My Two Cents on the One Cent

December 04, 2015

Fucking Pennies! Nobody likes you, you serve no purpose. Virtually no one's life is improved by the existance of the penny. We should stop making them from now on, and save some money and aggrevation. I tried to make this comic as factually accurate as possible, so here's a bunch of research!

Most importantly the claim that the penny costs more than a penny to make. This link from the Wall Street Journal explains in layman's terms that the penny cost 1.7 cents a piece to make last year, a decrease from 2.4 cents a piece a few years ago. And this link is the US Mint's report to Congress from 2014 explains in more technical terms that the penny costs more than it's worth, and there is literally nothing cheaper we could make into pennies. Further more these links go on to say that the nickel also costs more to make than it is worth, but let's stick with the penny for now.

As for the actual total cost of the penny, this page from wikipedia shows the numbers I used in the comic. in 2014 the US Mint made 8,146,400,000 pennies worth $81,464,000 in currency, that cost us $138,488,800. It's not going to balance the budget or anything, but a decision to stop making the penny would instantly add that $138,488,800 back unto the budget. On a side note also axing the nickel would add an additional $108,561,600 as well.

The claim that the penny is no longer used on military bases can be found here

And now for the controversial claim. Did the Bush Administration take money from the Social Security fund to help pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes, and no. Sorry nothing is clear cut black and white. According to Politifact Yes, Bush did take money from the Social Security trust fund, but pretty much every President does. Social Security is paid for by payroll taxes, and once all the payments are made out, any excess money is put into a trust fund that can be used to fund other government business. So yeah, Bush did take money from to fund, did he use it to pay for the war? We can't say. As is the nature of the budget you can't say anyone uses a specific source of money to pay for a specific item. The budget is a giant globular cluster of money sources used to pay for an even larger globular cluster of programs. You could make the argument that had Bush not lowered taxes on the rich, he wouldn't have needed to take money from the Social Security fund, but this is not the time and place.

For more examples of why we should get rid of the penny you should read this artical about how Canada has done since dropping the penny, or if reading isn't you thing, you probably haven't read this far into this post, but I digress. Watch these videos made by CGP Grey and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.