Whose Face on the Trillion Dollar Coin?

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,147

I can't believe we're actually having this conversation, but here we are. I mentioned the wacky notion of minting Trillion Dollar coins in a Bonus Bananas late last year, but now the idea is gaining steam as a quick fix for the debt ceiling fight. I'm being serious here; people I actually follow and respect are talking like this is a possibility.

The whole thing is a loophole inside a loophole inside a loophole of legality. Since the Constitution regulates all paper money, and gold, silver, and copper coinage, some enterprising Keynesian must have blurted out, "They didn't say anything about platinum!", because that appears to be the plan. Ship a shitload of platinum to the US Mint, have it pressed into $1,000,000,000,000.00 coins, and then deposit those with the Fed to settle our various bar tabs. So why platinum? Why not tin? And why stop at a Trillion? Why not make Hundred Trillion Dollar coins and really kick the can down the road?

But none of those questions are important today, and you don't have any say in whether it happens or not anyway. But there is one thing they can't do without you - decide whose face goes on the Trillion Dollar Coin. That's right, kids. That has to be put out to a vote.

The more difficult part comes sometime after the decision is made to coin the platinum and before the Mint gets to work in sculpting the pieces.

At that point, the American people must decide whose face will adorn the trillion dollar trinket. The process to determine the "specs" of the coin, U.S. Mint Public Affairs Specialist Genevieve Billia warns, must be "determined by legislation," creating the potential for another congressional impasse.

According to the US Mint, the only hard and fast rule (aside from the voting requirement) is that the person pictured on the coin must be deceased. I'm guessing that's so you don't end up with a Jerry Sandusky on something people are going to be carrying around for the next hundred or so years. Dead guys are easier to vet and don't decide to go off the rails in their autumn years.

While I think John Maynard Keynes would be the obvious choice, I'd give serious consideration to Nelson Aldrich, without whom the Federal Reserve system wouldn't exist. Or maybe Paul Warburg, JP Morgan, or John D. Rockefeller; all equally complicit in the creation of the beast. I'd give Woodrow Wilson a pass on this dubious distinction because at least he had the decency to apologize for signing the Federal Reserve Act into law - an act he considered the most shameful of his presidency (and that bar is set pretty high - Wilson had some doozies).

But what say you, WSO? Whose visage should grace our newest denomination of coinage? Whose face would most piss off the international schmucks that'll be on the receiving end of these subway tokens? Might as well get a little mileage out of 'em. Imagine the look on Hu Jintao's face if he had to look down in his hand and see old "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell smiling back at him.

Comments (48)

Jan 8, 2013

Eddie, had to ask.

What do you think about a former enlisted grunt who has actually been in combat becoming Sec Def?

Do you think all the former officers in the Senate are secretly conspiring to never let this happen?

Jan 8, 2013

Off topic, but it has to be a bitter pill for them to swallow. Because everyone knows the measure of a man is whether or not he's passed fork and knife school.

Jan 8, 2013

FDR: his entitlement programs are the cause of the bulk of our spending, so it seems fitting to me.

    • 1
Jan 8, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

FDR: his entitlement programs are the cause of the bulk of our spending, so it seems fitting to me.

Boom. And his war on the gold standard sent inflation parabolic. I've got an interesting chart on that for this Friday's Bonus Bananas. Like, total hockey stick, despite being completely flat from the founding of the US through the Civil War and World War I. It's brutal.

Jan 8, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
SirTradesaLot:

FDR: his entitlement programs are the cause of the bulk of our spending, so it seems fitting to me.

Boom. And his war on the gold standard sent inflation parabolic. I've got an interesting chart on that for this Friday's Bonus Bananas. Like, total hockey stick, despite being completely flat from the founding of the US through the Civil War and World War I. It's brutal.

Looking forward to it.

Jan 8, 2013

Christopher Hitchens. Not because he'd want anything to do with raising the debt ceiling by another trillion dollars, but because he was the man. How badass would that be?

Also, the fact that we're down to debating whether or not we can mint a trillion dollar coin is completely insane.

That said, we've already passed the bills, so not paying for what we've already passed seems a bit silly. What I'd love to see going forward is the following:

--Raise the debt ceiling, pay for what we already owe
--THEN, refuse to pass another continuing resolution and pass an actual budget. Shut down the government if necessary, but pass an actual budget based upon 2007 baselines (the continuing resolutions that have been passed for the last three years have the Stimulus baked in, as I understand it)

This is essentially what happened in the 1990s. We got spending under control without risking the credit rating of the US.

