The power of the penny

If we got rid of pennies, what would we put on our bedroom bureaus to replace the old milk bottle full of pennies?

These are the many questions that are surfacing as this video, posted this week, zips around the Internet. Another: How will we raise sales taxes — as we have for the arts, outdoors, gasoline, and maybe the Vikings — if we can’t raise them by an amount that provides a round-up to the nickel? That would raise all sales taxes to at least a dime.

Here’s another question: What would happen to fundraising ideas like the one? In Peterborough, Ontario, a kid started raising money for a Christmas charity. Noah Leslie only asked for pennies “because it’s the least you can ask for.” Today, he announced he’s raised $1,229.36 in pennies, which a bank is matching.

The same thing happened, more or less, over in New Richmond. Kids in a middle school last month held a “penny war,” raising about $700 for a food pantry:


The rules were: Each homeroom competed against other homerooms in the same grade. All silver and bills counted as negative toward their totals and pennies were counted as positive. The team with the highest positive amount (or closest to zero if they were all negative) was the winning homeroom, explained NRMS physical education teacher and Student Council co-advisor Karen Stellrecht.

The teacher said she wanted to teach the young people that every penny counts.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “The teacher said she wanted to teach the young people that every penny counts.”

    I guess we can at least be happy that the well-intended phy-ed teacher isn’t a math teacher.

    Perhaps she could have her students watch the wonderful video on the true value of a penny.

    If she want’s to teach kids to be financially intelligent rather than simply parsimonious, she should have them collect pre-1982 pennies, where a penny saved is TWO pennies earned.

    ( All the more to give to charity.)

  • Jon

    Both IL and NH take pennies in their tollway machines. Fairly certain that most self check lane machines in grocery stores accept them as well.

    As with most propaganda films the one above chooses the “facts” it wants to use, and runs with them.

    Despite the fact that the film presents false information to argue the penny should be killed, I do agree that the cent isn’t really worth it any more, and that given the pervasive nature of credit cards and electronic billing (something the US Mint has missed the boat on and unless the lobbyist from visa, mastercard, amex, and discover are all asleep at the switch will never be able to make it’s way into) doubt prices in most locations would even need to be changed… how the heck still pays in cash any where any how?