A Trillion Dollar Coin? Really?


There’s an idea going around. It’s a very stupid idea. The idea is to mint a trillion dollar coin and use that to pay down our debt, which is sixteen trillion dollars, give or take. Why the suggestion is to make one coin and not sixteen is beyond me, but there you go.

This is a dumb, dumb, dumb idea. First off, while nations can occasionally get away with printing money to pay off debts, something we’ve been known to do, you can’t do it too often or you debase your currency and end up with huge inflation (see: Zimbabwe). This is especially a problem when you’re talking about doing something at this level, which would be a sizable chunk of our GDP.

Second, do you really think that other nations, those to whom we owe money, would be pleased about this? I’m sure they’d take the money and make a mental note to stop loaning cash to a deadbeat who is also gearing up to talk loudly and publicly about not paying other money they owe you.

Fixing our debt is pretty simple. We need a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. I’d say an 80/20 mix feels about right, but I have nothing to back that up with, so take it for what it’s worth. We can start by raising taxes on the wealthy by a bit more, raising them on the middle class just a tad, and then cutting the hell out of the defense budget while glaring, with a gleaming eye, at social security and Medicare (both of which I want to keep, btw, but if you’re pulling in $250,000 a year during retirement, do you really need those programs?).

Fixing the problem requires actual effort and mature discussion. Talking minting a trillion dollar coin, or worse, actually doing so, requires neither. Let’s not take the stupid way out, ok?

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