Joanna looks at both sides of the issue and decides we should dump the penny:
[T]here’s absolutely no way that it’s not more expensive to have pennies than to not have them, both from a consumer and a taxpayer standpoint.
Still, she has ideas for the least-valuable coin in your pocket:
As a fundraiser, I see the penny thing as a huge opportunity. Charitable organizations themselves like Goodwill and the Red Cross could advertise getting rid of pennies by donating them and not using them anymore. That would represent a lot of cash and would incite the social movement against pennies for a good cause. Then people can write off the donation, the organizations could turn them over to banks, banks exchange them with the Treasury for higher coinage, and the Treasury can sell them to private companies who make tacky commemorative plaques that tasteless people can buy from QVC late at night. Everybody wins!
It’s either that or melt them down into clean copper clappers, an idea that leaves me with that zinc-ing feeling.