Do you remember #MintTheCoin?
If you are not familiar with Twitter, or don't frequent the social media website, then a brief explanation of this phenomenon will suffice.
We all recall the fiascoes surrounding the budget that have cropped up seemingly every year. This was especially the case in 2013. At the time, Congress was fighting over the debt ceiling and, as a means of pushing their agenda, many tea party members of Congress were willing to let the country fall off the "fiscal cliff."
The situation played out in the public and likely hurt the image of the US Congress. The controversy was led in part by Ted Cruz and other Republicans who were willing to posture in order to extract concessions from Democrats and the Obama administration. This eventually led to the government shutdown in October of 2013.
In contrast to this "political football" played by the legislature, rumors began to swirl about a potential solution to the entire problem. The law passed in 1996 authorizing the United States Mint's platinum coin, the American Platinum Eagle, technically does not specify the face value of these coins. It is at the discretion of the Treasury Department and the president to set a denomination.
People began to point out this loophole as a possible solution. Why not mint a platinum coin and give it a face value of a trillion dollars? These coins could be deposited into the Treasury to temporarily avoid the debt ceiling. The coins would only cost the government the price of production.
#MintTheCoin Is Born
As silly as the idea of a trillion-dollar coin sounds, many people found this less absurd than the tactics being employed by the members of Congress. Twitter users started circulating the #MintTheCoin hashtag as a way of criticizing the behavior of our legislators.
The hashtag gained traction. It was even supported by liberal economist Paul Krugman in facetious terms. For the most part it was taken as a joke. However, the mocking was a way for people on Twitter to express their displeasure with the entire situation.
The notion of #MintTheCoin came back to the fore during the political wrangling over the budget and debt limit this past October. The idea is now resurfacing yet again in reference to how the various presidential candidates would fix the economy.
Some people are suggesting that a President Trump or President Sanders (were either candidate eventually elected) would #MintTheCoin on their first day in office.
While it is certainly unfeasible to merely assign a trillion dollars to a single coin, the point is this: How is this any less ridiculous than the ideas that Congress puts forth?
At minimum, the wacky notion of a trillion-dollar platinum coin makes more sense to most Americans than the convoluted bills and dishonest tactics used by our law-makers!
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