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Should America get rid of the penny.

There isn't much use for the one-cent coin. So why do we bother with it anymore?


Directions: Read the article. Study the facts. Decide what you think. Write an opinion essay.

In the early 1900s, you could treat yourself to a candy feast for just a few cents. Many sweets--such as Tootsie Rolls, hard candies, licorice, and bubble gum---cost just one penny per piece. (Yes, there really was such a thing as "penny candy.")

Now, finding a penny on the sidewalk might be good luck, but it won't do you much good otherwise.

These days, there's nothing you can buy for a penny. Few vending machines accept them, and using them to pay for pretty much anything is just a hassle. (Imagine hauling a thousand pennies to the movie theater for a ticket instead of a $10 bill.) Do we really need pennies at all?

Pinching Pennies

The part of the government that makes all of our coins is called the U.S. Mint. The Mint makes sure that Americans have enough coins to carry out our daily buying and selling.

It now actually costs the Mint more than a penny to make a penny. There's the cost of the metal (pennies are made of zinc and copper). Then there are the costs of running the Mint, including paying the people who work there. Add it up, and making a single penny costs about two cents. Doesn't make much cents--er, sense, does it?

Canada stopped making pennies in 2012.

So what are we waiting for?

Pretty Penny

There's a downside to the penniless life. All prices would have to be rounded to the nearest nickel, so costs could go up. For example, if a store had to round the price of a pizza slice that costs $1.97, it might be more likely to charge $2.00 than $1.95--so you'd be paying three cents more than you used to. That might not sound bad. But those little extra costs would quickly add up.

Plus, many Americans just love the penny. Old and rare pennies are prized collectibles. And some cherish the penny because of who's on it: the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln--one of our country's most beloved leaders. Indeed, a 2012 survey found that two thirds of adults want to keep the coin.

There's no denying the old saying: Every penny counts. Many charities, for instance, profit from pennies. Penny drives--campaigns that ask for donations of pennies--are often big successes.

So, a penny for your thoughts: Should the U.S. get rid of the penny?


Should the United States Mint stop producing pennies? Go back to the article and find information to support each side. Write the information on the lines below.

YES What a waste!

1 --

2 --

3 --

NO Every cent counts!

1 --

2 --

3 --

Study the points on both sides of the argument--and think about your own opinion. State your opinion in one sentence below, it can become the thesis statement for an opinion essay on this topic.



Answers will vary but should be similar to the following:

Yes: No one can buy anything for a penny nowadays. Many vending machines don't accept pennies, and paying for anything with pennies is a huge hassle. Plus, it costs too much to make pennies. The price of metal added to the cost of running the Mint results in a single penny costing about two cents to make.

No: Costs might go up because prices would have to be rounded to the nearest nickel. Those small price increases can quickly add up. Many Americans love the penny, and in a survey, two thirds of adults wanted to keep the penny. Also, charities and small business hold penny drives, which are campaigns that ask for penny donations. These penny drives are often very successful.
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Title Annotation:TAKE A SIDE: Debate
Author:O'Neill, Justin
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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