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Killing Lincoln Featured

We all have our crank obsessions. One of mine is eliminating the penny. I was asked recently to defend my stance and I used some of the traditional arguments, such as the cost of production and the elimination of the half-penny. The more I thought on the matter, I developed another argument: the penny is a tax on the poor. How so, you ask? It starts with the fact that the poor are much more likely to lack a bank account than other groups. This means they pay in cash. This means they handle more pennies than other groups. But what can they use these pennies for? The poor mostly rent, so most don\'t have their own washing machines. They need to use coin-operated ones. But these devices don\'t take pennies. Buses don\'t take pennies, either. Nor do parking meters. So the poor pay for goods with usable cash and get back unusable pennies. This means they end up paying more than those who can use cards for payment. And they have less. That last part is crucial. While you can say, \"It\'s only a few pennies,\" these people live lives of narrow margins. Every cent counts. One argument against penny elimination is that merchants will round up prices, which will cost the poor more initially. But the government could mandate that they round those prices down as part of the process. Can you enforce that mandate? Can you enforce any law? Those are my thoughts. You can keep your penny.

Ted Craig

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