Missing Things

10 January 2013

Mint the Coin!

I've just heard about this plan for the U. S. National Treasury to mint a $1,000,000,000,000 platinum Coin and deposit it in the Federal Reserve in order to alleviate congressional spending issues. Read about it here.

My opinion: this sounds equal parts amazing, ingenious, and absurd. Therefore the government should do it and I fully support it. I propose the following additions to the plan:

1) Since only one will ever be made and the plan is to spend as little money as possible making it, ideally it would not even be minted. Carving a minting plate for a single coin that will never be used? Please. The Treasury can just press out a flat disc of platinum, declare it to be a coin worth $1,000,000,000,000, and immediately deposit it in the highest security vault that the Federal Reserve has. What, we can't do exactly that because that could lead to really easy forgery? Fine - have them scratch a really simple design into it and keep its true appearance a secret! Or, you know, not worry about it, since it'll be useless as a unit of exchange - no bank would deposit it or give change, so it'd only be worth the value of the platinum it was printed on anyway - so there would be no benefit in forging it.

2) The next thing I fully support is that someone breaks into the Federal Reserve and steals it. Ideally this would be Nicholas Cage, but I am willing to be flexible. Certainly it'd be useless as a unit of exchange, but it's the principle of the thing! Everyone knows rare things are more valuable; it's a well-known principle of economics. This would be the only trillion-dollar coin in the world, certified as such by the federal government. This Coin, ladies and gentlemen, is the physical representation of the purchasing power and budgetary demands of the U. S. Congress! A symbol of American prosperity and ingenuity, or governmental excess, take your pick, it's the national zeitgeist in cold metallic form. Everyone should want one! Not everyone can have one, of course, which is part of the amazingness of the idea and further contributes to its symbolic nature. It is an object that invites theft, by anyone sophisticated enough to realize its true worth and skilled enough to accomplish the task. Clearly this is a job for Carmen Sandiego.

But, you ask, isn't this a reason why minting the Coin would be a bad idea? After all, part of the advantage of is supposedly the security of having only the one coin! Not at all: the government has an obvious fallback measure. In order to properly serve its purpose, the Coin must be kept secure in the deepest vaults of the Federal Reserve; if it ever leaves storage it will instantly lose all its value both to the government and to the person who steals it. If it is ever stolen, no one will ever know, so naturally the Coin will always remain in the vault.

3) There is one final thing that the Treasury can do. As rare, important, significant, and desirable as the Coin would be to Americans as a whole, it is sad that no one would ever see it. To alleviate these needs and create a further supply of funds for the needs of the government, I propose that the Treasury mint commemorative replicas of the Coin for public sale and distribution. This is, after all, well within its legal allowances.