No more pennies, at least in Canada

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby ++$_ » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:46 am UTC

Maybe they should make dollar coins with holes in the middle. Then we can easily put them on strings or rods, (mostly) solving the problem of it being awkward to carry them around.

Alternatively, magnetize them so that they stick together in columns all by themselves. This may be slightly incompatible with credit cards, but credit cards are the technology of the past, while magnetic coins are the technology of the future. Let's look forward, not backward, people!

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Xeio » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:00 am UTC

ahammel wrote:You may recognize this as a number that is way the hell less than it costs to have access to a debit card and use it that much anyway. If you want to make 150 debit card transactions per month at my financial institution, you're looking at $170/year.
I have no-annual or transaction fee credit/debit cards. I should totally move to Canada and game the system! If, you know, I wasn't lazy and always paid with a credit card anyway to avoid this cash nonsense.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby omgryebread » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:10 am UTC

Let's assume that eliminating pennies is indeed regressive. I must admit that minutia of Canadian coinage policy isn't that exciting to me, so let's try the States for this hypothetical.

In 2011, the US minted 4,938,540,000 pennies. At 2.4 cents per penny, that's $118,524,960 spent in pennies. All that for $49,385,400. In other words, the government lost $69,139,560 minting pennies. Now, 70m is kind of a drop in the bucket for any government program, but what do you think helps poor people more: subsidizing them through a convoluted method involving pennies, or dropping 70 million dollars into WIC?

Also, pennies are toxic. I mean, sure, a human child would have to eat dozens of them to do any damage, but still. Actually, that sounds like a good way to campaign for the Legal Tender Modernization Act. The government is poisoning the money supply.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby ++$_ » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:12 am UTC

All coins are dangerous for young children to eat in a purely mechanical sense. Toxicity is the least of your worries.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby poxic » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:28 am UTC

++$_ wrote:Alternatively, magnetize them so that they stick together in columns all by themselves.

Oh hell no. I once walked around for a while with a few small magnets in my changepurse (long story). Every time I wanted to pull out a coin, I instead ended up with a miserly abstract sculpture that, while amusing, was also frustrating to deal with in a lineup.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby ++$_ » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:37 am UTC

But if the coins themselves were magnetic, they would stick together in a more orderly fashion, right? In my experience disk-shaped magnets line themselves up into columns.

(Also, you have ferromagnetic coins in Canada? Weird.)

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby poxic » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:51 am UTC

Yes, we apparently have ferromagnetic coins. So the deliberately-magnetised ones might line up in a column; the rest will attach themselves thereto in a haphazard manner (emphasis on hazard), likely interfering with the orderly column in counterstructural ways.

(The little magnets among my coins also tended to columnate... when they weren't surrounded by coins.)
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby ++$_ » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:04 am UTC

Yeah, I guess nonmagnetized (but ferromagnetic) coins and magnetized coins shouldn't be mixed.

If you only have magnetized coins, though, you should be able to just take a column of coins from your pocket like you might take a wallet and peel a few off. In my head this is extremely awesome, at least until I walk near a steel railing and the coins in my pocket keep attaching themselves to it, or a pickpocket removes the entire column from my pocket with a magnet on a string.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:38 am UTC

poxic wrote:Oh hell no. I once walked around for a while with a few small magnets in my changepurse (long story). Every time I wanted to pull out a coin, I instead ended up with a miserly abstract sculpture that, while amusing, was also frustrating to deal with in a lineup.

Don't you understand though!? In preventing this, you deny everyone that (once off) 30 seconds of amusement from their abstract coin sculpture. With a population of 34.7 million, you'd be destroying 289,000 hours of combined entertainment in Canada alone! Actually, I wonder how economical that'd be as far as entertainment purposes go... how much would it cost magnetize all of a nation's coin currency and make and circulate enough of them for distribution to be uniform?

Also, that's pretty cool that Canadian coins are affected by it. This thread keeps reminding me that everyone else gets to have all of the fun currency. We're stuck with boring money in the US.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Ulc » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
poxic wrote:Oh hell no. I once walked around for a while with a few small magnets in my changepurse (long story). Every time I wanted to pull out a coin, I instead ended up with a miserly abstract sculpture that, while amusing, was also frustrating to deal with in a lineup.

