• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin

    December 9th, 2012
    econ, money, politics  [html]
    Congress passes laws that have the effect of bringing in money and sending it out. Where there's a shortfall the government borrows money, going deeper in debt. Except there's a maximum amount of money congress allows the government to borrow, the "debt ceiling", and if the government reaches that point we get a crisis.

    Last time this came up people pointed out that the president could just ask the mint to make some trillion dollar platinum coins. Apparently borrowing money requires congressional approval, but minting it does not. [1] Normally printing money is a bad way to finance government operations because it causes inflation: it's basically forcing the people who already have money to give the government a nominally zero-interest loan. Interest rates are practically zero, however, so is there any downside to forcing the government to fund itself through seigniorage instead of bonds?


    [1] The law has huge numbers of restrictions on most coins, including their values and how many can be minted, but the law for platinum coins is wide open:

    The 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 a strange loophole; why is it there? I can't find when it was added. Is there some sort of blame command for the law where you can look up when a particular bit of text was added, and from there look into why it might have been put there?

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Fireside Friday, November 27, 2020

    Hey folks! Fireside this week. A bit of a change-up in terms of the coming attractions. I had planned to start “Textiles, How Did They Make It?” next, but I want to do a bit more reading on some of the initial stages of textile production (that is, the pr…

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry November 27, 2020

    Building Depth and Window Space

    How much window space does an apartment need, relative to its area, and how does this affect building style? A fascinating post from about a year ago on Urban Kchoze makes the argument that modern North American buildings are too deep – Simon calls them o…

    via Pedestrian Observations November 27, 2020

    Thoughts you mightn't have thunk about remote meetings

    Welcome to this week's edition of "building a startup in 2020," in which all your meetings are suddenly remote, and you probably weren't prepared for it. I know I wasn't. We started a "fully remote" company back in 2019, but …

    via apenwarr November 23, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact