rounded (to nearest, not just up, so sometimes you win this way). If you buy with ETFPOS (credit or debit card), the exact price goes through. This works fine.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It’s time for the dollar coin for real this time. It is clear from the newspapers that no longer does our neighbor to the north have a corner on the supply of Loonies.

  10. 10
    Cermet says:

    In a world where hundreds of millions will be killed (die younger) or displaced by AGW and what gets ED’s attention? When half a trillion dollars are wasted on a defense budget to fight no one and our economic base is falling apart, we fill space with the pressing issue of pennies.

  11. 11
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @jimBOB: It’s a lovely thought. However, I’d suggest you consider the issue of sales tax and recall they always round up.

    If your local sale tax is 7% and you purchase a $5.00 meal you will no longer owe $0.35. After all, no dimes, nickels and pennies are available. The tax, then, is $0.50.

  12. 12
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Cermet: Dude. Give. Me. A. Break.

  13. 13
    Chris says:

    @Chris: Oops, typo, EFTPOS not ETFPOS.

  14. 14
    Left Coast Tom says:

    For the seigniorage cost issue, just make the penny and nickel smaller…the Euro penny is smaller, and the Euro 5 cent piece looks like, and is about the size of, a US penny. That should solve the “problem”.

    For the ‘standing in line opportunity cost’ “issue”…has anyone here found someone willing to pay them for standing in line at a coffee shop? If not then the time is lost anyway, so how exactly is it economically lost time? If so…congratulations! And if it’s enough to actually pay a mortgage, how’d you do it?

    Apologies if I missed any other “issues” here.

  15. 15
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Kirk Spencer:


  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I hear you, ED. Sheesh. Pedantic assholes are at every end of the spectrum. At least ours can spell.

  17. 17
    Jewish Steel says:


    That dude is an off-brand, un-funny Merlin Mann. I seriously want to slap his over caffeinated mouth.

    I think You Look Nice Today already covered this topic anyway.

  18. 18
    Ash Can says:

    Concern troll is very, very concerned.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Zach says:

    plus 1 for the message; minus 1 for scaring me by making me think Eric Cantor is making a rational argument

  21. 21
    amorphous says:

    To hell with pennies! Bring me my Ameros!

  22. 22
    JamesC says:


    In a world where hundreds of millions will be killed (die younger) or displaced by AGW and what gets Cermet’s attention? When half a trillion dollars are wasted on a defense budget to fight no one and our economic base is falling apart, we fill comment space with the pressing issue of why E. D. Kain isn’t monomaniacally focused on what Cermet think is more important and/or interesting to read.

  23. 23

    In honor of talk like a pirate day: Lady Smudge is in ur boxes, sayin’ “Aarrghhh, matey!”. Yes, she likes them boxes. (for those who don’t check prev. open threads)

  24. 24

    And on-topic, are we back to the “Kill the Penny” bullshit? This has been going on since at least when I was a kid (70s).

  25. 25
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Ash Can: Laugh if you will — but he’s going to London in 2012 to be concerned for America!.

    Show our Olympians some love — to get to be world class, you’ve got to give up any semlbance of a normal life.

    USA! USA! USA! Eat pixels, all you foreign trolls. (I’m looking at you, Niall Ferguson….)

  26. 26
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: The Hon. Plantagenet Palliser, long before becoming Chancellor, or Duke of Omnium, never mind Prime Minister, wrestled with the decimal coinage — and it was the early 70’s before the UK took the plunge. That’s over a century.

    Don’t rush us.

  27. 27
    JamesC says:

    Man, there are billions of things you can do with copper that’s more productive than melting it into physical currency.

    Can say that for most metals, in fact. Chump change is for chumps.

  28. 28
    MTiffany says:

    “A penny saved is a penny earned,” said the man on the hundred dollar bill.

  29. 29
    eemom says:

    ok, E.D., you have officially won my heart. I HATE pennies. Hate, hate, HATE them.

    I have even gone so far as to throw them in the trash — especially when they’re old and icky and dirty.

