Majority of Americans want to keep the penny

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Majority of Americans want to keep the penny

Charles Peckman, News Reporter

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Just as I was futzing over why I should so ardently support a minuscule, copper-colored coin that bears the face of our 16th president, I watched Season 3, Episode 5 of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” which revolves around the potential end of the penny. Although Sorkin’s characters, like so many people, immediately dismiss the penny under the guise that it costs more to make than it is worth, I would like to remind you of one simple word: inflation.

Yes, the penny may not have the buying power it used to (i.e., when your grandparents talk about buying a Coke for a nickel), but neither does the $100 bill. While many say the U.S. is losing millions per year minting pennies (which is, in fact, accurate), then we must be making a killing on good ol’ Benjamin Franklin, which costs only $0.13 to print.

The problem doesn’t lie in our need (or lack thereof) of the penny, the problem lies in the sheer value of our currency. After President Nixon took the U.S. off the Gold Standard in 1971, the dollar became unrestricted — that is, as increases in the “money supply” cause the dollar to corrode, the value of material goods has become somewhat of a misnomer among those who wish to advocate for the abolishment of Abe Lincoln’s copper face.

But don’t take my word for it. A Harris Poll from 2015 garnered interesting results — 51 percent of Americans wish to keep the penny, while a large percent say they don’t have much of an opinion on the matter. So there is my two — or rather one — cent.