Letter from Mr. Bravo Re: What Use is a Penny?

A few weeks back, you covered the issue of pennies being more costly to produce than they are worth. Here is my Quixotic take on the issue:

Based on historical precedent, currency/coinage reform is overdue. The half-cent was discontinued in 1857, when it was worth ten cents in today’s inflation adjusted dollars! Source: Historical Statistics of the United States. (USGPO, 1975), Statistical Abstracts of the United States. That means that the smallest monetary unit at the time was worth $0.20 in today’s value. And a $100 bill (gold certificate) in 1863 had a value equal to nearly $2,000.

A penny in 1970 was worth the same as today’s nickel. Not only are pennies obsolete, but so are nickels. What earthly reason could there be for monetary increments less than the value of one minute of a minimum wage (~$6/hr) laborer’s time?

Proposal: Simplify currency and coinage to make transactions simpler. Drop the penny decimal place.

Notes: $500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5
Coins: $5, 2, 1, 0.50, and 0.10

Better still, we should make all notes silver or gold certificates, and all coins of $1 and above silver. Best Regards, – Mr. Bravo.