One trillion dollars — that’s all it would take to make quick change in the U.S. conflict over the national debt ceiling.
In a modest proposal for the 21st century, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman made the case, half-seriously, for creating a $1-trillion dollar coin.
Krugman pointed out a legal loophole that allows the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination.
By minting a $1-trillion coin for deposit in the Federal Reserve, he argued, "the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all."
Although the suggestion was taken seriously by some, it also sparked a lighthearted thread within a much gloomier economic outlook for U.S. legislators, who continue to debate whether or not to raise the debt ceiling, cut spending, and avoid default.
It's a decision far above the heads of many observers — but the design of the trillion-dollar coin, on the other hand, is a topic toward which many are eager to contribute their two cents.
Parody coins are already being circulated online, most of which feature well-known politicians like President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner and former president Ronald Reagan.
Others decided fictional characters were a better fit for the face of such a decadent coin.
Rich Uncle Pennybags of the Monopoly board game, Disney tycoon Uncle Scrooge McDuck, and The Simpson's cartoonish super-villain C. Montgomery Burns were all nominated as the face of the trillion-dollar coin.
- The most popular power-broker, however, seemed to be Dr. Evil of Austin Powers fame.
The would-be world leader, well known for his bumbling requests for $1 billion, perfectly caricatures the slippery definition of a large sum of money.
- Several users preferred to coin the name or increase the value of the extravagant tender.
- What do you make of the silly or serious end of the trillion dollar coin discussion?