This morning, Yglesias linked to a column about a cost cutting measure that could lead to the end of the dollar bill. Apparently the country could save up to 5.5 billion dollars over the next thirty years if the single note was phased out in favor of the Sacajawea coin, citing durability issues of the paper dollar. I have no issue with this personally, as singles take up too much real estate in my already small wallet, though the strip club lobby may have a gripe or two.
But I’d like to take this time as an excuse to talk about the red headed step child of American currency: the penny.
American society is obsessed with money. Greed over extra dollars influences many of our personal day to day decisions, let alone the government’s. Social classes, a direct result of monetary compensation, dictate government policy, racial and economic biases, neighborhoods, and pretty much everything that fits under the sociological sun. People horde and save money as if their lives depended on it and, in some cases, it actually does. Now, last time I checked, the penny was a component of this said currency, but if you go into any ordinary 7-11 convenience store, there’s probably a small tray adjacent to the cash register full of pennies for ordinary customers to create exact change.
And these errant pennies…are NEVER stolen.