Monday, February 18, 2008

2/18/08 I Still Hate Pennies

It's abundantly clear that, if I were to focus my time, smarts and emotional energy towards any of numerous valuable causes, that it would be worthwhile. Instead, I fester on ridiculous topics that really have no long term value. Today, I'm going to revisit one of those worthless topics for no good reason. I'm still pushing to erradicate the penny from our lives.

Long ago, I was taught to use less sensitive words when trying to make a point like this. I would have gotten docked a full letter grade for using "erradicate". For example, I once had to write a persuasive essay and take the side of killing deer for the benefit of the local community. We were taught to use words like "cull" instead of "murder" and "kill". But now that we're talking about pennies instead of deer... and I don't receive a letter grade for any of this... I say... Fuck that. I'm not going to play to the sensitivies of penny lovers. If you love pennies, you probably enjoy liking your back window too. In fact, let's go all out here. Let's have a penny holocaust.

Due to the rising cost of zinc (pennies are 97.5% zinc), it now costs the federal reserve almost 2 cents to make every penny. This is nothing new. It has been more expensive to make a penny than spend a penny for the better part of a decade now.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be listening to a "60 Minutes" episode that focused on this exact topic. Not only does it cost nearly 2 cents to make a penny, but it also costs almost 10 cents to make a nickel. In typical "60 Minutes" fashion, they explored the other side of the coin. (har har)... They checked out "Americans for Common Cents". It's a group that appears to be looking out for consumers and the poorest Americans, saying that it would cost us around $600 million in accumulated rounding payments. (Even if that's true, that equates to a whole 2 dollars for every man, woman and child in this country). As it turns out, Mark Weller is one of the most influential voices for "Americans for Common Cents". Would you be surprised to find out that Mark Weller also has "a financial interest in the high cost of penny pinching: Weller is a lobbyist for Jarden Zinc, the Tennessee company that sells those little blank discs for the mint to turn into Lincoln pennies."? Yeah, me neither.

If you like your pennies because you have some sort of sentimental connection to your childhood... ok, fine. But if you argue that it makes financial sense to keep them around, you're an idiot. However, if you can sell 301 pennies for $10.7 Million, you're an absolute genius.

Speaking of a penny - postage is going up another cent from 41 to 42 this coming May. You can still buy the "forever stamp" at 41 cents. I'm looking to buy some. Not to save money. But to save myself trips to the post office. I use stamps so infrequently, every time I buy a roll, they raise the price another cent or two. Then it's just a pain in my ass to get 1 and 2 cent stamps. Trust me here - the price of stamps has almost exactly kept with inflation for almost a century now. You're not going to save anything buy stocking up. Except, perhaps, another trip to the post office.

Oh yeah - Happy President's Day...


Do I seem a bit Andy Rooney angry lately? It's not intentional. I'm actually fine.

So, to make it up to you, here's some unnecessary censorship.

Even The Count from Sesame Street needs censorship!

Finally... Sarah Silverman has something to get off her chest...

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