    However, I was recently guilt-tripped on the subject by eedad, who pointed out that they help charities because of those store counter jars.

    : (

  30. 30
    wasabi gasp says:

    I’m just shocked Stossel lost the stache.

  31. 31
    Chat Noir says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I believe there was a “West Wing” episode dealing with killing o’ the penny. Sam Seaborn was the one investigating it.

    Sigh…I miss that show. Thank goodness for DVDs.

    And, BTW, Lady Smudge is beautiful.

  32. 32
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Get rid of all coins and make the dollar the new penny! That’s about all it’s worth, right?

    Pennies are useful for heat sink shims (for getting rid of those sucky OEM sink pads) in gaming laptops. Just be sure to use the copper ones, not the copper-clad zinc type.

  33. 33
    gnomedad says:

    Five minutes after a Democrat proposes abolishing pennies, he or she will be attacked by a teabagger because sales tax will be rounded up or some such shit.

  34. 34

    @Chat Noir:
    Yes, I remember that episode now. Great show, too. I have several seasons on Amazon streaming.

  35. 35
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    It is clear from the newspapers that no longer does our neighbor to the north have a corner on the supply of Loonies.

    But 5 minutes at the Values Voter Summit could have told you the same thing, amirite?

  36. 36
    JPL(formerly demo woman) says:

    It is not cost effective to continue producing the penny but do we really have to get rid of the nickle and dime? Also, Too.
    How many folks have gone out for lunch and not received any change back? The way it works is you give the waiter/waitress a ten for a $4.50 lunch and you get back 5 ones. Okay the $4.50 lunch is doubtful but you get the point. Then they hope besides the 20% tip you forget about the change. I tend to leave a larger tip at lunch because the meals are less expensive. Anyway that is a new practice that irritates me and the server can count on receiving a lower tip.

  37. 37
    Bill says:

    I don’t know about all the new coins in the last many years, but the penny used to be the only coin that had its figurehead’s profile facing to the right; ol’ Abe, at that, go figure.

  38. 38
    fasteddie9318 says:


    Five minutes after a Democrat proposes abolishing pennies anything, he or she will be attacked by a teabagger because sales tax will be rounded up or of some such shit.


  39. 39
    Joel says:

    I’ve been banging this drum for years.

    Some in this thread have brought up sales tax.

    How about this; abolish sales tax, too.

    It’s about the most regressive form of taxation you can imagine, and it hurts businesses. Why not just get the taxes from properties and incomes, which most cities and states do, anyways?

  40. 40
    jimBOB says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    Then tell them not to round up (as they do in New Zealand). And if you really care that much about your 15¢, pay with a card.

  41. 41
    JPL(formerly demo woman) says:

    @Joel: but, but Bozo Boortz thinks we should abolish the income tax and do a sales tax. It’s only fair. I’m not sure he knows the definition of fair.

  42. 42
    jimBOB says:


    I’d never mistake him for Cantor; doesn’t have the right kind of vacant look in the eyes.

  43. 43
    gbear says:

    But…but…I just got one of the new design pennies this week (after finally finding the last of the 100 state quarters). The new design is incredibly boring.

    PS: NEVER put a nine-volt battery in a pocket that also contains pennies. It hurts.

    @eemom: Don’t you have any jars in your house? Saving them beats throwing them away.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @JPL(formerly demo woman):

    It’s clear to any Serious Person that the only fair tax is one that forces the peasant to balance the budget via taxes on the food that it purchases for itself and its brood. What we do now, taxing our corporate supermen on their earnings and/or inheritance, is completely counterproductive. Taxation of the wealthy prevents many of them from taking leisurely drives through the city in their Bugattis, during which, if circumstances align, many of them might have occasion to spit out the window and have some of it land on a peasant, transferring a tiny bit of their Galtian essence to the lowly wretch. This is the only way society can advance. What we’re doing now is subsidizing the peasant’s sustenance and the sustenance of its progeny, which achieves nothing but the pauperization of the gene pool. It is totally counterproductive.

  46. 46
    JamesC says:


    …what an excellent idea for a prank you’ve just given me.

