The trillion-dollar coin

11 Jan

Trillion-dollar-coin-sizedThis has been rolling around the Internet for a week or so.

Everyone ignored it – except Fox News.

And of course, it screwed it all up.

First, the real story:

A Nobel prize-winning economist had written that President Obama should be prepared to mint a one trillion-dollar platinum coin and use it to pay the government’s bills.

It would be a platinum coin worth one trillion dollars, minted by the Treasury and deposited at the Federal Reserve, and used as a kind of loophole to avoid problems with the upcoming debt ceiling.

If the Republicans try to hold the debt ceiling raise as hostage in their war on government services, the trillion-dollar coin is a way to get around the vote entirely.

The Treasury makes it and deposits it in the Federal Reserve, and then, boom: the U.S. government has a bank account with a trillion dollars with which it can pay its bills.

Let’s ignore all the stuff about inflation and just printing money for now.

Instead, we want to focus on what Fox News had to say about this coin.

As the nation’s most-watched cable news network, Fox News is responsible for informing millions of Americans on the issues of the day.

Unfortunately for the American people, the network frequently fails to grasp basic, kindergarten-level concepts.

This time, we learn that Fox News does not understand that the value of money is not equal to the value of the material used to make the money.

The proposed “trillion-dollar platinum coin” would not be composed of one trillion dollars of platinum, just as a $100 bill is not made from $100 worth of paper.

The so-called “Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin” won’t weigh 17,774 tons, because, for one thing, there isn’t nearly that much platinum in the whole world.

Nor will it weigh the same as a bunch of whales or a missile submarine.

But hey, this is Fox News and anything goes.

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