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Pretty much what the title says. I apologize for my dog, my phone, and my screaming. I'm only human. Did the best I could aiming my camera at the TV.

You were awesome, John! 8D

Fox News, I DO NOT OWN THIS. No copyright infringement intended! I'm not making money off of this!
Gerri Willis: Here on the Willis Report, I like to give you my two cents. But after talking to my next guest, I might have to change the name and call it my 3.4 cents. He says we should lose the penny and the nickel because they cost more to make than they're worth. John Green is an author and blogger on John, welcome. Great to see you.

John Green: Thanks for having me.

Gerri: Great. So what's so bad with pennies and nickels? Come on.

John: Uh, well, I mean there's a sentimental argument for pennies and nickels. But there's no room for sentiment in economics, I would argue. Pennies and nickels both cost more to make than they are worth, and they outlived their utility a long, long time ago. 

Gerri: Well, why do we keep making them if they're not worth what we think?

John: Well, we keep making them partly because we're sentimental and we like pennies and nickels, and partly because there's just no political will to make those kinds of rational, bipartisan changes in Washington because it's not really the kind of issue you can fight about. There is no argument in favor of pennies. 

Gerri: Does anybody benefit from making it? Is there some, like, secret lobby for pennies and nickels I don't know about?

John: There is, in fact, a secret lobby for pennies. There is one company in Greeneville, Tennessee, the Jarden Zinc Corporation, that benefits in a big, big way from the production of pennies. But that's literally the only organization in the entire world that benefits in any way from the existence of pennies.  

Gerri: But I just don't understand how you could possibly get rid of them. Don't we have to have them? Don't we have to use them?

John: No, I mean, we don't. Like, currently, for instance, we don't, uh, have a coin that's worth a thousandth of a dollar. There's no reason that we need to have a coin that's worth a hundredth of a dollar. Ultimately, prices are not determined by coinage. Prices are determined by the relationship between supply and demand. 

Gerri: Does it say anything to you that you can't use a penny, say, in a vending machine? Does that - should that tell us something about the value of a penny?

John: That's an excellent point, Gerri. The fact is that one of the reasons that we know pennies aren't useful in our economy is because you can't use them for anything. The purpose of money is to facilitate the exchange of goods and services, right? But pennies don't do that because you can't use them to buy anything.  

Gerri: Well, I sometimes hand a couple of pennies over, like in that little case that, you know, you leave a little tip for the people at the gas-- you know, like a penny, a nickel... I guess I'm cheap, huh?

John: That's true.

Gerri: Alright.

John: That's true. We do use pennies. Sometimes. (Gerri laughing) But not in the places where you would need to use them to really facilitate commerce. 

Gerri: Now, you've done a productivity study on change. Tell me how that works. How much does it cost (?~2:47)?

John: Yeah. Well, we lose tens of millions of dollars just from making pennies and nickels, but several studies have shown that we use up to a billion dollars in lost productivity costs, uh, from the time that we spend fiddling with pennies that we could instead be spending, you know, working.

Gerri: So less time I spend carrying around in my purse, or moving it from one purse to another, or counting it, or putting it in a piggy bank, possibly. 

John: Or, if you're a cashier, counting out change at the end of every night, as I had to when I worked at an ice cream store in Alaska.

Gerri: (laughing) Well, John, I guess you've made your opinion known here. Appreciate your help today. Thanks so much.

John: Thanks for having me. 

Gerri: When we come back, Lady Gaga was crowned queen at the VMAs...