  47. 47
    Bruuuuce says:

    Why not just multiply all prices by 100 while maintaining salaries at par? That way, nobody can afford anything anymore, so the masses will starve. The idiots who didn’t think they were wealthy (like that U of Chicago law prof jerk) will be proven right, and the folks making $4 million or more per year can scream even louder about how they’re not wealthy, really. [/snark]

    Tell you what. You want to retire all the pennies in the country, send them to me. I’m sure I can figure out something productive to do with them, one way or another :-D

  48. 48
    Gromit says:


    If they’re going to phase out coin denominations, I’d say dump the penny, nickel and dime, not the penny, nickel and quarter (nobody uses 50¢ pieces, and I doubt they will soon start). Other than that I pretty much agree with the guy.

    But if you drop the penny, the nickel, and the quarter, you could start notating prices using only the tenths place. This could save a lot of money on signage.

  49. 49
    gbear says:

    @JamesC: Be careful. I just got slightly burned from a hot battery. I don’t know what would have happened if the battery had stayed in contact with the coin. Could be dangerous.

  50. 50
    Bill D. says:

    Why do we need to make new pennies anyways? If we are using less cash then the billions of pennies that are in circulation now should be able fill the needs for the bastard coin.

  51. 51
    Craig says:

    Is there a coherent argument in favor of the penny?

  52. 52
    JPL(formerly demo woman) says:

    Where’s John McCain when we need him. He’s out their screaming about wasting a million studying bear sperm but 70 million is real money.

  53. 53
    eemom says:


    I’d never mistake him for Cantor; doesn’t have the right kind of vacant look in the eyes.

    YES. Exactly. You are the first other person I’ve encountered who took specific note of that uniquely vacuous expression of his.

    There is something about it, also, that makes one wonder why he doesn’t trip and break and his neck at least 15 times a day, as it seems almost inconceivable that he has any idea where he’s going.

  54. 54
    Bhall35 says:

    @mr. whipple: And karma evens out a little in the state of Delaware after the primary. I can only imagine what Zappa would have made of O’Donnell…maybe there’s a song?

  55. 55
    futzinfarb says:


    I have often wondered how long it would be before we begin to mine our landfills for resources that we throw away – become a nation of garbage pickers, as it were.

  56. 56
    JonathanW says:

    @JPL(formerly demo woman): That’s ridiculous! As a former waiter/bartender, someone doing that to me on a check would make me not give any additional tip.

    What I did do was round up my customers’ change to the nearest quarter (i.e. if they owed $7.46, I’d give back $2.75 from a $10 bill), so in some cases I could potentially lose up to $.24 but it was worth it to me to not have to deal with any lesser coins.

  57. 57
    fasteddie9318 says:


    Is there a coherent argument in favor of the penny?

    YES: Jesus, Ronald Reagan, the Founding Fathers, and shut up, that’s why.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    The next to last samurai:

    Today be international talk like a pirate day!

    It’s a cop out having Talk Like A Pirate Day on a Sunday. Talk Like A Pirate Day should always occur on a workday during the regular business week. If it falls on weekend, move it.



  59. 59
    monkeyboy says:

    Will this help minimal wage cash till operators at all?

    The last time I went to McDonalds the bill was 3.59. I gave the guy a 4 dollar bills and while he was entering that I gave him a dime because I wanted quarters back. He was stumped at what change to give me – I eventually had to say 2 quarters and a penny.

  60. 60
    futzinfarb says:


    I think the most likely argument for the penny would come from a psycho-economist. (Yes, I just made that academic discipline up.) Could the elimination of the penny have some irrational (?) and deleterious effect on consumer perceptions of the value of the (fiat) dollar leading, for instance, to a disaster like hyperinflation? I’ll volunteer to lead the study with a federal research grant to the tune of, oh, let’s say $70 M.

  61. 61
    D-Chance. says:

    Hey, he takes PayPal!

    Evidently, this has all been Cole’s fault… because others don’t seem to have these problems.

    Oh, yeah, the penny. I have, for YEARS, advocated revamping the currency.

