Pennies and nickels have cost more than their face value to mint since 2006, resulting in a loss of at least $436 million to U.S. taxpayers.The CHART OF THE DAY shows that in 2012, the penny cost almost 2 cents to make and the nickel more than 10 cents, according to the U.S. Mint’s annual report released in January. Those prices have almost doubled over the past seven years.“If you look around in the budget, there aren’t a lot of places you can find savings where you don’t cut a program and you don’t raise anybody’s taxes and you can impact the deficit,” said Jim Kolbe, a former Arizona congressman who sponsored legislation to abolish the penny and dollar bill. “This is one where you can do that.”Neither of Kolbe’s bills, introduced in 2001 and 2006, made it to a full congressional vote.
Mintage has long been a prerogative of the rulers of the country. However, this government activity had originally no objective other than the stamping and certifying of weights and measures. The authority's stamp placed upon a piece of metal was supposed to certify its weight and fineness. When later princes resorted to substituting baser and cheaper metals for a part of the precious metals while retaining the customary face and name of the coins, they did it furtively and in full awareness of the fact that they were engaged in a fraudulent attempt to cheat the public. As soon as people found out these artifices, the debased coins were dealt with at a discount as against the old better ones. The governments reacted by resorting to compulsion and coercion. They made it illegal to discriminate in trade and in the settlement of deferred payments between "good" money and "bad" money and decreed maximum prices in terms of "bad" money. However, the result obtained was not that which the governments aimed at. Their decrees failed to stop the process which adjusted commodity prices (in terms of the debased currency) to the actual state of the money relation. Moreover, the effects appeared which Gresham's law describes.