Jan 8, 2013

The fact that we are actually talking about this means we are already screwed really. A trillion dollar coin? Are you kidding me? I know it sounds strange, but, as TheKing said above, pass a god damn budget. Just the fact that we haven't done that for three years is depressing and should cost every single politician down there their jobs. Then they have the balls to pass a pay increase for themselves. It disgusts me. Now is the time to bring this madness to an end.

Jan 8, 2013
Addinator:

The fact that we are actually talking about this means we are already screwed really. A trillion dollar coin? Are you kidding me? I know it sounds strange, but, as TheKing said above, pass a god damn budget. Just the fact that we haven't done that for three years is depressing and should cost every single politician down there their jobs. Then they have the balls to pass a pay increase for themselves. It disgusts me. Now is the time to bring this madness to an end.

That's such a huge part of the problem. Because we keep going with CRs, we end up baking in much higher levels of spending than we saw historically. I'm not one to call for draconian cuts that crush the less well-off, but I'd like to see a legitimate budget with cuts all around get passed. The GOP would look a lot more noble if they did that instead of this brinksmanship garbage. Not to mention, them doing this sets such a completely insane precedent going forward.

Jan 8, 2013

Wasn't there an entire Simpsons episode dedicated to this? If I recall correctly, Fidel Castro is just going to steal it anyway.

One louder.

Jan 8, 2013

I don't think any of the guys you mentioned would have gone through with that so Big Ben gets the nod imo.

Jan 8, 2013

Henry Wallace

Oh, the irony.

Jan 8, 2013

You guys beat me to it, but FDR would just be straight up perfect.

Jan 8, 2013

Michael Jackson

Jan 8, 2013

how about every politician that has ever voted for more spending/higher taxes/entitlement programs... did i mention more spending?

Jan 8, 2013
TNA:

We should continue to spend and cut taxes until this country breaks in half and then we can just destroy the entitlements and screw people over. You are entitled to live and die, nothing else.

If you want to get technical, the only things you should expect are death and taxes?

TNA:

I pay into SSI with zero hopes of seeing my money back.

Why cut losses to zero percent on the dollar? Keep that program going and at least get something. Or, require amnesty for the 15MM+/- immigrants here who don't pay SS taxes and expand the revenue stream. (and maybe use some of that money to gain control of the border, just to keep the GOP on board?)

Thebigdirty444:

Only option on a $1,000,000,000,000 coin is the Troll face.

E pluribus Umad?

Dude, this is hilarious, please go to an open mic night and spout off, I'd pay to see it.

jrtr8der:

how about every politician that has ever voted for more spending/higher taxes/entitlement programs... did i mention more spending?

Seconded - in the spirit of inflation, let's have multiple faces on different issues. Hell, put a face on each side and mint some coins with multiple faces. Since we're off the map, get creative? Different sizes and shapes, and if this thing is worth $1TT of monopoly money, I want a hologram. Get those ridges running parallel to the circumference instead of perpendicular...or better yet, diagonal. If this is to be the flagship currency, fuckit, make it one foot wide and put a small LCD screen in there, and get a UBS port with a "print your own money app" so people can hook this sucker up to a printer and churn out their own bills.

Jan 8, 2013

Can't take full credit for this one as a friend of mine posted it to Facebook, but I thought it was pure gold:

John Boehner

Jan 8, 2013

scratch that every political ever....that should fit on a 1 trillion dollar coin, juts make it big enough hell make it out of tin and fool the public, thats what they do anyways

Jan 8, 2013

Stephen Colbert had a good idea on his show last night.

It was the Charmin Bear, holding a bunch of toilet paper.

"Because to pull an idea like this that far out of your ass, you will need something extra soft"

Jan 8, 2013
BigSwingingDave:

Stephen Colbert had a good idea on his show last night.

It was the Charmin Bear, holding a bunch of toilet paper.

"Because to pull an idea like this that far out of your ass, you will need something extra soft"

Agreed.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Jan 8, 2013

Dagobert Duck

Jan 8, 2013

Paul Krugman for being a moron

Jan 8, 2013

A map of Jekyll Island.

PE is the new black.

