Bauman has a novel suggestion on how to eliminate the penny: promote it. Make each penny worth five cents. Allow people to trade in 20 pennies for a dollar. He estimates it would cost about $6 billion- but that's the kind of stimulus the US economy could use right now. Get rid of a useless coin and stimulate the economy all in one go!
In Canada, according to the first source I hit on google, there are about 20 billion pennies in circulation, so a promote the penny campaign would cost about $1 billion if every penny was traded in.
For me, the penny is a litmus test: can our politicians implement a policy that would cost nothing (with straightforward elimination, no penny promotion) and make almost every Canadian better off?
New Zealand has eliminated the penny, as has Australia. In Sweden, the lowest denomination coin is worth about 15 cents.
A failure of Canada (or the US) to make such a simple and beneficial policy change will be a serious condemnation of our country's governance.
Yoram Bauman is launching a "promote the penny" web site. Unfortunately neither the web site nor a video of his presentation appear to be available on-line yet.