Trillion-Dollar Coin Wonks Rejoice as White House Leaves Coin Door Open

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Press Secretary Jay Carney is a hero among the (too?) many passionate media members in love with the fringe plan of minting a $1-trillion coin to avert a debt-ceiling hostage situation after he somehow refused to completely rule out the plan during a White House briefing Wednesday.

"Do you guys have a position on this trillion dollar coin business?" NBC News's Chuck Todd asked, causing some reporters in the room to giggle. (Watch the full video below.) Todd pressed Carney, calling his answer "evasive." "The option here is for Congress to do its job and pay the bill," Carney said. "There is no Plan B, there is no backup plan. There is Congress' responsibility." Carney wasn't enthusiastic — his obvious first choice is Congress extending the borrowing authority, case closed — but he left enough wiggle room in his answer that it doesn't seem like the idea is totally off the books, even if it remains highly implausible fodder for DC wonks. "You can speculate about lots of things," Carney said. "Nothing needs to come to these kinds of speculative notions about a problem that can be resolved by Congress doing its job."

The gist of the $1 trillion coin is this: If the President were to mint a platinum $1 trillion coin and put it into the country's bank account, it would allow the country to pay its bills and avert the threatened spending negotiations with House Republicans. The consequences on the economy, theoretically, would be less severe than defaulting on the country's loans. It riled up at least one Republican Congressman who tried to get the idea banned

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Now coin supporters like Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal are excited that their plan is still on the table. Carney stirred breathless, all-caps excitement on Twitter for not taking the coin off the table, and some are predicting he might draw a wave of criticism for not denying the idea outright: 

Todd is earning praise, too, and perhaps a new nickname, from fellow journalists for being the guy who finally asked the question:

Chuck Todd: The Trillion Dollar Man. This nickname could have legs. RT @jeneps: Chuck Todd asks about the trillion dollar coin

— The Fix (@TheFix) January 9, 2013

And some are predicting the President might actually mint a coin when it's all said and done. But, in the mean time, there are some fun ideas floating around about the coin's design:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.