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Curious Whether The Penny Should Be Phased Out

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(AP Graphic)

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BOSTON (CBS) – With all of us watching every penny these days, some people say it’s the penny that’s a problem.

Bob from Hudson Declared his Curiosity:

“Why doesn’t the government phase out the penny? Seems like a waste of money, copper and zinc.”

At MIT, one professor is pushing to abolish the penny for good.

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports.

“The penny is no longer worth using because it doesn’t facilitate a cash transaction, so we should retire it,” said Jeff Gore, an MIT professor.

Gore is an MIT physics professor who also has an economics degree and a website called RetireThePenny.org.

“It costs about 1.7 cents to make every penny, which means that every one of our 4 billion pennies that we mint every year is a money loser,” said Gore.

Gore also calculated that consumers lose two extra seconds on every slow transaction using pennies.

“So these things add up to over an hour of wasted time per person per year,” said Gore.

See: Other Curiosity Stories

The revolt against the penny is also playing out, symbolically enough, in the town of Concord, where people know a little something about civil disobedience and battling against something they don’t really want.

Two years ago, about a dozen Concord stores started rounding down every transaction. The protest didn’t kill the penny, except for in Bill Griffin’s mind.

“They’re kind of dead to me,” said Griffin of pennies

At his Sally Anne’s Bakery, Griffin re-programmed the registers to always round to the nearest nickel.

Without a move from the president, the penny survives, which is a good thing for people who love another president.

“Absolutely keep it! I’m a Lincoln fan. I adore Abraham Lincoln,” said one fan of the 16th president.

“This is certainly not, in any way, an attempt to devalue Lincoln’s contributions,” said Gore.

For now, Honest Abe lives on in copper…and in your piggy bank.

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