    Coins: penny, nickel, quarter, dollar (Eisenhower size, thank you). Bills: five, twenty, hundred.

    Kill the dime. Kill the dollar bill. Kill the ten dollar bill. Much more efficient.

    And ban the usage of fractional cents in retail. No more 9/10ths of a cent in gasoline pricing.

  62. 62
    stuckinred says:

    Boardwalk Empire!

  63. 63
    futzinfarb says:


    It just occurred to me – isn’t psycho-economist redundant?

  64. 64
  65. 65
    JGabriel says:

    E.D. Kain:

    Dude. Give. Me. A. Break.

    Heh. I think Kain is finally a Juicer.

    Edited To Add: Be a 100% certain of that if he’d dropped a “Fucking.” between the “A.” and the “Break.”


  66. 66
    Chad N Freude says:

    @futzinfarb: Re “psycho-economist”: Well, there are behavioral economists who factor human psychology and irrational behavior into economics. Unless, of course, you were referring to economists who are psychotic.

  67. 67
    300baud says:

    I am 100% in favor of this. I lived in Australia for a while, where they had nixed both the penny and the $1 bill. It worked fine, and I still miss it.


    Your mention of pricing gas in 10ths of a cent is actually a fine example of what happens when your prices are more finely denominated than your coins: absolutely nothing. Nobody notices or cares that we don’t have have coins smaller than a penny, and that’s exactly how they’ll feel a few years after we nix it.

  68. 68
    eemom says:

    all right, all right…….I will NEVER throw a penny away again, I promise.

    Can we just get RID of the useless mofos now, plz??

  69. 69
    goblue72 says:

    This is nothing but a lame white geek’s Jay Smooth.

  70. 70
    Warren Terra says:

    I’m not sure that’s exactly a fair representation of vlogging: the guy is clearly a practiced performer, he maintained a high energy level, he didn’t stutter, repeat himself, or go off topic (and so likely had a script prepared), and he edited multiple performances together with all those jump cuts to different angles and postures. He was reasonably groomed, well lit, and the picture was sharp. It was much more of a television essay than typical vlogging, which usually entails some poorly lit grimy youth meandering into a fixed low-resolution camera.

    As to his points: it’s absurd that we still have the penny (I like Abe too, but he’s on the $5 – twice), and it’s nuts that we haven’t rolled out a decent dollar coin (the Susan B Anthony and the Sacajawea were both hard to tell from a quarter in your hand, because of restrictions imposed by legacy vending machines; and it’s possible that the worthy gender politics of their figureheads disinclined Bubba to like them) and that we haven’t retired the $1 bill (again, George will be OK, he’ll still have the quarter, and is the easiest one to spot on the $2 bill to boot). I’m less convinced about ditching the nickel, which is closer to being useful in small transactions, though if it can’t be made more cheaply than $.09 maybe it really should go. Maybe we could replace Hamilton or Grant with Jefferson if we do ditch the nickel.

    Oh, and that guy really needs a better T-shirt designer.

  71. 71
    Warren Terra says:


    It’s a cop out having Talk Like A Pirate Day on a Sunday. Talk Like A Pirate Day should always occur on a workday during the regular business week. If it falls on weekend, move it.

    You’re saying we need “International Talk Like A Pirate Day (Observed)” the same way we (but not I think many other countries, for their holidays) have “Memorial Day (Observed)”, “Presidents’ Day (Observed)”, etcetera?

  72. 72
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Warren Terra: I was actually motivated to look up the vlogger and I found these:

    He and his brother and some English kid who works with them are indeed practiced performers, and I think they’re pretty good entertainers (mostly because I think they think like I do).

  73. 73
    mr. whipple says:


    I can only imagine what Zappa would have made of O’Donnell…maybe there’s a song?

    I found this quote:

    “Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons.” –Frank Zappa

  74. 74
    Bhall35 says:

    @mr. whipple: I mostly remember his days in front of Congress during the whole PMRC business w/Tipper, etc. I’m not too well versed on his music, I’m afraid.

