Bill Aims to Beat Back Scheme to Mint Trillion-Dollar Coins
January 11, 2013 - 4:14 pm
Though the House was out this week, a Republican congressman announced plans to introduce a bill that would stop a proposal to mint pricey coins to pay the federal government’s bills.
“Some people are in denial about the need to reduce spending and balance the budget,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “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. I’m introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks.”
Recent reports have suggested that the U.S. Mint could create trillion dollar platinum coins, which would then be deposited into the Federal Reserve to be used to pay down the debt or avoid hitting the debt ceiling.
“There is specific statutory authority that says that the Federal Reserve can mint any non-gold or -silver coin in any denomination, so all you do is you tell the Federal Reserve to make a platinum coin for 1 trillion dollars, and then you deposit it in the Treasury account, and you pay your bills,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told Capital New York.
“I’m being absolutely serious. It sounds silly but it’s absolutely legal,” Nadler continued. “And it would normally not be proper to consider such a thing, except when you’re faced with blackmail to destroy the country’s economy, you have to consider things.”
Walden wryly noted that, as a small-business owner since 1986, he and his wife “couldn’t just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air” when it came time to pay the bills.
“We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That’s what Washington needs to do as well,” he said. “My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt. We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order.”