Fixing the federal debt problem. Just mint a $1 trillion coin!

| October 6, 2021

Life is once again imitating art. There are those in D.C. right now who seriously think that the solution to our national debt issues is to just make more money. Well, we can’t print a trillion dollar bill like Truman did on The Simpsons (pictured), but apparently it would be legal to mint a trillion dollar coin if it’s made out of platinum. This would require no Congressional approval, which is how the president most likes to institute changes.

The AP wire sends out;

Token of all tokens: Could a $1T coin fix the debt limit?

Some politicians think they’ve found a silver bullet for the impasse over the debt limit, except the bullet is made of platinum: Mint a $1 trillion coin, token of all tokens, and use it to flood the treasury with cash and drive Republicans crazy.

Even its serious proponents — who are not that many — call it a gimmick. They say it is an oddball way out of an oddball accounting problem that will have severe consequences to average people’s pocketbooks and the economy if it is not worked out in coming days.

But despite all the jokes about who should go on the face of the coin — Chuck E. Cheese? Donald Trump, to tempt or taunt the GOP? — there’s scholarship behind it, too. However improbable, it is conceivable the government could turn $1 trillion into a coin of the realm without lawmakers having a say.

How is this possible when the treasury secretary can’t simply print money to pay public debts? It’s because a quirky law from more than 20 years ago seems to allow the administration to mint coins of any denomination without congressional approval as long as they’re platinum.

The intent was to help with the production of commemorative coins for collectors, not to create a nuclear option in a fiscal crisis. Oops.

Specifically, the law says the treasury secretary “may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

This is that time, in the view of coin advocates. But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the White House and some Democrats slapped down the idea Tuesday, just as past leaders have done when the going got tough and radical quick-fixes emerged.

“The only thing kookier would be a politically inflicted default,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va, said of the coin.

Said Yellen, “What’s necessary is for Congress to show that the world can count on America paying its debt.” A platinum coin, she told CNBC, “is really a gimmick.”

Sure it is, said Rohan Grey, a Willamette University law professor and expert on fiscal policy.

“The fact that (the coin) represents an accounting gimmick is a source of its strength, rather than a weakness,” Grey wrote in a 2020-21 study in the Kentucky Law Journal. “The idea of ‘fighting an accounting problem with an accounting solution’ is entirely coherent … the debt ceiling itself can be viewed as one big, poorly designed accounting gimmick.”

More at the source. Now, I will just mint my own coin and go pay off my mortgage. It’s a gimmick, true, but if this is the federal government’s solution, then it’s good enough for this guy.

Now go watch Season 09, Episode 20 of the The Simpsons. The episode is titled “The Trouble with Trillions” and is one of the most brilliant of the classic Simpsons episodes. It’s got jokes about tax fraud, government surveillance, communism, Castro Street, and cataracts and even features a Stutz Bearcat.

Category: "Teh Stoopid", "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Congress sucks, DC Government, Ivory Tower Idiocy, Politics

Comments (33)

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  1. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    When your money isn’t actually backed with anything of real value it’s easy to keep printing that money….

  2. George V says:

    If this was actually a valid financial device, why not a $28 Trillion Dollar coin, and then Vooopa! No more national debt. It’s been paid off!

    Only a progressive Democrat could think this would actually work.

    Speaking of progressives, why do they get to call themselves that? What they want ain’t progress.

    • Devtun says:

      We may need the $150 Trillion magic coin. The national debt is scary, but the unfunded liabilities is far scarier.

    • AW1Ed says:

      They can call themselves whatever they like. What doesn’t change is what they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Democraps we’re really serious about the $3.5T spending boondoggle, they’d use keep the Social Security Trust Fund from going bust in the next 3 years or so.

      • Anonymous says:

        Use some of that to keep the Trust Fund from going bust… I mean

        • Ret_25X says:

          no amount of additional inflow will solve the Social Security system.

          It was never designed to PAY people, it was designed to receive taxes. That is why the benefits age was set at 65 at a time when almost no one lived past that age.

          The problem with SS is not the trust fund, it is the very existence of the fraudulent system. Which was used to tax both the worker and employer and then to hoodwink people to believe it was a ‘retirement investment’ that is never invested.

          In fact, the real accounting gimmick here is the SS “trust fund”.

          • rgr769 says:

            Yes, there is no “trust fund.” Every dollar collected in federal FICA deductions from paychecks goes directly to the U.S. Treasury. The “fund” is nothing but an IOU to the SSA for the Social Security and Medicare taxes collected from payrolls and payments by the taxpayers/employers.

  3. Berliner says:

    Pretty soon we’ll be going the way of Venezuela if President Dementia and the far, far left “progressive” wing of the leftist party gets it way… Everybody dependent on the government money for bar of soap

    Venezuela just lopped 6 zeros off it’s currency. Formerly a 1 million bolivar note was worth a quarter. People would need a shopping bag full of 1 bolivar notes to buy groceries.

  4. Well to coin the words WTF.

  5. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Why, it is almost if some folks wanted the current system out of the way so something else might be imposed.

