Tags: currency | dime | nickel | penny | discontinue

Discontinue the Dime, Not the Penny or Nickel

Discontinue the Dime, Not the Penny or Nickel
(Pamela Mcadams/Dreamstime.com)

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:53 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Today's great debate: Which coin to get rid of?

Not to just toss away or throw in a poor box as you leave a Catholic Church or a pushkah in a Jewish Temple.

No, this is a debate that rages at a lower level. In fact, it just led off The Wall Street Journal Big Issues section a week ago.

“Should the U.S. Retire Pennies and Nickels” was the stated debate proposition between a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Professor at Boston University’s Business School.

Fact is, they’re both wrong or short sighted.

The coin to stop minting, to forever say goodbye to, is the dime.

And so obvious, this unnecessary homage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt along with the flip side olive branch, oak branch, and torch of liberty, nice as they all are.

Truth is the 10-cent piece has no utility at all and should go the way of the “five and dime.” If you need to make change, you got two nickels to cover it. Or ten pennies. The dime itself? Unless another John D. Rockefeller comes along to hand them out to strangers on the street, who needs them? The last 10-cent parking meter disappeared in the previous century.

But lose the penny and how will they make change at the 99-cent stores?

How will a penny saved be a penny earned?

How will kids be able to pitch pennies? Or their folks pinch them when they are withdrawn from circulation?

Lose the nickel and how will you ever find a good five cent cigar? Or kickstart a nickelodeon?

Businesses argue, one of the professors admits, that they find it annoying making small change and sometimes adjust prices to ease that burden. But he must know that no matter what businesses do, the state and local governments will put some percentage on their sales, however small, and mess everything up anyway. At one point, one city I know of had an 8.5 percent sales tax. What genius that must have been who sought to restore the ha’penny!

The anti-penny prof goes on to argue that people “find pennies so annoying they won’t bend down to pick one out of the dirt.” Clearly he’s been hob knobbing with a richer class of people who have never heard it is bad luck to pass up “found money” no matter its initial worth.

Now, the pre-1965 10-cent piece is another story. Real silver coins, they were.

But I am definitely opposed to minting silver dimes again for very selfish reasons:

I have a bag of them ($1,000 face) hidden away. I bought it around 1973 for, oh, $1,300 cash (not silver certificates though). At one point when the Hunts were cornering the silver market, the value of that bag hit around $50,000 in ’79 or ‘80. A crash in silver naturally followed, but I’m still holding on so I have a vested interest in not disturbing the market for silver dimes, beautiful things that they were.

Tom Messner worked forever in advertising. In politics, he avoided the predictable negative bent and did positive ads for Reagan in ’84 and for Bush in ’88 along with Bush’s convention film. The agency he co-founded created NASDAQ’s first branding, Volvo’s comeback, and Fox News’s “We report. You Decide.” Then learning from the pols he partnered with (Roger Ailes in particular), they brought attack ads to such formerly benign areas such as telecom (MCI). At 73, he’s doing two things he never did before: Blogging here on wildly unconnected subjects coming on the heels of last year’s adventure: the writing of his first play, a musical “Dogs” destined now for either Broadway or The Pound. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Today's great debate: Which coin to get rid of? Not to just toss away or throw in a poor box as you leave a Catholic Church or a pushkah in a Jewish Temple.
currency, dime, nickel, penny, discontinue
Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:53 AM
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