Friday, May 06, 2011

Americans Better Be Careful About Picking Up Pennies On The Street

Doing so will violate federal minimum wage laws if it including putting it in your purse takes more than 6.15 seconds, Ezra Klein points out.

The fact that picking up pennies on the street might be illegal illustrates the irrationality of either minimum wage laws or the continued existence of pennies after inflation has reduced its value to significantly below the cost of producing it-or in my opinion both.

UPDATE: On second thought, I think Klein overestimated how long you can take in picking up a penny. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, or 725 pennies per hour. And as an hour is 3600 seconds (60 seconds per minute times 60 minutes per hour),  this means that minimum wage laws says that you must have a penny every 4.97 second. 5 seconds to pick up a penny is thus enough to violate the federal minimum wage laws.