Legally, President Obama Can Create a $1 Trillion Platinum Coin To Solve Our Debt Ceiling Problem

January 8, 2013  |  

Perhaps a trillion-dollar coin would help lawmakers avoid more uncomfortable discussions like this one from the fiscal cliff debacle. Rex Features via AP Images

So have you heard this bit of craziness?

There are those suggesting that President Obama bypass any economic default from the looming debt ceiling fiasco (and make no mistake, the Congressional discussion will turn into a fiasco) by whipping up a few trillion-dollar coins. In so doing, President Obama will bypass Republicans who promise to cause a problem.

Among those saying he should do this Princeton professor, author, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who dedicated his article yesterday to this idea. Apparently, there’s a legal loophole that would allow the Treasury to make any denomination of coin in platinum. According to Krugman, this would allow the President to make this $1 trillion coin request, deposit it into the Federal Reserve, and avoid the debt ceiling discussion without any terrible financial repercussions. LOL… This is genius.

Krugman writes:

Should President Obama be willing to print a $1 trillion platinum coin if Republicans try to force America into default? Yes, absolutely. He will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives: one that’s silly but benign, the other that’s equally silly but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, this isn’t anything that has come from the White House directly, but could be a point of dicussion if some clever member of the press asks the question. And Forbes suggests that instead of one huge trillion-dollar coin, a few coins of lower denomination would be preferable. Maybe $25 billion a pop? All of it would be perfectly fine according to the guy who wrote the law, former Mint director Philip Diehl.

To pre-empt this (and ruin all of our fun), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) has said that he’s prepared to introduce a bill that would make minting platinum coins for the purpose of paying down government debt illegal. “This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren’t so serious about it as a solution,” CBS News quotes from a statement issued by Rep. Walden. It’s like trying to kill a fly with a blowtorch as it’s highly unlikely that the President will actually propose this.

Oh well, it was a thought. After the jump, Stephen Colbert breaks it down. Comically.

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