Establishment of a preserve for an endangered spackled stoat, requiring the immediate resettlement of everyone living in Iowa.
High-speed rail across the Atlantic.
$32 billion on a museum to commemorate the struggle to pass the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
$100 billion to modernize the nation’s schools (specifically, free plastic surgery for all the teachers).
People would be delighted, especially if government money had done something for their neighborhood, like installing free electric-car chargers in front of Planned Parenthood, which is totally the reason the Founders fought for Independence. A year later one of the Democratic caucuses’ more untethered individuals would point out that there were still 29 of the coins left; justice demanded that the government use them to eliminate poverty now, preferably by cutting them up into small pieces and taping them to lottery tickets. This would set the stage for monthly mintings, which would replace budget negotiations. No longer would the Republicans attempt to negotiate over the rise in the debt ceiling; they’d wrangle over who got to be on the coin, and MSNBC hosts would eviscerate the GOP for holding the country hostage because they wanted the coin to show Ronald Reagan scowling with angry disapproval.
The GOP would cave and agree to show Reagan looking neutral, with an unspecified promise of a coin to show Calvin Coolidge somewhat unhappy, six years out.
“If putting a dead white man from an era when the Klan was powerful on our currency,” President Obama said, “is the point the Republicans want to make to the American people, I’m willing to let them make this. As long as we can do this deal that protects working families.”
Time mag cover: a trillion coin with Obama stamped in relief wearing a Lincoln beard and hat.
Actual economic impact? Pshaw! Oh, maybe hyperinflation. Forty years from now, perhaps you’ll hear ads on talk radio announcing that a stash of uncirculated trillion-dollar coins has been discovered. Mounted in Lucite with a certificate of authenticity, these reminders of our bygone times can be had for just 100 AND, or Adjusted New Dollars.
They had to revaluate the currency because there weren’t enough places on the ATM screens. People got carpal-tunnel syndrome typing in “2,000,000,000” when they just wanted something to cover lunch.
– Mr. Lileks blogs at www.lileks.com.