A penny for your thoughts

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There’s a pretty funny article on CNN.com today – it turns out that the cost of the United States one-cent coin (a.k.a. the ‘penny’) has been rising for the last few years. It is currently 97.6% zinc & 2.4% copper, and since the price of “”http://www.usatoday.com/money/2006-05-09-penny-usat_x.htm">zinc is up 76% this year [and the price of] copper is up 68%," the penny currently costs 1.4 cents to make.

So Representative Jim Kolbe wants to implement the Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation Act [COIN Act – clever, no?]. If passed, all “”http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/01/news/newsmakers/penny/index.htm">cash transactions ending in 1, 2, 6, or 7 cents [would] be rounded down to the nearest 5 cents, while transactions ending in 3, 4, 8, or 9 cents would round up. Credit and debit card transactions could still be valued to the nearest cent."

Two potential problems with this act? “”http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/01/news/newsmakers/penny/index.htm">Americans overwhelmingly want the penny … They also hate rounding."


Joshua Finkelstein (Associate Editor, Nature)