The era of buying something for a penny is long since gone. the same for nickels and dimes.

Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were great presidents. It’s just the penny, nickel, and dime, respectively, of which I am not fond.

The era of buying something for a penny is long since gone. As near as I can tell, the same applies to nickels and dimes.

Recently, I walked around Walmart trying to find the least expensive item they sold. Aside from produce, where you could technically buy a single green bean, I could find nothing for less than a dollar. After giving up in my quest, I stood in line at the cash register to go pay for the items I had to buy. I spied a bag of Planters peanuts for 50 cents.

That was the cheapest item (I could find) in Walmart.

Yet just about everyone has a pile of pennies on their dresser, and handling small change for businesses is clearly an expensive irritant.

There’s a simple solution. Congress could simply pass a law allowing vendors to round up or down to the nearest quarter for cash transactions. Credit card and debit card payments would remain as they are. But if the bill comes to $7.29 and you want to pay with a $20 bill, you’d get back $12.75. If the bill comes to $7.41, you’d get back $12.50.

Then, the U.S. government could simply stop minting pennies, nickels and dimes. They’d still be legal tender, but would gradually disappear from circulation.

No more piles of small change on your dresser. And more importantly, the retail industry would no longer need to get rolls of small change.

At the same time, the government could re-release the hundreds of millions of Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea $1 coins sitting in storage. This would actually save a bunch of money as $1 bills have a very short useful life, while coins remain in use for decades.

Actually, I’d recommend designing a new dollar coin — slightly larger than the existing dollar coins, which can be easily confused with the current quarter.


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