Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let's Say Bye Bye Penny and Nickel - Hello $5 Coin

Rarely a day goes by that I'm not involved in some transaction that includes pennies. Typically a conversation ensues about how utterly useless this coin has become. I can not think of one case where someone has stood up in defence of our lowly one cent piece. So why do we keep them around? I know I'm not alone in my desire to see Canada eliminate this useless unit of currency, hell there's even a FaceBook Group advocating abolishment.

Economic times such as these permit governments to take decisive action on issues that might otherwise be left alone. Stephen Harper's Conservative government has already used the global recession as a means to ram through questionable legislation, such as eliminating pay-equity requirements and oversight for foreign takeovers of Canadian firms. Why not take this opportunity to do something worthwhile instead? Let's stop minting pennies, and while we're at it get rid of the nickel too.

In the case of the penny, it costs more than 1 cent to make this useless pocket clogger. And if we get rid of the nickel to boot everything can be rounded up or down to the nearest dime. Something costing 92 cents goes down to 90, an article priced at .95 goes up to $1. We can still have "virtual pennies" in our bank accounts, but for cash transactions lets get rid of them. A fifty cent piece would be a hell of a lot more useful than pennies and nickels.

I know some will cite inflationary concerns, afraid that retailers will rig their pricing to ensure most transactions result in rounding up instead of down. But so what?!?! Inflation isn't the concern right now, deflation is. It doesn't take a degree from the London School of Economics to know that inflation is a sign of a healthy economy, while deflation is a recipe for disaster. Any measure, no mater how small, that can be undertaken to encourage inflation should be adopted right now. Deflation was rampant during the Great Depression, and when prices are dropping people hold onto their cash and growth in the economy grinds to a halt.

To top it all off it will save the treasury major bucks, and with the way the Conservatives are handling the economy they need all the help they can get. And that's why we should get rid of the $5 bill as well and replace it with a coin to go along with our Loonies and Toonies. Paper currency doesn't even last a year in circulation on average, coins stick around for about 20.

One suggestion for the new $5 coin, put a fish on it please. Fives are typically referred to as "fins" a Pacific Salmon or something else with gills would be ideal.

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