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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to rule out a radical proposal to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin that would allow the federal government to go around the debt ceiling if Congress refuses to act.
Briefing reporters Wednesday afternoon, Carney said, “There is no plan B, there is no backup plan” to Congress raising the nation’s borrowing limit, but repeatedly declined to rule out the proposal to skirt the limit. “There is Congress’s responsibility to pay the bills of the United States,” he added.
Carney explicitly ruled out any White House staff efforts to negotiate with Congress over raising the debt limit, saying no one of the administration with engage in talks on raising the federal borrowing limit.
Asked if he was aware of any administration officials examining the $1 trillion coin proposal. He replied with the non-Shermanesque, “Not that I know of.” (Read More)
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Unfortunately, there are people who actually think minting a trillion dollar coin would be a good idea.
Such an absurd idea is, pun intended, gaining currency as a technically legal way for Washington to avert a looming fight over the debt ceiling. A Democratic congressman, a Nobel-winning economist and several prominent writers are now floating the idea that the Treasury Department should use obscure powers to mint a $1 trillion coin if Congress does not permit an increase in the debt ceiling.
That coin, then, could be used to pay America’s debts.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told Capital New York that the “out of the ordinary” idea could actually work.
“I’m being absolutely serious,” he said. “It sounds silly, but it’s absolutely legal.”
Folks like Nadler point to a tiny section in the U.S. code that allows the Treasury secretary to “mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins” of a size and denomination of “the secretary’s discretion.” This is mainly for commemorative coins, but the idea that the provision could be exploited as an ace-up-the-sleeve for the administration was first explored during the 2011 debt ceiling fight. Now, it’s back. (Read More)