Is President Obama gunning for the penny?

The commander in chief expresses support for getting rid of our least-valuable coin, which costs more to produce than it's worth.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 15, 2013 1:57PM

Image: Pennies ( Corbis)If President Barack Obama has any say in it, the United States is going to lose its cents. 


The subject came up during a Google+ hangout with Obama that was advertised as a "fireside" chat, reminiscent of FDR's famous radio addresses.


One participant asked the president why the U.S. hasn't yet phased out the coin, according to Business Insider.


"I gotta tell you, John, I don't know," Obama replied. "Any time we're spending more money on something that people don't actually use, that's an example of something we should change."


If the U.S. dumps the penny, it would be following its neighbor to the north. The Royal Canadian Mint earlier this month halted distribution of the pennies to banks and other financial institutions, with the goal of eventually phasing out the tiny coin from distribution. The reason? The penny costs Canada 1.6 pennies to make, turning it into a money-losing proposition.


The situation is similar for the U.S., where in 2011 it cost the country 2.4 cents to manufacture each coin. According to a group called the Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny, the country spent almost $120 million in 2011 to produce $50 million worth of coins. 


Dropping the penny would produce savings, but overall the amount would be tiny compared with the government's $3.5 trillion in annual spending. 


That hasn't escaped Obama's attention. 


"This is not going to be a huge savings for government," he noted on the Google+ hangout. 


Of course, the penny's fate isn't up to Obama. The U.S. Mint, which makes the coins, is a federal agency, and getting rid of the coin would take an act of Congress.


Obama seems to realize that getting rid of the coin wouldn't be easy. 


"One of the things you see chronically in government, it's very hard to get rid of things that don't work so then we can invest in the things that do," he said, according to Business Insider. "So the penny becomes a good metaphor for a lot of the problems that we've got."


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468Comments
Feb 15, 2013 3:00PM
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Cut the fricking spending... cut the bs .

Feb 15, 2013 2:53PM
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Keep the penny.................dump Obama
Feb 15, 2013 3:24PM
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We don't have to get rid of the penny, we just don't need to mint any more new coins.  Geez, there's probably billions of them in circulation now.
Feb 15, 2013 3:23PM
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If $120 million is not much of a savings, why is the IRS so worked up over my measly few thousand dollars of income tax.
Feb 15, 2013 3:34PM
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The hell with cutting the penny.  Do something about the price of gas!!  We just went to $3.85 a gallon today in central Ohio in the middle of winter and during the weakest demand time of the year.  Hey Obama...you want to save the people lots of money?  Change your policies on the pipeline, gulf drilling and get oil off the commodity market and out of the hands of speculators and gas should come back down below $3 a gallon.
Feb 15, 2013 2:40PM
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"If President Barack Obama has any say in it, the United States is going to lose its cents."

 

Might as well we already "lost our sense" under Obama. 


Feb 15, 2013 3:08PM
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How about we get rid of Obama and save our change!!!
Feb 15, 2013 3:03PM
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If Obama would simply show [minimal] interest in one Senator's plan to cut spending by 1 cent out of each tax dollar, we'd have a balanced budget in 10 years. Obama doesn't understand the value of a penny.
Feb 15, 2013 3:00PM
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 Obama replied. "Any time we're spending more money on something that people don't actually use, that's an example of something we should change."

 

Change to:  Any time we're spending more money on someone that can't do his job (Obama), that's something we should change.

Feb 15, 2013 2:54PM
Feb 15, 2013 3:14PM
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Lets see ...  $120 million to make $50 million worth of pennies. That's a loss of $70 million . There are 313 million Americans, that comes out to 22 cents per person. Now if you get rid of the penny are stores going to round up or down? Up of course. So the government saved 22 cents which it  has spent already and you end up paying higher prices. You can't just have every price end in 5 cents because with sales tax you still end up with a non 5 cent total.
Feb 15, 2013 3:21PM
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If he gets rid of the penny, what will Pelosi hold up to prove she can't take a pay cut?
Feb 15, 2013 2:52PM
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That's Obama. Always working on the really serious problems.

What a POS he is.

Feb 15, 2013 3:44PM
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That's government for you.

THE USPS JUST NOW WENT TO 46c PER STAMP ...THEREBY DEMANDING THE USE OF PENNIES !

 

Feb 15, 2013 3:26PM
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if banks would bring back the old fashion coin changer machines (like they have in vegas) and NOT CHARGE ME FOR IT!!!  i would return a LOT of pennies and nickles and dimes into circulation!
Feb 15, 2013 3:24PM
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(The commander in chief expresses support for getting rid of our smallest coin, which costs more to produce than it's worth.)


I think the same argument can easily be made about Obama's worth to the nation!

Feb 15, 2013 3:31PM
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Something I consider far more important than the penny is the way the government allows the dollar to float skyward, The only thing backing up the mighty dollar is our faith in the government. If the federal reserve keeping printing more money it only devalues what we do have. Dang it, pretty soon bread will be $100.00 a loaf.
Feb 15, 2013 3:01PM
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Jer54

 

That's funny, I though he was just answering a question that was asked of him.  It's not an agenda or even something he has brough up before, but somehow you turn it into something else to berate the President over.  Though I may not agree with all of his policies or agendas I do give him the respect that the office of the POTUS deserves.  You sir are the POS.  What have you done today to improve upon the lives of your fellow citizens?

Feb 15, 2013 3:18PM
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"One of the things you see chronically in government, it's very hard to get rid of things that don't work so then we can invest in the things that do,"

 

Exactly, we can't get rid of Obama in the Whitehouse and invest in a president that actually works.

Feb 15, 2013 4:40PM
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"I gotta tell you, John, I don't know," Obama replied. "Any time we're spending more money on something that people don't actually use, that's an example of something we should change."

 

Does that not sum up about 90% of the policies Washington DC forces down the throats of most Americans?

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