Change we can believe in: Economists ponder possibility of trillion-dollar coins

Once again, life imitates “The Simpsons.” A 1998 episode centered around the quest to retrieve a trillion-dollar bill printed by Harry Truman in 1945. Fast forward to 2012, as economists and legal scholars ponder the idea of minting two trillion-dollar platinum coins as a means of ducking the looming debt ceiling.

Why platinum coins? As noted in the Washington Post today, the U.S. legal code gives the Treasury the power to mint as many platinum coins as it likes, in any value it pleases. So why not press two trillion-dollar coins and deposit them in the nation’s piggy bank?

Some economists think the plan is feasible, and as the Post’s Brad Plumer writes, “The platinum coin is only one of many out-of-the-box ideas that have been proposed to avoid a debt ceiling crisis.” One crazy idea we’re still waiting to hear from inside Washington: cut spending. What else might be on the table?

Has anyone considered that the government will mint the coins and then spend them on the way to the bank?

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