Now that Canadians have had a few years of life without the penny, we’ve more or less figured out that none of the terrible predictions came true. But the U.S. has penny proponents who are sure that eliminating the penny will bring big trouble. I think their tactics are all wrong, though.
One penny advocacy group wastes their time trying to refute obvious facts such as that the penny is essentially worthless, and that eliminating pennies will save time at checkout and will save the government some money. You can see the attempted refutations here.
This approach of trying to make nonsense arguments sound reasonable is a bad strategy. I think they need to hit people with on a more emotional level. Here’s one idea from another successful lobby:
The government wants to come into your house and take all your pennies!
Nobody wants the authorities trampling flowers and rooting through their underwear drawers. And just think of the increased cost of having to play Rummoli with nickels.
All prices will have to be 5 times more once the penny is gone!
This is a way better grabber than some conspiracy theory of retailers fixing prices so they get the benefit from rounding to the nearest nickel.
It would probably be too offensive to use something like “First they came for the Socialists’ pennies …,” but when your position makes no sense, sometimes desperate moves are all you have.
The truth obviously won’t do. Saying “I’m old and I don’t like it when things change” or “I like collecting pennies more than I like talking to people” won’t change opinions.
Maybe Canada and the U.S. are in a race. Which will happen first: the U.S. eliminates the penny or Canada gets rid of both nickels and dimes? My money is on the U.S., but the current presidential race makes it hard to imagine a time when U.S. politics stops being dysfunctional.