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Trillion-Dollar Coin Not Happening, Say Treasury, White House

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:

  1. She will ape Rep. Greg Walden and declare that banning the Big Coin is still a pressing national priority.
  2. 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.


  1. owen reitzel 2013.01.14

    Noem also said in the story for the that she wants spending cuts, but as always she won't answer what cuts she wants.
    This is just another diversion and she'll use it saying she stopped the trillion coin being made even though that was never going to happen anyway.
    Sadly people will fall for it.

  2. mike 2013.01.14

    Noem should tout this as a victory for herself. What a joke...

  3. mike 2013.01.14

    I'm with you on how old fundraising is. She took August off last year and didn't do anything but fundraise and have closed door meetings. How many town halls did she have in August with the farm bill debate going on?

  4. Dougal 2013.01.15

    Huzzah for Kristi! She killed a mythical trillion dollar coin, and they wouldn't have won the war without her! How about a 34th vote to repeal ObamaCare as long as we're doing goofy stuff?

    Noem is the most worthless member South Dakota has ever sent to the U.S. House. If she wanted to change that widely held view, how about passing a real farm bill since it affects South Dakota's largest industry?

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.15

    No kidding, Dougal. She has circumspectly tweeted that she's "Glad Treasury shot down the ridiculous platinum coin idea"... failing to mention, of course, that her party's ideas are ridiculous, sparse, and dangerous. She also tweets today that "America is looking at another credit rating downgrade if Washington can't get its act together"... failing to mention that the article she cites says the credit-downgrade danger comes from not raising the debt ceiling, and the only people threatening to delay the debt-ceiling boost are her own party.

  6. grudznick 2013.01.15

    cut cut cut then raise the debt ceiling
    then let the six questers happen in 2 months.

  7. larry kurtz 2013.01.15

    you have no credibility here, grud: please go away.

  8. grudznick 2013.01.15

    My lack of credibility with you, Mr. Kurtz, is what endears me to the right minded of the world who only have 77 more kitties to go.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.15

    [Enough about the mountain lions already. I fail to see the relevance]

  10. grudznick 2013.01.15

    "[Enough about the mountain lions already. I fail to see the relevance]"

    Another reason Mr. Kurtz and I are so similar (outside of his youth and my better looks): Irrelevance.

    I shall endeavor to be more irreverent and less irrelevant, Mr. H.

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