John Oliver On Getting Rid Of The Penny
On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver hit on an issue that I’ve talked about before, getting rid of the penny:
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.
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!”
Here’s the video:
Oliver is absolutely right, of course, and I’ve detailed the reasons we should get rid of the penny several times on the past — see here, here, here, here, and here. As I’ve said before, though, despite the fact that it’s a move that makes complete sense and would actually end up saving the Federal Government money in the end, it probably won’t happen any time soon.