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Friday, February 15, 2013

President Obama Hates the Penny, Too

Posted by on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:44 AM

In a video chat yesterday, President Obama shared some hard truths about the penny when someone asked him why cents were still in circulation:

"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."...He went on to call the penny "a good metaphor for some of the larger problems that we've got," pointing to the fact that the government has problems getting "rid of things that don't work so that we can then invest in the things that do."

Yeah, he's right. Dammit, if only someone in government had the power to force the penny out of circulation...oh, wait, I forgot. He's the president of the motherfucking United States. Maybe he ought to take the lead on this?

 

Comments (26) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
First the penny, then he's going to return the dollar to the original version we used to have, before 1960, where it didn't have "In God We Trust" stuck on it.

Cool.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
2
President Obama should just end the penny. He can do anything. Oh, that's right. Congress. If only we had journalists to remind us of these things.
Posted by GermanSausage on February 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Mahtli69 3
"Maybe he ought to take the lead on this?"

Maybe there are thousands of higher priority things to take the lead on?
Posted by Mahtli69 on February 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
DeaconBlues 4
ah, yes

the "it is only possible to do one thing and exactly one thing at a time" theory of Doing Stuff
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on February 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 5
He did a great job at taking the lead on drone killings so I'd think the penny would be pretty easy
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
Maybe it is because only congress has that power.

I mean, I guess Obama could have requested leeway from congress to act...oh wait, he has several times, and it has been denied.

He also could have put forward a few plans to change the alloys of coins to make them cheaper. Oh wait, he did that too and congress would not hear of it.

Good thing we all have the internet to tell us these things.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 7
reminder that coin reform would save us billions of dollars every year

yes, billions
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on February 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
So what happens if we stop making pennies. How long before they're rarely sighted in circulation? Two years? Twenty years?

Speaking of which, I received a $2 bill in change the other day. Hadn't seen one of them suckers in 20 years.
Posted by Dougsf on February 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 9
My favorite are the new dollar coins. Did you know you can buy $1 coins for only $1.12? You have to buy 100 at a time though (plus $5 shipping). You can also get a roll of 25 for $33, but that's getting pricy.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 15, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
10
If we got rid of the penny, where would that leave sales tax?
Posted by Erica Tarrant on February 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 11
@8: If Canada is any indication... about two weeks.

Pennies were "phased out" here on February 4, by which I mean that the mint stopped making them and the central bank stopped distributing. There are still tons out in the wild, in cash registers, tip jars, and piggy banks.

However, pretty much every retail outlet has stopped handing them out. They started rounding off cash transactions when they give change. Last grocery store I went had no pennies at all in the register.

I assume they will still accept pennies - they are still legal tender - but only to roll them up and trade them in for higher denominations.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
12
Oh, God, Paul, I didn't think there was anything you believed that I wouldn't support. I guess I was wrong.

Can we worry about more important things now and leave the negativity concerning small things to Mudede?
Posted by Bugnroolet on February 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
When France phased out the Franc for the Euro, it took about three years before they totally went out of circulation. First the major country went, about 18 months, then the colonies around the world. But even a year after, I could still turn in old Francs at certain major banks and they'd take them.

Do it now, end them this year, give people until 2015 to turn them in (on President's Day, cause, Lincoln!) and let banks turn them in before 2020. Just the copper and zinc alone will be worth more than the raw coin.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
despicable me 14
Paul, Mr. President, LEAVE MY PENNY ALONE! I love pennies, they have been my good luck charms for years. I find 2 to 5 every week. Nobody will stop and pick up a dropped penny anymore. I just don't get it, it's more than you had a minute before.

Find a penny pick it up, for the rest of the day you'll have good luck. Waste not, want not. For the want of a nail, the horse was lost. So many metaphors, so little time.

(no I didn't vote in the legally binding SLOG poll, I missed it and it was a stupid poll anyway)

SAVE THE PENNY!
Posted by despicable me on February 15, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 15
I estimate we'll get rid of the penny just as quickly as we adopted the metric system.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 15, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
kamsbry 16
@11: Was there all last week and nobody freaked out about the loss of the Canadian penny. They just shrugged had a quick chat with the person behind the register and went on with their day. I saved 5 of them and smuggled them back across the border where I will eventually sell them for a tidy profit.
Posted by kamsbry on February 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
let's say a bill comes to $1.92. if that gets rounded DOWN, whereas $1.93 gets rounded UP, i'm cool with losing the penny.

by my cynicism tells me $1.91 will = $1.95.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 18
The dollar bill is just as obsolete as the penny.

Replacing paper notes would also be a good move, since paper notes are not very hygienic. Especially $1:00 notes.
Posted by doloresdaphne on February 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 19
...I mean, replacing paper notes with wipeable plastic notes.
Posted by doloresdaphne on February 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 20
I think the reluctance to let go of the penny is in having to admit you can't do shit with a penny anymore and people who remember things like penny candy and penny postcards don't want to wake up the harsh reality of time moving on. They simply don't want to admit that a penny doesn't buy anything anymore. It's like admitting failure maybe. Or admitting your youth is over.

Also, with the penny gone, merchants will have to adjust prices, right? Nothing can be $2.99 anymore (unless you put it on a credit or debit card. And you know if merchants have to round-off to the nearest nickel, they're going to round up, right? No one selling something $17.96 is going to sell it for $17.95 unless we're talking about a highly ethical business person, and when have we last seen that?
Posted by Bauhaus I on February 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Knat 21
I'm amazed no one has provided the Death to Pennies video from YouTube. Really great, though I can't swear by the facts.

I also love the design of the shirt this guy sells. I'm totally buying one as soon as I can.
Posted by Knat on February 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 22
@20 I've been to countries (Turkey was one) where small change is rare enough to not be used at all. Next to the register is a tub of small candies, and instead of small change they hand you a few candies.

In other words, even if we weren't ready to get rid of the penny (we are), we could always go with a sweets based economy. I have a feeling America would have no problem with this.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Dougsf 23
@21 - That was great, I'm sold.
Posted by Dougsf on February 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
24
@7: Got a citation for that? Canada estimated it would save $11 million a year.
Posted by bigyaz on February 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
chaseacross 25
You know the Tea Party types would go positively apoplectic. It's the de facto right wing response to anything Obama does. I can already read the headlines on Free Republic. "First the penny, then the white people," or perhaps "Getting rid of penny to prepare for one world currency."
Posted by chaseacross on February 15, 2013 at 9:39 PM · Report this
26
No wonder why Pres. Obama hates penny. The penny is perhaps the most debatable coin in circulation, as it is more expensive than one cent to make one and nobody likes the things. A sporting goods store is so federal reserve up with them that the shop owner has declared cents prohibited from the property. Pay for your next sports supplies with a cash advance.
Posted by johnlim on June 11, 2013 at 2:19 AM · Report this

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