According to an old superstition, it’s good luck to find a penny on the sidewalk. But whether or not you believe picking up that penny will bring you luck, one thing it definitely won’t bring you is wealth. Pennies are worth so little now that by taking five seconds to pick one up, you’re earning just $7.20 an hour – less than the federal minimum wage.
Pennies are so close to worthless that many people argue it’s time to do away with them altogether. A nonpartisan organization called Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny has attracted the support of economists from Harvard and Wake Forest University. Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona has twice introduced bills in Congress to eliminate the penny, and in February 2014, President Barack Obama argued during a YouTube chat that pennies were obsolete and a symbol of U.S. government waste.