Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Josh Barro

Put Away Your Wand, Platinum Coins Aren't Magic

An argument in favor of the platinum coin. 

One barrier to acceptance of the platinum coin strategy to avoid the debt ceiling is that most observers are overstating its bizarreness. In particular, numerous media outlets have been describing the coin as "magic." But there would be nothing magic about minting one or many large-denomination platinum coins -- it would just be another way of printing money.

Under this strategy, the government would pay its bills by printing money instead of borrowing it. That's it. It's not magic or even all that novel. Indeed, we should probably give this option a more dignified name -- I propose "The Seigniorage Option" -- to de-emphasize questions like whose face will go on the coins.