As John Oliver pointed out on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, it costs 1.7 cents to make each penny, so they lose money the moment they’re created.
“That really makes the phrase you have to spend money to make money ring painfully true,” Oliver said.
Pennies are so worthless that people won’t stop to pick them up, and 2 percent of Americans admit to throwing them in the garbage. And if you think tossing them in the trash is bad, Oliver found a reddit thread titled, “I put a penny in my butt and now I can’t get it out.”
Turns out the person did it because, “I wanted to know what it would feel like to put a cold penny up my butt. (I put it in the fridge for like… 2-3 hours)”
Oliver even found a case of a dog that ate 111 pennies.
He said there’s really only two things pennies are good for. First, you can throw them into a fountain to make a wish — although given the low value of the penny, that wish would have to be small.
Oliver suggested, “I wish somewhere in the world a mouse has a good day” or, “I wish I knew what a penny looked like underwater.”
And second, they can be used out of spite — like when people pay parking tickets in pennies.
Oliver said other countries have gotten rid of worthless coins, including the United States, which did away with the half cent in 1857 — so maybe the time is right to finally get rid of the full cent, too.
“There are certain things we know are impossible to get rid of: terrorism, herpes and Guy Fieri,” Oliver said. “But the penny is a nuisance we can actually do something about. So let’s do it, America. Let’s get the penny out of our pockets… out of our dogs… out of our fridges… and out of our asses. We can do this!”
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