  75. 75
    Bill Murray says:

    @JamesC: “Man, there are billions of things you can do with copper that’s more productive than melting it into physical currency.”

    which may be why the penny no longer has much copper in it. It’s been 97.5% zinc since 1982

  76. 76
    WaterGirl says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: If I recall correctly from the show, you can’t get rid of the penny because Lincoln’s on the penny, and he was from Illinois.

  77. 77
    Anne Laurie says:

    Just out of curiosity, anybody raise the issue that the new mostly-zinc pennies have poisoned quite a few dogs, and possibly some babies / toddlers?

  78. 78
    coldie says:

    Angry Video Game Nerd did a great “You know what’s Bullshit” about this a while back. Hope you catch this link way down the thread!

    its a little more blunt but quite funny!

  79. 79
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Jewish Steel: Never heard of him (Merlin Mann). Googled him. Looks interesting.

    @mr. whipple: That’s funny. stuckinred quoted three Zappa songs in the NFL open thread below.

  80. 80
    cokane says:

    thanks for sharing.

    couldn’t say i really agree with the video though. $1 billion dollars/year isn’t that much waste in the scope of our government’s yearly budget. The author is right that the only reason pennies and nickels remain is sentimentality.

    I really found the part about “opportunity cost” obnoxiously sanctimonious, and it reminded me of why I find people who pretend economics is a serious science to be annoying. “I’m not going to get into,” the author says, and then proceeds to explain the idea in one sentence. “Opportunity cost” is not some complex thing, and yet the video maker seems to believe it is.

  81. 81
    Martin says:

    I agree completely. Nuke the penny, replace it with a dollar coin. Stupid obvious, and reprogramming everything creates jobs.

  82. 82
    JGabriel says:

    Warren Terra:

    You’re saying we need “International Talk Like A Pirate Day (Observed)” …

    Well, when you make it all official sounding like that, then it sounds pretentious.

    But sure, yeah.


  83. 83
    Comrade Coffin says:


    FZ did a whole album about O’Donnell in 1982
    Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch

  84. 84
    magurakurin says:

    In Japan the 1 Yen coin appears to me to be plastic. I’m not sure what it really is, but its very light and vaguely metallic light the foil one finds on some wrapping and packaging. Cashier aren’t as amped and unhappy(at least not outwardly so) and neither are the rest of the people in a line, so nobody frets as we each take our turn counting out the exact change from our little coin purses. I imagine they are cheap to make and are nothing more than counters for the sales tax. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with them. Perhaps the States could consider making a penny like that.

    The really annoying thing in America to me is the paper Dollar. Now there’s some worthless, disease ridden crap. Japan has 1yen, 5yen, 10yen, 50yen, 100yen and 500yen coins. Paper money is 1000, 5000, and 10000 notes. 500yen coins are great, much better than five dollar bills. People save them in piggy banks(they really add up) or use them for lunch at the numerous places that will have “one coin” lunch special. 100 yen coins are also useful when combined with two 10’s to get a drink from a soda or coffee machine. Whenever I go home I am always more and more struck by how worthless dollar bills have become. You can’t buy shit with a dollar anymore, it’s hard to use them in vending machines since they are all so old and filthy, and parking meters and phones(but only drug dealers and vistors from abroad use pay phones anyway) don’t take them. But all those things cost a lot now. You need to have a pocket full of quarters.

    Americans really need to get their mind around the fact that they aren’t all that and just admit that the currency has devalued and fix it. I mean it really ain’t worth shit in Japan. The yen was at 82 to the dollar last week.

  85. 85
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:


    Catholic Girls?

