In testimony before a House Financial Services Subcommittee, Mint Director David Ryder reaffirmed the government’s position by saying, “it is not the intent of the Treasury Department to eliminate the penny.” Ryder went on to say that the Mint plans to create programs to increase the current recirculation of pennies and reduce costs. Ryder noted that improved recirculation lowers new penny demand, reducing production costs.
Ryder’s comments came during a Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade hearing entitled “The Future of Money: Coins and Banknotes.”
The Mint cited the strong public support for the penny as a reason for keeping it as part of our coinage system. Indeed, polling historically shows two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans want to keep the penny. These results confirm the strong and unwavering public support for the penny.
Mint Director Ryder noted that without the penny the “inclination would be to round up.” Economists generally agree that a company’s main objective is the desire to maximize profits.
Millions of transactions are conducted each day in the U.S. economy. With 26% of Americans either not having savings or checking accounts or relying on payday lending services, the increased prices due to rounding ultimately would fall disproportionately on those least able to afford it.
Americans understand that eliminating the penny would lead to a rounding process and cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in higher prices.