Although the idea of a trillion-dollar platinum coin swooping in to be deposited at the Federal Reserve and save us from hitting the debt ceiling is a nice one, it’s just not gonna happen, says the Treasury Department. Even if it did, the Federal Reserve says it wouldn’t accept the deposit anyway so there’s no point in talking about it. Thanks for spoiling the fun, guys.
A spokesman for the Treasury Department told the Washington Post in a statement that there are no ifs, ands or buts about this: “Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit.”
Both sides of the coin-operation would need to be in cahoots because if the Treasury made it, the Fed would have to credit it to the government’s account in order to give it enough funds to pay off its debts. It’d all need to be on the books as an official transaction.
The ability to strike a coin of any denomination for a commemorative purpose comes from a 1997 law that says: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury may mint and issue platinum coins in such quantity and of such variety as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.”
Apparently the Treasury doesn’t deem this circumstance to be appropriate. Guess you’ve gotta figure out another way to escape this debt ceiling debacle, Congress!
Treasury: We won’t mint a platinum coin to sidestep the debt ceiling [Washington Post]