Tirian wrote:The crux of my problem is that the Canadian government went halfway and created a system where the quantum of currency is the penny for rich people with debit cards and other forms of virtual currency and the nickel for poor people who only have hard cash. I think that's an economic injustice, and I remain unconvinced that roundups and rounddowns would cancel each other out at the end of the week. I also think that it's the role of government to ensure fairness across society, so the argument that we can save money by being unfair doesn't move me any more than claiming that we should disable environmental protections or eliminate safeguards in criminal trials because they're expensive.
At the same time, I confess that this is a minor irritant and nobody is going to get dinged for even $50 a year compared to someone who was able to pay with the virtual pennies that still do exist.
Ok, so let's do the math here:
Let's say the average person makes ten transactions per day (sounds preposterously high to me). Let's furthermore assume that the last digit of the price of stuff in general is uniformly distributed (on the grounds that I'm thoroughly convinced that it's economically inadvisible for any seller to try to game the system due to fluxuations in sales tax. See above.) Using cash every time breaks even. The optimal use of this system for the buyer is to make a cash transaction on purchases that have a dime modulus of 1¢, 2¢, 6¢ or 7¢, and use a debit card on purchases that end in 3¢, 4¢, 8¢, or 9¢. This gains an average of (1+2+1+2)/10 = 0.6¢/purchase = $21.90/year. 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.
TL;DR: this is a total non-issue.
Edit: accidentally swapped a set of numbers the first time around.