When I visited Washington D.C. last month I had the opportunity to go to one of the Smithsonian museums. Of course, I chose the museum of history and went to see the history of money display they had put together. In the room at the back they had a keep the penny, get rid of the penny jars that you could vote with by putting in a cent. I put my cent into the keep a penny jar. Unfortunately it looks like Canada put theirs into the get rid of jar. When our neighbor to the north gets rid of her smallest denomination of coin in an attempt to save money by moving to a rounding system if using cash or an exact counting system if using credit or debit, how long do you think America will linger behind.
See here is the real thing. Canada is simply choosing to no longer mint the cent. The cent will not be demonitized, it will still be legal tender, it will be accepted at all the places it was before, but just like when Canada did the reclamation of quarters, nickels, and dimes when their metal value exceeded their face value, how long before they start slowly take the cents out of circulation, until there are none left.
It happens, trust me, we do and have done it in the United States plenty of times. We will probably be right behind the Canadians in this endeavour. I know, you are saying, but we never went to the loonie and the toonie the way the Canadians did so why would we do this. Yes, we have never held with a $1 or $2 coin the way Canada did, but we also didn’t stop production of bills the way Canada did. We’re also not talking about a work horse of a denomination. The cent in America is abhorred. People throw them on the ground, leave them behind at registers, they call them counting tools rather than money. They have no respect for a denomination that has been almost continuously minted since the dawn of America. From 1793 until 2012, with a one year hiatus in 1815. That is how long we have been producing the cent. The Canadians have been producing their since 1858 and now it is gone. We won’t be far behind. Of course, it will save the United States money, how could it not, but then again, less spending could save the U.S. money, and the cent won’t ever really die, because they will keep it around to include in collectors sets, a fate worse than death. Worse than death, because I can’t think of anything worse than being told you are only good enough to be produced in a non-circulating role for collectors only. when was the last time you saw a Kennedy half-dollar. Yeah, they still make them, for collectors only, they are for all intents and purposes dead, just like the cent will be here soon.
Make no mistake, whether you are happy about it or not, the adoption of the full measure of banishment of a denomination in Canada will eventually mean the same thing here in the United States. Whether that is good or bad will be something to be decided for future generations. And no I am not going to argue the inflationary point of getting rid of the cent, why? Because it is a fallacious argument. No prices will not inflate because the cent is gone, transactions will only round up or down when you pay in cash not when you use your debit/credit card, which most people already do.
Since most people already use their cards, and not using their card will result in a rounding, up or down, and Americans don’t really want to deal with that, the likely hood that the system will bend more towards a cashless society is fairly likely.
Just some things to note as the Canadian cent dies.