Rep. Kristi Noem's latest crusade becomes even more imaginary. Last week she issued a bold call to Stop the Coin, the trillion-dollar platinum coin by which the U.S Treasury could harmlessly circumvent any effort by Rep. Noem and her House GOP kamikaze colleagues to destroy the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
This weekend, the Treasury made clear that there will be no trillion-dollar coin.
The Treasury Department will not mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling. If they did, the Federal Reserve would not accept it.
That’s the bottom line of the statement that Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, gave me today. “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,” he said.
The inclusion of the Federal Reserve is significant. For the platinum coin idea to work, the Federal Reserve would have to treat it as a legal way for the Treasury Department to create currency. If they don’t believe it’s legal and would not credit the Treasury Department’s deposit, the platinum coin would be worthless [Ezra Klein, "Treasury: We Won't Mint a Platinum Coin to Sidestep the Debt Ceiling," Washington Post: Wonkblog, 2013.01.12].
The White House reiterated its rejection of the Big Coin:
There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default [Jay Carney, quoted by Steven T. Dennis, "Trillion-Dollar Coin Is a No-Go, White House Says," Roll Call, 2013.01.12].
Before this work day is done, we will hear one of two bits of kabuki theater from Congresswoman Noem's office:
- She will ape Rep. Greg Walden and declare that banning the Big Coin is still a pressing national priority.
- She will claim that her passionate advocacy forced the White House to abandon the Big Coin.
She will then get back on the phone to her big donors asking for their thousand-dollar checks, which do more harm to the Republic than the Big Coin ever would.