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Should we do away with the penny and the nickel?

Pennies lay in a pile July 6, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Pennies lay in a pile July 6, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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Pennies and nickels just aren't worth what they used to be anymore, literally. Nowadays, it costs 1.8 cents to make a penny, and 9.4 cents to make a nickel, according to the U.S. Mint. Given the discrepancy, many economists have long called for the elimination of the two coins from our currency system. They are just too expensive to produce. The federal government spent about $104.5 million on their production last year.

As such, President Obama's recently-released budget proposal for fiscal 2015 has called for alternatives for the money-losing penny and nickel.

"These studies will analyze alternative metals, the United States Mint facilities, and consumer behavior and pref­erences, and will result in the development of alternative options for the penny and the nickel," the budget says.


Jeffrey Sparshott, reporter at the Wall Street Journal who’s been following the penny and nickel story