Treasury nixes $1 trillion platinum coin

Neither Treasury nor Federal Reserve believes its legal to use platinum coins to avoid debt-limit increase, Treasury spokesman says. With $1 trillion platinum coin out, administration ponders other debt-limit strategies.

Gary Cameron/Reuters/File
The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing building, which falls under the U.S. Treasury Department, is seen in Washington in this 2012 file photo. A Treasury spokesman says law cannot and should not be used to produce platinum coins to avoid bumping against the debt limit.

Ezra Klein reports an official statement from Anthony Coley, a Treasury spokesperson, killing the platinum coin strategy:

“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.”

So R.I.P. platinum coins of  unusual size.

The administration has previously ruled out another oft-discussed debt-limit safety valve, overriding the limit based on the 14th amendment. So “Plan B” discussions will now move to two other alternatives that have been bandied about: prioritizing payments or, as Ed Kleinbard suggested the other day, issuing scrip like California did a couple years ago. Of course, issuing scrip *is* prioritizing payments, but with the added feature (or complication) of a written, transferable IOU.

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