Don't you understand though!? In preventing this, you deny everyone that (once off) 30 seconds of amusement from their abstract coin sculpture. With a population of 34.7 million, you'd be destroying 289,000 hours of combined entertainment in Canada alone! Actually, I wonder how economical that'd be as far as entertainment purposes go... how much would it cost magnetize all of a nation's coin currency and make and circulate enough of them for distribution to be uniform?


I'm reasonably sure that I'm standing behind poxic in a line, my feelings at seeing the abstract coin structure will not be amusement, but rather a profound hatred of the slow moving ape holding up the line*.

Getting rid of the penny is a very good idea in general, now we just need someone in EU to put 2 and 2 together and get rid of anything smaller than 20 cent coins. When I'm on vacation I tend to tip in the small coins only if I hated the waiter - that probably says a lot about those coins!


*I do not actually consider Poxic an ape. But I do hate people holding up the line in my supermarket needlessly long. I'm all for wasting time, but not by standing in line please.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Shivahn » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:*I do not actually consider Poxic an ape. But I do hate people holding up the line in my supermarket needlessly long. I'm all for wasting time, but not by standing in line please.

I am pretty sure she's an ape!

She is not like, a squid or something!

Go go gadget extreme pedantry!

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby dhokarena56 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:48 pm UTC

Also, most of us carry at least one highly sensitive electronic in our pockets nowadays. Electronics and magnetised coins don't mix.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby poxic » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:14 pm UTC

Oh, I'm definitely an ape, of the less-hirsute variety. Opposable thumbs and tricolour vision FTW.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Derek » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:56 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:You know, now that you mention it those numbers do look laughably false.


Indeed. Americans can perform the very simple test of pulling the pennies out of their pockets and seeing what percentage of them don't have the Lincoln memorial on the back, which were minted 1959-2008. Going by the change on my nightstand, only 15% of pennies in circulation have been minted in the past three years. I think that's more consistent with a shelf life of around 30 years, but that's a back of the envelope estimation.

A quick survey of the change on my desk (which is on my desk and not in my wallet because I hate carrying change, which is why I don't like dollar coins), gives the following data:
Pennies: 1966, 1969, 1997, 2003
Nickles: 1961, 1970, 1985, 1998, 1999, 1999, 2002, 2006
Dimes: 2000, 2005, 2005, 2006
Quarters: 1982, 1989, 1995

The relative newness of the dimes is probably a coincidence, but it does make me wonder if their small size can make them wear/get lost faster?

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby stevey_frac » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:02 pm UTC

Is it painstakingly obvious to anybody else that tirian would be unhappy with anything the Harper government does, purely because it's the harper government doing it?

Like, if they came up with a way to give free pony rides to little children on Saturdays, and have it cost the taxpayers nothing, he'd complain that the kids should be inside studying or something.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:03 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:In 2011, the US minted 4,938,540,000 pennies. At 2.4 cents per penny, that's $118,524,960 spent in pennies. All that for $49,385,400. In other words, the government lost $69,139,560 minting pennies. Now, 70m is kind of a drop in the bucket for any government program, but what do you think helps poor people more: subsidizing them through a convoluted method involving pennies, or dropping 70 million dollars into WIC?


The money goes somewhere, it doesn't just disappear. Where it goes, I don't know exactly, but I'm betting large portion is to the various workers involved. I'm not for or against getting rid of pennies, I'm just not sure it's that simple. And if we don't spend that money on pennies, none of that cash is going to go into the WIC. It's all going to just go to put us slightly less in the red.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby buddy431 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:18 pm UTC

There are obviously many places that have eliminated the penny without any dire consequences, so we know that there aren't really any good reasons not to. My favorite exersise is to look at when the U.S. eliminated the half-cent coin. The last half-cent coin was minted in 1857. How much do you think it was worth then in today's money? Over 10 cents. If we really wanted to get on the ball, we'd cut the nickel and dime too. Just round everything to the nearest quarter dollar.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Derek » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
omgryebread wrote:In 2011, the US minted 4,938,540,000 pennies. At 2.4 cents per penny, that's $118,524,960 spent in pennies. All that for $49,385,400. In other words, the government lost $69,139,560 minting pennies. Now, 70m is kind of a drop in the bucket for any government program, but what do you think helps poor people more: subsidizing them through a convoluted method involving pennies, or dropping 70 million dollars into WIC?