  86. 86
    priscianus jr says:

    As the father of small children, I believe there is a valid argument for the penny. Kids are just as interested in pennies as they are in quarters, but if they are going to play with on eor the other I’d rather they played with pennies.
    Second of all, if you go out for a walk you will almost always find pennies on the sidewalk. That is good luck. But not only that, the kids can have them and after a while they will have a whole jar full.
    The there’s the old, if you have a penny put it in, if you need a penny take it, which you sometimes (actually not that often) see at the cashier’s desk in a restaurant.
    There was a time in my life (and it was a while ago, but people were already tired of pennies) when I was so broke that all I had was a great big jar of pennies. I used to scour the streets for empty deposit cans and bottles (which most stores will not accept anyway) and cash them in. Eventually I had enough to get on the subway. There was one fare clerk who flat out refused to take pennies, and I had something like 15 of them to make up the fare. I told her that to my knowledge they were still coin of the realm and she had absolutely no right to refuse them in payment, and waited until she gave up.
    So you see, I have absolutely nothing against pennies or nickels.

  87. 87
    mr. whipple says:

    @Comrade Coffin:

    “Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch“

    sardines in her eyebrows,
    lobsters up and down her forhead
    all of them horribly large from radiation

    and smelling very bad and dangerous

  88. 88
    RareSanity says:


    I visited Japan for the first time last week, and I completely agree with you. It took me two days to realize, “Hey, these damn coins can actually buy stuff!”

    Sadly, most of them went to whatever that zero calorie, lemon flavored, carbonated drink is that is in all of the vending machines and beef and rice bowls at the little stands at the train stations. Japanese “fast food” kicks ass! It tastes better and is cheaper than the slop we buy in the U.S.

    Dealing with useful coinage was a strange, yet wonderful experience. However, the minimum amount of 10,000 yen for an ATM withdrawal at 7/11 was pretty annoying.

  89. 89
    eemom says:

    Andy Rooney did a great anti-penny screed once at the end of some long ago 60 Minutes episode. I’m so old I can’t even remember what decade it was.

  90. 90
    magurakurin says:


    not to suggest that your argument isn’t valid, but it is an argument for sentimentality. There are few and probably no practical arguments in favor of the penny(or the paper dollar in my opinion).

  91. 91
    Joel says:

    I like the Australian system. Plastic dollar bills. Coinage is a huge PITA for wallet-holders like myself and (I assume) most American men. I’m not carrying coinpurses anytime soon and it would suck to lose more than a few quarters in the couch when I lie down.

    Kill the penny and the nickel, change all the dollars to plastic.

  92. 92
    Anoniminous says:


    @Chad N Freude:

    “Psycho-economics” is SO 1970s.

    All the Kewl Kidz, Ph.&d. are learnin’ neuro-economics.

  93. 93
    cyd says:

    The trouble with getting rid of the penny is that the guy on it saved the country.

  94. 94
    Triassic Sands says:

    Oh, yeah? Well, I hate “paper” dollar bills. I hate them more than I hate pennies, about which I am neutral. And nickels — neutral again. If this country had any sense, it would produce a dollar coin and save a ton of money. Oh, wait. We already did that and the American consumer, including all those TeaBaggers who object so strenuously to government waste, decided they didn’t like dollar coins.

    However, the cost argument is pretty compelling.

    Anyway, I suggest getting rid of currency altogether. I have it on good authority that the economy would run just fine if we all traded chickens for the goods and services we need or want.


    If you buy something with cash, the price gets rounded (to nearest, not just up, so sometimes you win this way).

    I’m going to assume that since prices aren’t set by Nature they will be set in such a way that there is no effective rounding down. Today, if I buy something priced at $2.97, then the price would be rounded down to $2.95. Tomorrow, there would be nothing in the store priced at $2.97 — the prices on such items would be adjusted to $3.00 or in a particularly sneaky ploy they would be bumped up to $3.01. Then, at the register the price would be adjusted to $3.00 and the sucker would think he or she had gotten a deal. In reality, the consumer would have paid $0.04 more, not a penny less.

    I’ve always assumed that the reason things are priced at $?.99 was for psychological reasons. Gasoline at $2.999 somehow feels more than a penny less than $3.00. However, if we got rid of pennies (and/or nickels) I’m pretty sure the repricing of things would be done to accomplish the same thing, without saving the consumer anything at all.

    Still, I would favor the termination of both the penny and nickel — no coin should cost more to produce than its face value. Either make them out of something less expensive (rusty nickels?) or get rid of them.

