There’s something that’s a big part of our everyday lives that we don’t even think about. It rattles around in our pockets or in our purses and we dole it out unthinkingly several times a day to all kinds of businesses as we purchase whatever we need or whatever we want.
Any guesses as to what it might be? O.K. Let me save you some time. It is the Penny.
This little coin has quite a history. The penny was the first coin ever minted by the United States. That happened back in 1793. There are a lot of pennies. The U.S. Mint is now producing 30 million a day. 8 Billion per year. No wonder there are so many jangling around in our pockets and purses.
And yet over the years something has happened to the penny. A penny is not worth a penny. You see, pennies are made of copper coated zinc which has increased in price. The result? To produce one cent it now costs the Treasury two cents. That old saying a “penny saved is a penny earned” no longer applies. Because the government now loses one cent for every one it makes.
This never occurs to us because we don’t think much about our pennies. Whenever we get one in change, say at a restaurant, many of us just leave it on the counter for someone else to use. But, with the cost of a producing a penny exceeding its value and with 8 Billion pennies being produced each year, that means the government and we the taxpayers lose 80 million dollars a year.
For many years now, U.S. military bases have not used the penny. They just round up purchases to the nearest nickel. And, what about the nickel? It’s worth 5 cents. Right? But, would you believe it costs 9 cents to manufacture?
It is a strange irony. Because of higher prices, our money buys us less…but…costs us more.
Something to think about as we live through… .Our Times.