By Mike Rogers, 1080 KRLD

If change is inevitable, why are people so resistant to it?

Case in point, our money.

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Some years ago I traveled to Australia, where they use dollars and cents – just like us – and observed that they had done away with their penny, rounding up or down to the nearest nickel.  They Aussies actually took this step back in the 1960’s, deeming the penny irrelevant nearly 50 years ago.  And now, Canada is doing the same.

That country’s last penny was stamped recently in Winnipeg – the home of the Canadian mint, a fact that could come in handy someday if I’m ever on Jeopardy.

It seems the Canadians, too, have come to understand that the penny just isn’t worth the bother anymore.  In the U.S. though, it’s a different story.

Here, we have smart and powerful forces working in SUPPORT of the penny, including the zinc lobby.  Zinc now makes up 97.5 percent of every penny minted in the U.S. (copper accounting for the other 2.5 percent), so no more pennies would be very bad for business.

That brings us a recent survey by a group called Americans for Common Cents, suggesting that two thirds of us want to keep the penny.  But if you dig a little deeper, you find that this organization – the ACC – is run by the main lobby for, that’s right, the zinc industry!  Clever, aren’t they?

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And don’t think the Coinstar people don’t have a vested interest in this as well.  They’ve also released surveys showing support for the penny, and in fairness to both, there probably IS a significant portion of the population that feels this way – maybe not two thirds, but still not an amount we can easily dismiss.

The question is, why?  Why would anyone cling to a one cent coin that now costs 2.4 cents to make?  Is exact change that important?

You can’t buy anything with a penny.  Most of us just throw them in a jar at home and let them accumulate for a year or two, and then run them down to the nearest…Coinstar machine, which keeps eight percent of the total.  See how this works?

And don’t even get me started on dollar coins and the vending machine lobby.

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