February 14th, 2013
07:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama leaves a penny for his thoughts

(CNN) - President Barack Obama has weighed in with his two cents on the 1-cent coin.

But penny pinchers looking for a plan to make the penny less expensive may be disappointed.

Obama fielded a question about the coin in a "Google Hangout" online chat on Thursday. For the time being, he'll continue to allow those short on change to take a penny and leave a penny.

"We all remember, at least those of us of a certain age - some of you are a lot younger than me - but we remember our piggy banks and counting up all our pennies and taking them in, gettin' a dollar bill or couple dollars from them. And maybe that's the reason why people haven't gotten around to it," Obama said.

Minting the coin costs a pretty penny - two of them, in fact. The U.S. Mint say the production and shipping costs for one penny is 2 cents, and the costs pile up. Last year the Mint handled some 5.8 billion pennies.

There are arguments that to continue use of the penny would be a pound foolish, but also the sentimental arguments such as the one Obama made.

And, as Obama said, eliminating the penny "is not gonna be a huge savings for government."

He did allow that "anytime we're spending more money on something that people don't actually use, that's an example of something we should probably change," he said.

But there's also a larger message to a government that hardly has a penny to its name.

"One of the things that you see chronically in government is it's very hard to get rid of things that don't work so that we can then invest in the things that do," he said. "The penny, I think, ends up being a good metaphor for some of the larger problems we got."

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Ed

    How about an explanation as to why Obama has broken federal law by not submitting quarterly reports on his stimulus?

    February 14, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Yea Right

    A penny for his thought? That's about what it's worth!

    February 14, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I am of the opinion that we slowly phase out the penny. That should be done until we can make the penny more cheaply. We are always going to still need the penny for those small exchanges.

    February 14, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. donna

    The economy will knock us cents-less.

    February 14, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. James Bond

    Whats a hundred million $ anyway

    February 15, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  6. Name lynn

    the gop have penny for your thoughts, obama want agree with it, yet obama will find away to put pennies in their places, the white house leaders, the republicans, boener dont like obama pennies for his thoughts.

    February 15, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  7. Clarke

    Granted, pennies make dollars. Might be time to save some money and stop minting them. It seems to be a no brainier!,

    February 15, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. James Pritchard

    well if you get rid of it how wood we get change back from the store they cant keep our change if they only us 4 cents or so that wood be staeling our money we got keep it or we will be getting rip off we need the penny for change at stores

    February 15, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  9. James Pritchard

    We need the penny because of the store and we need six sences or so if we dont have the penny we dont have change it only right to keep it and defently for us low payed like my self what wood we do it been here for ever

    February 15, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. empresstrudy

    A penny is the new dollar.

    February 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. spanglish

    Every time you are trying to eliminate a coin, is a sign that the economy is in shambles

    February 15, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |