Finance / Politics

US Mint Announces Trillion-Dollar Contest

What should the platinum trillion dollar coin look like?

What should the platinum trillion dollar coin look like?

WASHINGTON – (AP)  Treasury officials announced today that submissions will be accepted in anticipation of its minting of one trillion-dollar platinum coin. “Though the administration has not indicated any intention to do so, the possibility warrants proper preparation,” a spokesman said Thursday morning.

At the moment, the White House has refused to comment on the idea, insisting that a deal will be reached before hitting the March deadline. “It is Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills of the United States… There is no alternative to Congress raising the debt ceiling,” responded a terse Jay Carney to reporters on Wednesday, when asked about the plan.

Which is not to say that it couldn’t happen. In an interview with Wired.com, former US Mint director Philip Diehl explains the likeliest scenario, should the decision to strike the coin be made. It would be a small coin – perhaps only an ounce in size – that would be transported to the Treasury after minting and used to pay off a trillion dollars’ worth of bills, thereby giving the federal government that much extra space from the debt ceiling.

The leading candidate so far for display on the coin is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), whose party’s legislative intransigence might be the catalyst for the coin’s production. Design ideas range from a simple profile of the congressman to a pastoral display depicting him bearing a flag and sheaf of wheat in each arm. The traditional motto of “In God We Trust” would be excluded in favor of a more tongue in cheek inscription, “E Pluribus, UnumSolutio”.

Boehner was not pleased with the news.  “The administration is crafting a tremendous fuck you, both to me and the American people. I sincerely hope this is not under consideration.”

What began as an internet joke has taken on a life of its own, with the economic ramifications of such a move being considered. Contrary to hype, the coin would not undermine the dollar or cause hyperinflation, as it would not be ‘dumped’ onto the economy. Especially among America’s political left, support for the plan has mushroomed to the same extent that it has drawn vehement opposition.  One thing is for certain: Should Congress and the White House not be able to reach a conclusion to the debt ceiling discussions in March, the coin would be just another thread in the growing tapestry of polarization in American politics.

Submissions can be sent to:

United States Mint
Trillion Dollar Coin Design
801 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20220-0001

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