Via Greg Mankiw, this video advances the sensible view that pennies are a big waste of everyone’s time and we should stop using them:
Mankiw seems to want the government to lead the way on this. Good luck with that, Greg! The rent-seeking zinc interests (and the people they employ, and those peoples’ landlords and barbers and so on) like their subsidy just fine, and Washington will not deprive them of it. Washington has better things to do. I wonder instead if prominent businesses could lead the way by voluntarily ceasing to use pennies in their transactions. If Peet’s Coffee or Trader Joe’s or some other well-known and suitably “hip” place started rounding all transactions to the nearest five and giving change accordingly, it would likely be popular with both employees and customers, and smaller actors might follow suit. Then we can put this penny nonsense behind us and focus on what’s really wrong with this country: the nickel.