    Ouch. That’s gonna leave Marx.

  6. Green Thumb says:

    Surprised All-Points Logistics and their CEO, The False Commander “Phony” Phil Monkress, have not put out a proposal to get in the mix based on their CEO’s (Phildo) fake Native American, Navy SEAL and LEO claims.

    Curious as to Jason, Jim and Rich’s comments.

  7. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Go for broke.

    Make the “coin” the size of a brick.

    Denomination: One Quadrillion Dollars.

    Fund all the everythings. Give everyone in the USA a million dollars. Disparity of wealth solved! Make money meaningless. No one will have any money worth anything, so Equal Equity Experience!

    Level Zero Unlocked!

    Level Playing Field, by leveling everything and everyone.

    Well, except those doing the leveling, of course. Some are more level than others.

    If you think that is over the top, I simply made the stupid obvious with a quantity that hasn’t been made banal through repetition. “Trillion Dollar” coin is sufficiently debased/counterfeit to do the job, just not fast enough to make the Arson, and Arsonists, immediately obvious.

    China wants their currency to replace ours as the word’s reserve. How best to convince everyone to stop using ours?

    Make ours stupid.

    • rgr769 says:

      “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal,” said the leader of the pigs in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Somehow, I think those Progressives in charge will still have more wealth than the “proles.”

  8. Ret_25X says:

    You do realize that one trillion dollars worth of platinum requires somewhere around 19 THOUSAND TONS.

    That would be one hell of a “coin”.

    If this is a “solution” I’m afraid to ask these idjits what they think the problem is.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Wondering how many a Trillion Dollar coins Hack Stone has under the sofa cushions. That would be a hell of a lot of Red Hat Software.

    • rgr769 says:

      Oh, they don’t intend this coin to actually have any platinum backing it, like the gold coins of the early 20th Century. If they used the coin solution, the coins would likely only contain an ounce of platinum.

  9. Last night, NewsMax showed the Kremlin (wh) money lady appointee who took the “Stalin” courses in Russia wants to get rid of banks and let the gov’t handle everyones money. She may be of russian decent. Did anyone hear about this beside myself. Also talk of going to digital currency which the gov’t will have control over of what people purchase. Anyone hear about this also. I don’t remember if this was already discussed here.

    • rgr769 says:

      Yes, I read about her. She wants to abolish private banks and have the fed reserve become the sole banking institution and a government operated national bank. That way the federal government will possess everyone’s deposited funds. Gee, that will make collecting taxes, fines, and penalties convenient for the regime.

      Couple that with the D-rats proposed legislation to make banks report every bank transaction over $600 and Big Brother will really have everyone by the short and curlies.

  10. Jay says:

    The dollar coin weights 8.1 grams. Even at current market prices, if they mint that coin, it would legit only be worth about 1000.00. If they make it the same weight as a dollar coin, it’d be worth 250.00.

    That inspires absolutely NO confidence in the US market or economy at all. We are about 3 steps away from being Venezuela and 2 steps away from Greece.

  11. Roh-Dog says:

    That whole dividing by zero from the Marxists is paying dividends, ain’t it?
    Since the vaxxx-a-nation is so fking wonderful, why not “‘monetize’” all of the remaining stash and house that at Fort It’s-a-hard-Knox-,yet-Wonderful-,Life?

    You ain’t seen nothing, wait until the bond market blows out.

  12. xyzzy says:

    Yup. Just print more money. Worked real good for Germany 90 years ago or Zimbabwe 15 years ago.


  13. USAFRetired says:

    From about Sep 1985 until Aug 1999 Gold and platinum tracked together in price. However, from Aug 99 to May 2008 Platinum took off and opened up a difference of around a $1000.00/troy ounce. After falling back about a thousand dollar an ounce by Oct 2008 in value platinum has tracked along with Gold until July 2011 where both declined with Gold now on top by about $250/troy ounce . Beginning in the spring 2015 platinum continued to lose value to Gold, until around Aug 2020 Gold had opened up about a $1000.00 premium over platinum. As of two weeks ago It was about $750. Premium in favor of Gold ~$1749 vs $979.00.

