Ask Mrs. Vera: What About a Trillion Dollar Coin?


Dear Mrs. Vera,

What do you think about a Trillion dollar coin as a solution to the debt ceiling issue?
Owe-verwhelmed in Owe-maha

Dear Ow-weema-wa Ow-weeema-wa,

Mrs. Vera at Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco, 2012.

Mrs. Vera Newman, San Francisco.
©2102 BIRON.

Thank you for your question regarding the appropriate, grown-up response to handling the debts one has incurred in the process of making both the continued existence of millions and millions of Americans living in poverty barely possible while simultaneously continuing to inflate the wealth of the bagful of elite, expensive-chair-breaking multimillionaires who’ve got it all, except for that part that helps workers eat and do whatever it is the poor do with all that free time. Surprisingly, the answer is not (and I know you get this a lot) that The Lion Sleeps Tonightno matter how catchy that may be as an economic slogan. I’m afraid we will have to dig our grave a little deeper before a greater understanding of what is actually going can occur.

A little history from the ’70s may, I say, “may,” prove helpful. It was a time when societal restrictions were breaking down and people listened to a lot of music, just like the ’60s, when the economy boomed. Only the ’70s had much worse clothing and hair and the economy tanked — draw your own conclusions. Faced with stagflation and mounting financial duress, our Great Nation first attempted the slot machine solution of “one coin to rule them all” around the time of Ford and Carter (which I believe was a popular detective show on CBS).

The KruGrand — One Trillion Dollar Coin.

Hey, kids! Click on the picture, print it out, color it in — with special emphasis on staying in the lines and maintaining proper Verastyle color coordination — and mail it to Dr. Paul Krugman at the New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018!

Thus a 1,978 million dollar coin, The Klugman, was scheduled for release, based on the confidence-inspiring and unweatherable hangdog face of the renowned actor who portrayed both Dr. Quincy as well as Dolly Madison’s descendant, Oscar Madison, on another CBS hit, The Odd couple. The strategy’s results remain hotly debated to this day, as the policy was never seen in action since Oscar lost the coin immediately in his slovenly apartment, and many suspect that it is now entombed in the sinus cavity of Tony Randall or, perhaps, stuck between two slices of pepperoni in a pizza box in the Staten Island landfill. Instead, following Reagan‘s release of all the crazy people everywhere and by his raising of taxes repeatedly while he was in office, and Prince, the economy finally righted itself, setting the stage for a 30 year cooky jar-raiding binge so bad that just about everybody lost their jobs unless they were already lobbyists or a lobbyist aficionado.

Prior to all that, Americans have long sought to balance the nation’s debt through the use of our children’s joyous happiness, for which no amount of Chinese money could hope to compare, interest rate wise, with that of taxpaying parents when it comes to their beloved little dividends. For decades, the economy has been bolstered by the issuance of commemorative chocolate coins into the stockings of celebrants throughout the holidays, generating priceless goodwill, as well as being a somewhat tasty and locally quite hyper-stimulative measure. Please don’t jump on the couch, dear, Mother is writing. Anyway, even the ones with crispy rice came in fantastic, astronomical denominations with “1,000,000”, “Pirate’s Chest”, “Davy Jones’ Doubloon” and “May Contain Peanuts” emblazoned onto the embossed foil of the candy-scented circular brown crayons that have prevented uncounted scores of American Depressions over the years.

So the reader should be thrilled by the prospect of another coin this size, named for the highly qualified, Nobel Prize-winning, economic policy analyst, Paul Krugman, which I assume they will call a KrugGrand because the possessor of a trillion dollar coin has got to feel like a thousand bucks!!! Can you imagine how grand you would feel if the coin happened to get carelessly tossed into that ratty, old spare change cup you’ve been using? Awesome, I bet, and much easier to drag home than the 4 trillion quarters the spare-changing greedy poor might typically receive from an oil subsidy or from the kind of people they will never, ever get to meet at any point in their lifetimes.

I’ve volunteered my input as regarding the design of the coin — specifically that if they make the edges less ridgey, they are less likely to get stuck up in those hard-to-reach ceiling tiles, along with other resource-draining pencils, gum, cupcakes and bullets. The N.R.A. and I have had a very public, longstanding disagreement regarding the safety issues of over-ridging coins, and until the members of the National Reachy-ladder Association come to their senses, people’s lives will remain unnecessarily in danger, especially at that top step. A final word of warning to any finding themselves in possession of this Congressional misconduct and malfeasence-obviating, disfunction-replacing token: When you bite down on it, it will neither bend nor will it transport you to a Swiss alpine mountaintop where the frosty wind electrifies your every taste sensation, simply because it has been freshly minted. But it will probably break your tooth, and can definitely be counted on to fix that table that wobbles, maybe.


Mrs. Vera NewmanMrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!


  1. OpinionatedChick says

    I saw that there was a petition going around to get the president to consider Paul Krugman to become the next treasury secretary. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case since the president already has another nominee – but I’m glad to see that he’s someone who Mr. Krugman considers a pragmatic choice. Thanks, Mrs. Vera!

    • Thanks for your vote of support, and for being an Opinionated Lady! Nobody really likes unflavored Pizza with nothing on it, I like readers with opinions, whatever they are…I refer to my own as “Ol’ Piney Onions” and they are good with pesto, or so I’ve been told.
      I would have been very excited had Mr. Krugman been chosen for the post, but am optimistic that Mr. Obama has made a good choice. The confirmation will be, perhaps, less hysterically overwrought. If the economy was being less constantly self-sabotaged by the beholden Republican Tantrum branch of the government, who knows what better battles the president might have fought (Calgon, take me away!).
      My personal disappointment is reserved for my own lack of success in getting appointed Receptionist of the Treasury (there were over 300 million applicants), but only @ 1% of those sending in resumes were given the position. Jobs jobs jobs!
      The only applicants for Treasurer of the Treasury were C. Montgomery Burns and Uncle Scrooge McDuck and Rick Perry (who thought “Treasury” and “Treasurer” were how you spell the plural forms of “Treason” and showed up for the interview with a pointy hand on a stick and a pretty lame dance routine to a song he recorded in his garage.)

  2. Linda Ekblad says

    Mrs. Vera, you make everything so clear. I wouldn’t understand any of this without you.

    • Oh, thank you kindly Linda. A little windex to the brain really helps to put one’s problems in perspective…Somebody call me another ambulance, please.
      If you are anything like me, Ms. Ekblad, you will be Ms. Ek-GLAD when you take your eyeglasses out of your ear and those hearing aids off of your eyes and switch them. Unless you are in an airport where the TV is tuned to Fox News.