John Green Hates Pennies (and Nickels)

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So I'm a few weeks late to this party, but after Kottke.org picked up John Green's anti-penny rant I felt obligated under the Blogger Code to post this video. (For those who haven't been reading this blog for 3+ years, John Green is a former mental_floss blogger.) And I must say, I call John's video a "rant" in the most erudite and professional way -- John lays out the argument against pennies, and gives a few nods to the arguments in favor of pennies (which he argues are largely sentimental). Oh, and he also hates nickels for similar reasons.

Representative quote: "If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he would say: 'Why is my face on a coin that is worth 1/26 of what a penny was worth when I was President?'"

For more reading on this subject, see my post from 2008, The Great Penny Debate, which points to an interesting New Yorker article on the subject. For his part, John describes his video as follows:

In which John Green discusses his virulent hatred for pennies and nickels, two utterly irrelevant coins that inexplicably remain money in the United States of America. It costs more than 1.7 cents to make a 1 cent penny coin in the US; nickels are even more ridiculous, costing more than nine cents to produce.

UPDATE: Those statistics are out of date. In 2009, it cost 1.6 cents to make a penny and 6.1 cents to make a nickel; the US Mint lost 22 million on penny and nickel production, not the 70 million they lost in 2008. (This is because the recession has made zinc and nickel cheaper.) Thank to youtuber http://www.youtube.com/sivartis for the correction.

My inflation calculations came from the CPI inflation calculator: http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

Information about the opportunity cost implications of pennies and the calculations of lost productivity can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/... and here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04...

As always, get your penny-lovin' or penny-hatin' blood pumping in the comments!

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September 24, 2010 - 7:35am
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