    The $T coin idea came up up several years ago as a solution to the debt limit. It was dumb then and hasn’t gotten any smarter. It is definitely a gimmick
    The U.S. has been minting Platinum Bullion coins since 2007 and the 1 Ounce version has a legal tender value/face value of $100.00. The Mint has been making Palladium Bullion coins with a face/legal tender value of $100.00 since 2017 and Gold Bullion coins since 1986 with a face legal/tender value of $50.00
    As of this week, the price for a 1 ounce Proof Platinum Bullion coin direct from the US Mint is $1545.00
    If they go through with this stunt I would expect it to be something akin to a coin similar in dimension to the Uncirculated Five Ounce Silver Coin the mint came up with a few years back. In that case they minted them with the designs of the America the Beautiful Quarters of the same year the difference being they are made of .999 fine silver. So dimensions are larger. I suspect they could use the same planchet presses as well as the same minting presses. That way they can minimize production costs. The cost this week for the Uncirculated Tuskegee Airman 5 ounce Silver coin is $229 direct from the mint
    There is a difference in currency that is printed and coinage that is minted other than the obvious. Paper money doesn’t go on the books until it is released by the Federal Reserve. Coins go on the books as soon as they get bagged by the various Mints which brings us to one of the lesser-known wastes of taxpayer money.
    A little history, in 1971 the US Mint minted a dollar coin with Eisenhour on it of the same dimension as used in 1935 the last regularly minted dollar coin. It was minted until 1978. Its large size proved as unpopular and the coins from 40+ years prior so mintage was stopped. The US was trying to find a 25 year life span coin vice and 18 month dollar bill. So in 1979 they rolled out the small dollar coin with Susan B. Anthony on it. This too proved unpopular based on its size not too big but to close in size to the quarter. Maybe the fact she was homely contributed to the lack of popularity. In the first year 1979 total mintage of about 750 million. In 1980 total mintage dropped to about 65 million. In 1981 it dropped to about 14 million none for circulation (Mint sets/Proof sets) Minting stopped until 1999 when about 41 million were produced and the design retired. The design was changed in 2000 with Sacajawea and a new color based on an outer shell of manganese brass. This was to overcome the confusion factor with the quarter. IMO both the choice of SBA and Sacagawea was an early pandering to the woke crowd. Sacagawea dollars were minted from 2000-2008. In the first (year) 2000 mintage was approx. 1.2 billion, in the second year (2001) it dropped to approximately 125 million. From 2002 to 2008 Mint production of design was strictly limited to mint/proof sets.
    Beginning in 2007 The US Mint started a new series of dollar coins with 4 new designs a year honoring our Presidents, with mintages steadily decreasing from a high of approximate $340M for George Washington, in 2007 to approximately $80M at the end of five years 2011 with Garfield. These coins too proved unpopular with the public and starting in 20012 none were issued for circulation.

    In 2009 the mint releases a new series featuring Sacajawea on the Obverse (Heads) and a changing design honoring various Native American events/individuals etc , other changes include the adoption of a lettered edge a la the Presidential dollars The original act specified the Native American dollar must be minted to account for 20 percent of annual production, So on top of Presidential dollar coins that did not gain popularity we minted about $70M per year 2009-2011 and again since 2012 we continue to produce coins for collectors but not circulation of these dollar coins. We now have hundreds of million of these coins that are on the books that we are paying secure warehousing for year after year. If we melted them down because the face value exceeds the melt value we end up with a deficit adding to the National debt Conversely if we melt down any excess $50/$100 gold/platinum/palladium coins because the melt value exceeds the face value a profit is made and it decreases the National debt.
    For this gimmick face value will exceed melt value so melting the coin will add to the deficit.
    I have never come across any of the Native American dollars in circulation,. It might surprise some that the Kennedy Half Dollar was last produced for circulation in 2001, Since then only coins in mint/proof sets or bulk coins bought direct from the mint at about 1.5 times face value have been produced. One of the things I like to is periodically stop by the bank and by a couple rolls of half dollars do a quick search for coins between 1964 and 1970 as they are made of either 90% silver (64) and 40% silver (65-70). And look for any minted from 2002 on. If I find any of the latter it tells me someone raided Grandpa’s or Dad’s coin collection and spent it. I’ve found a couple. The residual I use to pay at fast food and drive throughs

    • Roh-Dog says:

      In the last 3 years I’ve scored about 12 pre-’64 quarters, 2-3 dimes and even a WW2 silver nickel. They’re out there.

      Thanks for the data on US Mint quirkiness and such. All I know is the whole idea of paper currency and minted coin will disappear in my lifetime.
      A nickel melt value is $0.058, how long do we think they’ll continue?

      I like money but central banks demand even greater control.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        I’ve still got a few Dong hanging around…

        • USAFRetired says:

          I have a few of those as well as Thai Baht, Philippine sentimos and some Austrailian coins of that era my Dad got them for me during his 13 month visit to Vietnam.

          Long ago in a galaxy far far away I had an 0330 showtime for my initial qualification check ride. while we were waiting to step to the jet my evaluator was waxing eloquent with war stories from his time at Monkey Mountain. Innocently enough I asked when he had been in Vietnam. To which he responded 1966-67. Without thinking I responded “My father didn’t get there until 69-70″ There was a pregnant pause and he responded ” Lt there is no way you’re going to pass this check ride.”

          He was wrong but I had to work for it.

      • USAFRetired says:

        If you are looking at your change take a close look at your 2019 and 2020 quarters. The Mint release 2 million of each design those years with a West Point (W) mint mark total of 10 Million each year. They were salted into bags from the other mints. Instant rarities. I have yet to find any in circulation. The 2020 also have privy marks for the 75th anniversary of WW-II.

        IMO they were serious about getting the dollar coins to circulate they should stop printing $1 bills and expand issuance of $2 bills.

  14. KoB says:

    I just want to know if it will work in the candy machine. That would be a bunch of Snickers Bars.