Nick Giambruno reminds us:
When was the last time you saw someone pick up a penny off the street? A nickel? A dime?
Nowadays, even bums often can’t be bothered to pick up anything less than a quarter.
The US dollar has become so debased that these coins are essentially pieces of rubbish. They have little to no practical value.
Up until 1982, the penny was 95% copper.
Today, the melt value of these pre-1982 pennies is 2.1 cents—more than double their face value—as commodity prices have soared and the dollar’s purchasing power has plummeted.
That’s why the US Mint no longer uses so much copper to make pennies. Modern pennies are only 2.5% copper, with cheaper zinc making up the remaining 97.5% of the coin.
Further, even after using a cheaper metal to make the penny, it still costs the US Mint about 2.1 cents to make every penny. For nickels, it costs the US Mint 8.5 cents to make.
Last year, the US government lost over $144 million making pennies and nickels.
So, why is it wasting taxpayer money making coins bums don’t even use?
Because phasing out the penny and nickel would mean acknowledging currency debasement—governments never like to do that. It would reveal their incompetence and theft from savers.
This isn’t new or unique to the US. For decades, governments worldwide have been reluctant to phase out worthless currency denominations. This helps them deny an inflation problem even exists. They refuse to issue currency in higher denominations for the same reason.
The $100 bill is the largest in circulation. That wasn’t always the case. At one point, the US had $500, $1,000, $5,000, and even $10,000 bills.
The government eliminated these large bills in 1969 under the pretext of fighting the War on (Some) Drugs.
The $100 bill has been the largest ever since. But it has far less purchasing power than it did in 1969. Decades of rampant money printing have debased the dollar. Today, a $100 note buys less than $13 in 1969.
There’s more at the link.
I wonder how long it’ll be before kids’ play coins are in actual monetary circulation?
We may as well use them. At least the plastic from which they’re made has a recoverable petroleum content to provide some value!