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EDITORIAL PRESSURE MOUNTS TO ELIMINATE THE CENT
Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the movement to eliminate the smallest denomination U.S. coin. -EditorWhile it has not yet reached crescendo proportions, more writers are supporting the movement to eliminate the cent from American cash registers. Editorial writers are the most vocal. They seem to be convinced spending more than face value to manufacture the low-value coin is a more compelling reason to abolish the coin than the economic fact it no longer serves an economic need for a circulating coin.
Those writers in support of keeping the cent in circulation give reasons that have all been disproven. Namely, rounding off to the nearest coin in circulation makes sense, but they cling to the notion every seller will round up for an unearned windfall profit -- small amounts with each transaction that mount to big money in total. A university study proved it would balance out, costing an average family less than $2 a year.
There are only two logical reasons for keeping the cent in circulation -- sentimentality and inertia. We have always had a cent in circulation since 1792, we want to keep it because we like it. Well, those reasons are costing America $98 million in direct costs and close to $500 million in indirect costs. I could get very sentimental about saving those amounts.
One of the best articles I encountered this week was a blog by "Hank" who made many salient points. One, he stated, the Army and Air Force Exchange Services around the world (which operates a military Walmart) no longer stock or accept cents. To heavy to ship overseas. Purchases are rounded off to nearest nickel.
Hank also noted the Illinois delegation in Congress is hesitant to drop Abraham Lincoln, since they represent Abe's home state. Hank cited there are 31 cities and towns across America, six mountains, an aircraft carrier and a submarine all named after the 16th president. Besides, he is still on the five-dollar bill. We are not likely to forget Lincoln .
Of more influential documentation was a statement this week by Richard M. Geerdes, the president of the National Automatic Merchandising Association -- the vending machine trade association. In answer to an illogical editorial in the Atlanta Constitution by a Richard Miniter, who wanted to keep the cent and eliminate the dollar coin, Geerdes ticked off a number of facts.
He repeats the GAO estimated savings using dollar coins instead of dollar bills would be $522 million. Coins last 30 years, paper dollars last 2 years. The vending machine guru -- who should know -- further stated:
"Coins work virtually 100 percent of the time, while many thousands of vending machine sales are thwarted every day by low quality $1 bills.
"Up to half of vending machine operators' service calls are due to jammed bill acceptors. Dollar coins would reduce service calls. And dollar coins are much cheaper to dispense in change than dollar bills."
To read Geerdes full statement click on: National Automatic Merchandising Association Responds To Newspaper Attack On Dollar Coin Or, if you would like to read more what Hank had to say, see: How Much Is A Penny Really Worth?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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