Jan 8, 2013

Al Capone

Jan 8, 2013

Patrick Bateman

"don't just stare at it Sabrina, Eat it"

Jan 8, 2013

Just in case you think this isn't for real, go to Twitter and look up the hashtag #MintTheCoin and check out who's talking about it. I can't believe we're really here.

Jan 8, 2013

I had to check my calendar to see it wasn't the first of April..

Jan 8, 2013

Only option on a $1,000,000,000,000 coin is the Troll face.

E pluribus Umad?

Jan 8, 2013
Thebigdirty444:

Only option on a $1,000,000,000,000 coin is the Troll face.

E pluribus Umad?

This is great. Congratulations, that is an excellent first post. I vote for this, or FDR.

To you econ guys that know a hell of a lot more than me: I've read a few articles about this in the past few days on Zite. Many of the articles cite arguments by proponents of the coin, saying this won't cause hyperinflation because our currency is not based on the gold standard. This makes me giggle in disbelief. To me is seems to go against basic macroeconomic concepts. Perhaps my problem is that basic economic concepts pretty much sum-up my scope of knowledge in this area. These proponents would tell me I simply do not know how the US Treasury works, almost verbatim from a couple articles.

What are your thoughts? Does this coin really go against basic economic concepts? Am I a fuck-ass? Are they fuck-asses?

Jan 9, 2013
SureThing:
Thebigdirty444:

Only option on a $1,000,000,000,000 coin is the Troll face.

E pluribus Umad?

This is great. Congratulations, that is an excellent first post. I vote for this, or FDR.

To you econ guys that know a hell of a lot more than me: I've read a few articles about this in the past few days on Zite. Many of the articles cite arguments by proponents of the coin, saying this won't cause hyperinflation because our currency is not based on the gold standard. This makes me giggle in disbelief. To me is seems to go against basic macroeconomic concepts. Perhaps my problem is that basic economic concepts pretty much sum-up my scope of knowledge in this area. These proponents would tell me I simply do not know how the US Treasury works, almost verbatim from a couple articles.

What are your thoughts? Does this coin really go against basic economic concepts? Am I a fuck-ass? Are they fuck-asses?

Magical "this time it's different" thinking from people who don't understand how fiat currency works.

Jan 8, 2013

Entitlement programs are a cancer. We should continue to spend and cut taxes until this country breaks in half and then we can just destroy the entitlements and screw people over. I pay into SSI with zero hopes of seeing my money back.

You are entitled to live and die, nothing else. This idea that you have the right to take something from someone else because you deem them to have too much is parasitic and destructive.

Jan 8, 2013

This reminds me of Zimbabwe and their 1 trillion dollar bill . Smh. Is this the best they can come up with . How about a trillion dollar stimulus just for jobs

Jan 8, 2013

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln

Jan 8, 2013

The fact that the President is considering this instead of cutting entitlements is disgusting. He got increased takes on the rich, increased revenue, and now is time to cut spending.

Jan 8, 2013
TNA:

The fact that the President is considering this instead of cutting entitlements is disgusting. He got increased takes on the rich, increased revenue, and now is time to cut spending.

To be fair the President does not support this. It started as a White House petition on their website with barely 3000 signatures. Now some liberal politicians and pundits support it. Is he intransigent of spending cuts? Yeah probably. but if he won't even consider the 14th Amendment gimmick then why would he support this, which is a hell of a lot more risky?

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln

Jan 8, 2013

Johnny Appleseed

without him there would be no apples.

500 Bananas.

Jan 8, 2013

Bernie Madoff. Do it.

Jan 8, 2013

its fitting to put the face of that socialist obama on the coin. hes the one spending

    • 1
Jan 8, 2013

Charles Ponzi

Jan 8, 2013

Chuck Norris

Jan 8, 2013

The Troll face and then send a few to China while you're at it.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jan 8, 2013

Kim Kardashian. The coin will epitomize inflation and reckless spending.

Jan 8, 2013

big baby ben rappelling from a helicopter

Jan 9, 2013

No face, just a giant middle finger.

Jan 9, 2013

How much would it suck if you had a hole in your pocket, and your trillion dollars fell in the sewer?

Jan 9, 2013
BTbanker:

How much would it suck if you had a hole in your pocket, and your
trillion dollars fell in the sewer?

It's already there.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Jan 11, 2013
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Jan 11, 2013

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