Curious Whether The Penny Should Be Phased Out

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

“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.

More from Declare Your Curiosity
  • alanonthego

    IF anyone wants to get rid of their pennies, I’ll take them.

  • LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

    until state either round their sales tax up or down, we CAN’T abolish the penny (though I’d LOVE to, drives me NUTS since in my change purse they now look like dimes (when dimes were smaller and really made of silver and pennies were really made of 100% copper – it was easy. Now their combo metals make them look too similar. Eventually – cash will be obsolete.

  • John Adelman

    I’ve liked pennies since kindergarten. I like the picture of Lincoln on pennies too. With all the monies the government spills and surpluses, how do we get rid of all the pennies? Some may think the government can make up the (.7 cent each), with volume. Even the law of large numbers doesn’t help, as it is already used to get to .017 cents each.

  • timma

    if any currency gets canceled it should be the one dollar bill. a bill only last 3 months before it falls apart. the dollar coin should be used instead, it last 20 years

  • eddwal50

    why should the store owners be alowwed to round up to the next nickel it will make them more money

  • hackwannabe3

    It will not be the store owner rounding up.

    It will be the STATE, on the TAXES that they charge! They will make it so it goes to the STATE.

    Like they already increased the TAX rate!


    No, you can’t abolish pennies! How would I be paid then??

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