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President Barack Obama says it may be time to get rid of the penny.
The copper 1-cent coin has long been criticized for being costlier to mint than it is worth. And with Americans using pennies less and less, some have questioned why the government hasn’t stopped producing them.
Asked whether the penny should be nixed during an online chat sponsored by Google, Obama bluntly admitted, “I don’t know.”
“It’s one of those things where I think people get attached emotionally to the way things have been,” the president said. “We remember our piggy banks and counting out all the pennies and then taking them and getting a dollar bill or a couple of dollars.”
Obama added that the penny is a “good metaphor” for the larger problems facing the federal government.
“This is not going to be a huge savings for government. But anytime we’re spending more money on something that people don’t actually use, that’s an example of something we should probably change,” Obama said. “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.”
But, he acknowledged, getting rid of the penny is not one of his administration’s highest priorities.