Nightly News   |  January 08, 2013

‘Trillion-dollar coin’ gets currency online

Some members of Congress, and even Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, say the president should be ready to “mint that coin!” But does it make economic sense? NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, so we survived the fiscal cliff after all. the next dire circumstance you're going to hear us talking about around here is the debt ceiling, which, make no mistake, has the capacity to crash the u.s. economy . so wouldn't it be just like the current thinking in washington and the cast of characters there if they could mint a coin they could spend that could solve the problem. believe it or not, some serious people are asking, why not? our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles.

>> one fight down is another taken up.

>> reporter: deadlock in washington? again?

>> take all the fights we had, and put them all in one fight.

>> some are even threatening another government shutdown .

>> reporter: how to solve it. what if we simply minted a platinum trillion- dollar coin ? not entirely new, the trillion-dollar billion was introduced on "the simpsons."

>> ooh, a trillion- dollar bill , that's a spicy meatball.

>> reporter: still it is an idea getting a lot of currency online. petition with more than 6,000 signatures and nobel prize winning economist paul krugman says the president should be ready to mint that coin. in theory the treasury would mint the trillion- dollar coin and then walk it over to the federal reserve for deposit, so the government can pay its bills. oops. is it legal? technically the treasury doesn't need the permission of congress to mint platinum coins , but does it make economic sense?

>> this whole coin business doesn't deal with the debt and deficit issue and it does not make it go away.

>> my name is david greenstein and i'm a professional numismatist.

>> easy for you to say.

>> reporter: we visited a coin dealer to figure out how big it would need to be.

>> solid platinum 747 aircraft to have $1 trillion worth of platinum.

>> reporter: some suggest it's a political ploy.

>> we should have known a coin was obama's solution to everything. it was right there in his slogan, "change."

>> reporter: the next big political battle will most certainly be whose face gets to be on it. obama? boehner? or maybe bieber. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago.