Monetary Realism

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Trillion Dollar Coin Goes Mainstream

Well, lefty mainstream at least. If Atrios says it, it’s pretty much accepted wisdom on the left in the United States. Atrios is the lefty, and sane equivalent of Glen Reynolds.

That’s why Atrios’s second short post about the Trilion Dollar Coin is worthy of passing along:

“I really don’t know why the administration doesn’t take the “mint the trillion dollar platinum coin” option seriously. It is, as far as I can tell, perfectly legal.” [Italics Mine]

Oh – it’s legal. Our own Beowulf was the first person to point out the Trillion Dollar Coin was legally possible. It’s in wikipedia. If Atrios knows about the TDC, we can be sure this the TDC is known by nearly everyone on the smart left. Atrios links to another piece on firedog lake where someone I do not know and have never emailed is writing about the TDC as though it’s totally common knowledge.

Congratulations Beowulf!

(Update 12–5-2012: Clonal points out I should have put some information about David Dayen into this post. He’s a writer for FDL and has a great history and writes interesting posts. )


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10 Responses

  1. beowulf says

    Ha ha, Chris Hayes is filling in for Rachel Maddow and just did a story on the TDC. I’d wager Chris is reading this thread because he mentioned the West Point Mint (see upthread).

    When MSNBC puts the clip online, I’ll post it.

  2. Joyce says

    Be careful what you wish for. This may be the beginning of the confusion over just printing money vs making real economic gains. CR has pointed out the dangers of a pure consumption society.

  3. Clonal Antibody says

    The FDL link is written by David Dayen

    He currently writes for the FDL News Desk at; he’s also written for The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The Washington Independent, Democracy Journal and Capitol Weekly, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His work has been cited by the LA Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and he has been a guest on MSNBC, Russia Today, Al Jazeera English, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio.

    • Michael Sankowski says

      Thanks Clonal. I didn’t mean for this to sound dismissive of David. I was trying to convey the idea ” I thought I personally knew every supporter of the TDC – and I was wrong!”

      I’ll update the post with information about David Dayen.

  4. Phil says

    So what happens when someone drops the coin down a storm sewer on the way to the Fed? :-)

    • Michael Sankowski says

      I am thinking there will be a military escort to Fort Knox.

      • beowulf says

        Someone a coin collector site made an interesting point.
        “with a coin they enter the profit on the books as soon as it is struck and turned over to the Mint Cashier.”

        That’s actually true, looking at the Mint’s accounting rules:
        “Transaction N… Coins are shipped to cashier and seigniorage is realized” (The proceeds from platinum coins would fall into the category of “200612 Seigniorage, minor coinage0.

        That’s interesting but as a practical matter, there’s no point to Tsy minting the coins and just holding them. Just like many lawyers take the view that a new law isn’t conclusively valid until a judge say it is, many people won’t accept the TDC as real money until the Federal Reserve accepts it, so Tsy would certainly deposit the jumbo coins straight away.

      • beowulf says

        The West Point Mint is next to the Military Academy, a Blackhawk helicopter ride down the Hudson would do the trick (I imagine it’d be deposited with NY Fed).

  5. beowulf says

    Ha ha, thanks. The reason they don’t take it seriously is that the Administration has too many officials who confuse the financial economy with the real economy. Its like if the NFL commissioner worked for the bookies and not the team owners. They’re not going to do anything that undermines their belief that we’re all sinners in the hand of an angry bond vigilante.

    That’s actually what got me thinking about the trillion dollar gift. The Federal Reserve seems to have the most clear-sighted policymakers. So when Tsy screws the pooch and is paralyzed by the Republicans showing them what going over a cliff is REALLY like, the Fed can step in like Richard Harrow with guns blazing and single-handedly unwind the debt ceiling by gifting its T-bonds to the Bureau of Public Debt.

    • beowulf says

      I should say I still think the TDC is the best solution. There are some logistical issues, Tsy has to direct the Philadelphia Mint design a coin and then have the West Point Mint strike it in platinum, that will take a couple of day to set up. Tsy really should set that up in advance so they can fire on the half-volley if it becomes necessary to act.