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Yesterday's post about the demise of the US cent was an April Fool's joke. Most of you caught on but I wanted to make it clear to those of you who were still on the fence. I consider a good April Fool's joke as one that is partially believable. Judging from the comments I got, this was a good one.
Rest assured that for now, the US cent is here to stay. The US Treasury web site provides details on what would have to happen for the cent to be removed from circulation.
As the United States Mint produces the coins that Congress mandates, it does not have the authority to abolish a unit of currency. If directed to do so by legislation enacted by the Congress and signed by the President, the Treasury Department would again study phasing out the penny. Because the demand exists and the Federal Reserve Banks require inventories to meet the demand, the United States Mint is committed to producing the penny.
In the comments on the April Fool's post Susan asked how rounding would work. I don't have any insider information, but I would guess that prices would be rounded up and down, not just up. When the half cent was removed from circulation, prices couldn't be in half cent increments (which they were at the time). We don't miss that because none of us ever experienced them. I expect the same to be true of our great grandchildren with cents. When the cent is done away they'll think prices were always in 5 cent increments.
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