During an online “Fireside Chat” with a random group of Americans, one questioner asked Obama why the United States is still minting pennies when so many economists agree they are economically inefficient and can’t even be used for certain coin-operated machines, such as toll booths. The moderator of the event noted that the penny question was the number one question in the economy section of YouTube.
“I gotta tell you … I don’t know,” Obama replied. “It’s one of those things where I think people get attached emotionally to the way things have been … We remember our piggy banks and counting up all our pennies and then taking them in and getting a dollar bill or a couple dollars from them, and maybe that’s the reason why people haven’t gotten around to it.”
Obama said while it wouldn’t be a huge savings for the government to discontinue the penny — each zinc and copper coin costs 2.41 cents to produce and distribute, according to the mint — the fact that the government keeps spending money on it when it’s not being used much may mean it is “an example of something we should probably change.”
Read more at Huffington Post