TOM THE DANCING BUG: And a Platinum Coin Shall Save America!

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the forging of platinum coin defeats a nefarious threat to deliberately cause grave harm to America. BE THE FIRST ON YOUR BLOCK to see Tom the Dancing Bug every week! Members of the elite and prestigious INNER HIVE get the comic in their inboxes at least a day before publication -- and much, much MORE!

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  1. It was forged in the fiery depths of the mint, and only there can it be unmade!

    I can hardly believe this is the first place I’m reading this joke.

    1. It was a trillion dollar bill that he was supposed to deliver to Europe after WWII to help them rebuild, but he instead kept it for himself. When the FBI got too close he, Homer and Smithers fled to Cuba to start a new country only to discover there already was one. Fidel asks to see the bill, presumably out of curiosity. When Burns asks to have it back Fidel tells him, “Have what back?” and the three of them end up on a raft to Miami.

      1. “The Trouble With Trillions,” a 1998 episode of The Simpsons:

    2. In 515 episodes, The Simpsons have pretty much covered every aspect of existence in one way or another.

  2. Brilliant!

    While I’m here: Can anyone explain how injecting new money into the economy doesn’t effect inflation? Surely that breaks the finance equivalent of Newton’s 3rd law?

    If not then they might as well make it 100 billion.

    1. The coin in question isn’t going to enter the economy so no, it won’t affect inflation.  Basically, Congress has imposed an arbitrary debt limit on itself and the proposal is to print a bunch of money (equivalent to printing a bunch of treasury bills) and then hold it in a bank vault just to be able to say, “Our assets are worth more than our debt so the debt limit can be ignored.”

      It’s all theater.  The debt limit isn’t a real limit and the trillion dollar coin isn’t real money.  The fake currency cancels out the fake debt limit to allow the economy to function (?) as it did before this “crisis”.

    2. The money has already been injected.  Congress has passed the spending, just not the borrowing to pay for the spending.  All those SS checks, all those submarines, all the flags on coffins, the checks are already out in the wild. The debt ceiling, like the fiscal cliff, is a manufactured crisis.

    3. This is an end run around congress to allow the treasury department to do what it does all of the time.  There is no real “Newton’s third law” of economics at this scale, think of it more as “special relativity in economics”  Which is to say the rules are counter-intuitive.  But that’s all they are is rules, economics at the scale of trillions, really makes its own rules. 

      Yes the stock market would lose a few points if this happens because as the last five years have shown us, austerity economists and investment bankers are behaving like, and I use the technical term, “selfish crybabies”.   They favor economic policies that benefit only a shortsighted creditors view of the micro economy (which is another definition of supply side economics).  As such  they are of the opinion that social spending must be cut to the bone or eliminated entirely so that we can spend all of the money we were spending on social security on medicare on their own pet issues such as lowering taxes.

      Inflation, isn’t that bad for the consumer as long as they can get increased wages*.  It really it bad for those on fixed income unless their benefits are adjusted.  Creditors hate inflation, because it devalues all of the loans they’ve made. But that same inflation allows consumers to pay back the loan easier with “cheaper” dollars. 

      *since wages have not tracked with increased productivity since the late ’70s this is not a given.

      1. “since wages have not tracked with increased productivity since the late ’70s this is not a given.”

        Not only that, I’m pretty convinced it’s being kept artificially low at the moment (in the UK at least). Banks are lending, people are spending, companies are hiring – and yet I still hear people follow statements with “It’s a recession don’t you know!”. Is it? Where is it? I can’t see it…

        So not only do wages not increase, but my savings are still worth diddly squat – oh, and of course we’ve just gotten used to VAT being 2.5% higher as an emergency strategy. That sure is a financial crisis, but I’m not convinced it’s the same one that we had a few years back. Maybe I’m just crazy.

      2. Actually, the stock market would probably rally.  Wall Street hates the antics of the Tea Party, especially when they hold hostage the faith and credit of the United States.  When they were just calling Obama a monkey it was all fun and games, but when they are actually threatening to blow up the US Treasury, the bankers quit laughing.

    4.  It is inflation, just like any other form of increasing the money supply is by government order is – hopefully it’s just a last resort if no agreement can be reached with congress.

    5. The explanation best balancing completeness with comprehensibility I’ve seen is The Atlantic’s Everything You Need to Know About the Crazy Plan to Save the Economy With a Trillion-Dollar Coin.

      Short version answer of your specific: under the sane versions of the plan, the trillion dollars DOESN’T get injected into the economy.  A trillion more dollars EXIST, but they just sit there.  Since inflation comes about when there are too many dollars chasing too few goods, dollars that exist but don’t enter circulation don’t matter.

      It’s basically business-as-usual, except instead of the Fed creating additional money, the Treasury does it, and the Fed changes tack to make sure this doesn’t result in disaster.  (The Fed creates additional money as a matter of course; a certain amount of inflation is planned in to modern currencies, to keep people from hoarding it.)

      1. I’m gonna note what every normal person’s first response to this should be:

        “It’s a liquidity trap!”

  3. Good likeness of the slimy Mitch McConnell in the 6th panel. He’s so creepy, with his unpleasant, warbly Southern drawl. He looks like a bloated zombie on The Walking Dead who’s missing his teeth and would just try to ‘gum’ you to death…

    1. I don’t know if it’s even a last resort thing. As far as I can tell, no other country has this debt ceiling bullshit to deal with. If they make up a budget that will result in borrowing money, they borrow money. Screw a $1 trillion coin, mint a coin that’s a couple orders of magnitude bigger and put it in the treasury. Then the debt ceiling negotiations can piss off and congress can figure out how much to borrow when they put together a budget.

  4. You know, it doesn’t have to be platinum.  It could just as easily be a zinc plated washer with the words “One Trillion Dollars” scratched into its surface with a rusty nail.  Or a cobalt-60 disc, if you insist on valuable coins being sparkly.

    1. The loophole that #MintTheCoin proposes to exploit specifies the mint may mint special coins “of any demonination”, so long as they are platinum.

      However, politically, Obama would instantly lose the message war, and be declared “the tax-n-spend liberal who wasted a trillion!” Even after he has cut the federal budget so far he has nothing left to appease the fascists with…

  5. One of the weird things about being from a small state is you often have personal contact with your political representation.  You’d be surprised how many Delawareans actually have met their senators & congressmen…  I think the first time I chatted with Joe Biden I was still a teenager.  When I was riding the train to work back in the 80s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him a couple of times a week.

    Anyway, I’m not personally a fan, but the famous picture of Joe with the Biker Chick on his lap is honestly showing his best side, and Ruben’s really captured that pretty well.  Us Delawareans like our politicians to have a bit of the common man about them… that’s why Tom Carper dresses up like Frankenstein’s monster on Halloween and goes down to Main Street of Newark (DE not NJ) and tosses candy to little children.   I am totally not making any of that up.  He was an awesome monster, he has the build for it.

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