Pennies & Nickels Cost More To Produce Than They’re Worth (Should We Keep Them?)

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Pennies cost 1.7 cents to produce. Think that’s bad? One nickel costs the U.S. more than 9 cents.

In a well-argued rant against modern American currency, Vlogbrothers’ John Green waxes about the unnecessary cost caused by the lesser of American mint: The penny and the nickel. According to Green, $70 million of federal tax money goes to subsidizing the existence of the penny each year, all the while the coin itself is worth just a fraction of what it once was, rendering it irrelevant to contemporary currency. “We’re a species of sentimentalists,” Green says in his blog posted to YouTube. “The only reason we have pennies is because people like pennies and they grew up with pennies and they like Abraham Lincoln, but let me tell you: If Abraham Lincoln was alive today he’d say, “Why is my face on a coin that is worth 1/26th of what it was worth when I was president?”

Instead, Green suggests a three-coin system: a dime, a 50-cent piece and a dollar coin, which he claims, would up the efficiency of the U.S. dollar and save us millions in the process. (Though he does seem to downplay the transition of such an overhaul.) Planted firmly behind his alternative monetary plan, Green maintains that his argument is not a  political issue, but a rational one.”For everyone else in the United States pennies are not just worthless, but incredibly expensive.”  Touche.