May 23 – A Penny for your Thoughts

Gay Lynn HillBell Ringers, Government

May 23 is Lucky Penny Day.

Do you still use pennies? For several decades, now, the U.S. government has been trying to remove the lowly penny from circulation, but it never quite gets around to it. Do you any idea of why?

For some people, it may be nostalgia. A penny used to be worth something, and it brings back memories of better times when you could get a piece of gum – or even earlier, you could get a “penny lick” of ice cream from a street vendor for – you guessed it, just a penny!

It may not be popular sentiment, or nostalgia, however, which keeps our pockets heavy. In the video, you’ll see another explanation for why we still use pennies.



Questions:
  1. Why do special interests have so much power in the United States? Do they seek our ways to help the government “promote the general welfare” as is their duty under the Constitution?
  2. What if the government didn’t have a monopoly on making money? Do you think private companies would make pennies? What’s the difference? (Think, for instance, about arcades that pay you “tokens” that you can use to buy prizes. What do you think the value of a “token” is in money?
  3. You used to be able to get someone to tell you what they were thinking by offering them “a penny for your thoughts.” If that saying arose in 1800, what would be the equivalent in today’s currency? (Inflation calculator)

Image Citation:

16, May 2018, 2018 Lincoln Penny Uncirculated Reverse {Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <usmint.gov>.