The money goes somewhere, it doesn't just disappear. Where it goes, I don't know exactly, but I'm betting large portion is to the various workers involved. I'm not for or against getting rid of pennies, I'm just not sure it's that simple. And if we don't spend that money on pennies, none of that cash is going to go into the WIC. It's all going to just go to put us slightly less in the red.

Actually most of it is the cost of the metal.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby yurell » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:06 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The money goes somewhere, it doesn't just disappear. Where it goes, I don't know exactly, but I'm betting large portion is to the various workers involved. I'm not for or against getting rid of pennies, I'm just not sure it's that simple. And if we don't spend that money on pennies, none of that cash is going to go into the WIC. It's all going to just go to put us slightly less in the red.


The money goes into the metal that makes up the coin, which you're not allowed to melt down. You can get it back if in the end the government melts down the coins, but then you'd better hope that the value of the metal is the same as it was when you bought it, and if the US government says it's going on a giant melt-the-penny spree I'm pretty sure the metal value will drop, leaving a decent chunk of your investment to disappear into the void.

Edit: also, this site tracks the value of the metals in US coins, and tells you how much they're worth if melted.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:27 pm UTC

Well, not all of the money goes into the metal. There's going to be machinery and employment and energy costs to actually mint those coins. Transportation costs to bring them to the banks. Management costs to determine how many to produce, where to produce them, at what rate, etc. The metal is a big part of it, but even if we can get the material cost down, it wouldn't necessarily make pennies economical, though it very well could do so temporarily, until they go down in purchasing power some more.

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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby omgryebread » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:46 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
omgryebread wrote:In 2011, the US minted 4,938,540,000 pennies. At 2.4 cents per penny, that's $118,524,960 spent in pennies. All that for $49,385,400. In other words, the government lost $69,139,560 minting pennies. Now, 70m is kind of a drop in the bucket for any government program, but what do you think helps poor people more: subsidizing them through a convoluted method involving pennies, or dropping 70 million dollars into WIC?


The money goes somewhere, it doesn't just disappear. Where it goes, I don't know exactly, but I'm betting large portion is to the various workers involved. I'm not for or against getting rid of pennies, I'm just not sure it's that simple. And if we don't spend that money on pennies, none of that cash is going to go into the WIC. It's all going to just go to put us slightly less in the red.
I'm not saying it's all a loss, nor that the saved money would be used for a good cause or whatever. I'm just saying that if you want to put money towards a welfare program, putting it in pennies is a bad idea.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby lutzj » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:50 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Well, not all of the money goes into the metal. There's going to be machinery and employment and energy costs to actually mint those coins. Transportation costs to bring them to the banks. Management costs to determine how many to produce, where to produce them, at what rate, etc. The metal is a big part of it, but even if we can get the material cost down, it wouldn't necessarily make pennies economical, though it very well could do so temporarily, until they go down in purchasing power some more.


Yeah, but we could retool the machinery to make $2 coins instead. Keeping a money-losing segment of the Mint in existence just to employ people and subsidize the mining industry runs into the broken-glass fallacy, hard.
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Re: No more pennies, at least in Canada

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:07 am UTC

lutzj wrote:Yeah, but we could retool the machinery to make $2 coins instead. Keeping a money-losing segment of the Mint in existence just to employ people and subsidize the mining industry runs into the broken-glass fallacy, hard.

Yeah, I agree. I was just pointing out that the costs to produce the coins aren't just the metal costs. So even if you can make the metal cost of a coin less than it's worth, you won't necessarily make it so the effective cost to manufacture is less than its value. As I said earlier in the thread, I'm for making a penniless US (where I live), and think this is a good change for Canada as well.


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