With the so-called fiscal cliff averted, laypeople and politicians alike are clamoring for a quick resolution of the impending debt-ceiling crisis. And the most bizarre idea so far is a proposal for the government to mint a single $1 trillion coin to help pay down the national debt without raising the ceiling.
A new White House petition calling for the specially made coin was created Thursday and had garnered almost 4,000 signatures by Saturday evening. The petition -- beginning “We petition the obama administration to direct the United States Mint to make a single platinum trillion dollar coin!” -- must receive an official answer from the Obama administration if it gathers 25,000 signatures by Feb. 2.
“With the creation and Treasury deposit of a new platinum coin with a value of $1 trillion US Dollars, we would avert the absurd-yet-imminent debt ceiling faceoff in Congress in two quick and simple steps!” the petition reads. “While this may seem like an unnecessarily extreme measure, it is no more absurd than playing political football with the US -- and global -- economy at stake.”
See, the government is allowed to mint platinum coins worth any amount at all. So the idea behind this petition is that the government would mint the $1 trillion coin, deposit it in the U.S. treasury, and technically pay off a large amount of the nation’s debt. That way, the country would be well under its currently allowed debt limit.
Supporters of the petition see this as an elegant way to avoid making cuts to Social Security and other federal programs. Conservative leaders refuse to raise the debt ceiling without making vast cuts to social programs, and many liberals refuse to compromise on these issues.
If the debt-ceiling crisis isn’t resolved soon -- either by raising the debt ceiling or by paying off debt -- it could have disastrous consequences for the nation. The U.S. could default on some of its debt and could no longer borrow money to pay its bills at reasonable rates. This could cause a large financial crisis and even a recession.