  95. 95
    Craig says:

    Obviously, you were responding to priscianus jr. I am very anti-penny. Also, anti-the guy who bitched about Kain talking about pennies when there’s wars going on and stuff.

  96. 96
    magurakurin says:


    sorry boss, yeah, you’re right.

  97. 97
    magurakurin says:

    ATM machines are not super convenient in Japan. They have high fees after hours and many are simply closed. The Post Office is the best place(although not 24 hours). The fees are less and you can take out 1000 yen if you want. But in Japan 10,000 yen notes are not like hundred dollar bills in the States. You can use them everywhere for anything. You can buy a 120 yen can of coffee at the Lawson or 7-11 and the clerk won’t bat an eye or give you that dirty suspicious look they give you in the States. It’s a cash culture for sure here.

    And yes, Japanese fast food kicks ass on US fast food. But that’s true of just about anywhere. Like in Paris, you can get righteous panni’s just about on any street corner and they kick ass on a Whopper all day long. Mexico has its tacos and Venezuela has those, arrepas(?) little corn bread rolls stuffed with beans and all kinds of stuff. They kick ass.

  98. 98
    wasabi gasp says:

    It’s high time we scrap the nickle and finalize that transition to empty soda bottles.

  99. 99
    RadioOne says:

    the sheer obnoxiousness of that guy in the video almost compels me to contact Congress and implore them to write legislation to up the penny production over at the Treasury.

  100. 100
    MTiffany says:

    If this guy is so concerned about “opportunity costs,” why is he posting a vlog bitching about pennies when he should be doing something else, something more important and worthwhile and productive and therefore profitable, like curing cancer, or lowering marginal tax rates?

  101. 101
    frosty says:

    @mr. whipple:

    How did I miss Zappa’s unveiling? I wasted an afternoon watching the Ravens! (And then the last innings of the Orioles, who beat the wretched Yankees in overtime, woo-hoo!)

    I coulda been there! Dayam!

  102. 102
    frosty says:

    @futzinfarb: 15 years minimum, 40 years max. Read John Michael Greer’s “The Long Descent” for a good intro to Salvage Industrialism.

  103. 103
    Tattoosydney says:


    I like the Australian system. Plastic dollar bills.

    Um – we have plastic notes, but both the 1 dollar and the two dollar are coins only.

  104. 104
    John Bird says:

    Yeah, true, producing those coins is dumb. The problem now is how to convince people of that with the oft-cited evidence, which hasn’t happened.

  105. 105
    Recall says:

    @John Bird:

    Easy, you put Lincoln on the dollar coin, and design it to look like an oversized penny. You still have pennies, it’s just that the new ones are a hundred times more valuable.

  106. 106
    SRW1 says:

    Related factoid: When Finland introduced the Euro, it decided that, in contrast to other Euro zone countries, Finland would not use 1 and 2 cent coins. Instead, all prices at checkouts would be rounded to the next 5 cents, and that is what has been practiced ever since. As a consequence, the only 1 or 2 cent coins ever issued in Finland where the ones contained in the Euro ‘starter packs’ which therefore have become sought after items.

    Did this guy work as an adviser for the Finnish government?

  107. 107
    roshan says:

    I stumbled across this anti-Fed video a few days ago: The Creature From Jekyll Island. The guy Griffin talks about how the Fed idea originated from a secret meeting of seven wealthy men (political and business class) in 1910 on a private island. The actual bill to form the Fed was passed in 1913. I was very interested at first about this secret meeting and all, but once he reaches the point where he talks about how the Fed operates (around the 25 minutes mark in the video), he lost me. Still, the origins of the Fed and the idea behind it are really murky and there is a lot of intrigue in there.

  108. 108
    JB says:

    How about adding a requirement that all prices must be shown inclusive of all taxes – that gets rid of most of the counter arguments, and has the benefit of showing people what things really cost to them.

  109. 109
    Peter says:

    @magurakurin: Japan’s bank system is a clusterfuck. The only place you can reliably get money during the holiday season is the 7-11.

    This is particularly egregious because, like you said, they have a largely cash-based economy.

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