Ben B. Nixed The Coin - What Does That Mean?

Bruce Krasting's picture




In the past 24-hours I've been reading the postmortems on the Coin; I just watched the Sunday morning shows. In my opinion, the Press is missing the story.

The key sentence from the White House that killed the Coin for good:


“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”


I think the line "Treasury nor the Fed", is baloney. It was the Fed, in a message delivered by Bernanke, that caused Obama to back off on any consideration of the Coin. There might have been wiggle room in existing law to print a Coin, but there is nothing that says that the Fed had to take it. And Bernanke said, "No". When Obama ditched the Coin, he did it because it was no longer an option. Bernanke took the option off the table. The WH statement makes it sound as it it was their decision, that's just smoke and mirrors.


What bothers me about this is the timing. Why would Treasury/WH go public with its position on the Coin weeks before the deadline was reached? There are at least 14 days left before the SHTF, so, "Why now?"

Did Bernanke put pressure on the WH with a threat to go public that he was unwilling to accept a Coin as valid payment? If so, the WH would have wanted to get ahead of the Fed, so Treasury came out with the nix.


I think Bernanke got some calls from other Central Banks. They told him it would be a dangerous precedent for America to do this. If there are coins to be printed, it would be better if some other country (possibly Japan) do it first. After all, the dollar is still the #1 reserve currency. The foreign CBs have some say in this.

I also think that Bernanke got calls from Republican leaders. Heavy hitters, like Richard Shelby (R, Al), can get Bernanke on the phone. I'm sure that these folks told Ben that if the Fed facilitated the Coin, they would raise hell. They would rake Bernanke over the coals.

But guys like Bernanke don't just roll over when someone whistles. And old timers like Shelby don't make one sided-deals. So what could have been winked, nodded and agreed to by all of the actors on this stage?


Take the Debt Limit debate completely off the table.


Republicans have everything to lose if they force the country to functionally default on the debt. If they did that, they would get murdered. Kiss-off the Republican party for another eight years. The Reds would probably lose the House bi-elections, and their majority; and they know this.

If Congress passed a 6-12 month extension of the Debt Limit, it would not diminish the Republican bargaining position at all. In fact, it would strengthen their position, and improve their public perception (from the current level of +0.01).


The Debt Limit is not the only line in the sand for Republicans. They have the Sequestered Amounts they can fight over, but even that is a sideshow. The real issue that will trip up the Administration is the need for a Continuing Resolution. The CR is required by law, if there is no budget approved by the House. It is now 1,350+days since the US has had a budget. There is no way in hell we are going to have one in the next 90 days.


If the Republicans want to shut down the government, they have a much better issue to do it over than the Debt Limit. (The CR will do the "job" ) So watch for what appears to be a "concession" from some Republicans this week. Don't cheer too loudly if this happens (the markets will - at first). It doesn't change the fact that a showdown is coming, and it's coming pretty quick. The chance for a big brawl, that ends up shutting the government down, is still very much in the cards.




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New_Meat's picture

Bruce, you've been on fire recently; please keep it up. - Ned

fijisailor's picture

Too bad they didn't mint the coin.  It would have shown the world what a ridiculous bunch of idiots run this country now and brought the system to its knees.

spanish inquisition's picture

Ben nixed it because under no circumstances do you point a country down a path where they realize they could mint their own interest free money.

Hayek FA's picture

Ben is just protecting his turf.

No way is he going to let the Treasury start minting money.

Fed and the bond market would become obsolete.

This town aint big enough for two Counterfit operations.


MickV's picture

Get a clue Krasting. There is no law and no Constitution since the POTUS, who is the executor of the laws is illegal. Obama is not a natural born Citizen, since he was born British, of a British subject father--- no matter where birth occurred. Obama and the criminal treasoners in Congress know this full well, and are now consolidating their post republic power. They will do whatever they want until the blood of tyrants and patriots waters the tree of liberty. Untill you and other mainstream media wake up to the fact of the Usurpation, the decline of law and liberty will continue. The MSM useful idiots are covering for the Usurper, Congress and the criminal bankers. The "conservative" media has been threatened to shut up. Others just cannot get their head around the massive constitutional disaster that the dual "election" of the Usurper represents.  Have you been threatened to shut up, or are you just not that smart?

forwardho's picture

Well then... moving right along.

fijisailor's picture

Who cares if O is not a US citizen.  Other puppets would be found to serve his and congress' function.  Your arguments are a useless distraction from reality.

MickV's picture

Of course that's not the point (and the fact is that the req. is "natural born Citiozen", not "US Citizen", giving a huge hint that you have no clue what you are talking about). The point is that Obama represents the end game--- the point where our sovereignty is taken away and the Constitution voided. Obama was put in place precisely because has has little or no allegiance or attachment to America--- and to void our sovereignty--- because when the POTUS, who is the executor of the laws, is illegal, then there is no law. Duh.

MickV's picture

Declaration of Independence:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

dolly madison's picture

I bet they're going to start selling assets this time around.  Asset transfer is what this whole thing is all about, isn't it?

pfairley's picture

The point (made elsewhere) is that the huge QE's buying Treasury debt are similar to platinum coin mintings and Bernanke doesn't want any further mocking of his game.

 Noteworthy is that even with these QEs, stimuli, & low interest rates there are still huge budget deficits and debt level breaches and slow many years does this go on before we say....'maybe avoiding recession should not be our number one goal.'

working class dog's picture

The gubbament is a cartel partner with the Fed and the feed bag of ursary interest payments the illuminati and the united corporations of america get on the backs of what is left of labor would end. People would realize HEY WHO THE HELL IS THIS FUCKTARD BERNANKE, an unelected pinhead to tell the presidet (who appointed him?) and the other Fucktards on the board?

Wake up americans, end this debt slavery system and make the scum clean toilets like the rest of us.

steve from virginia's picture



Thank god the coin nonsense is over (until next time).


The Treasury can issue currency (and does) under the direction of Congress ... which would retire the nation's debts (and itself at the same time!)


... this Treasury will never issue currency under an administration with the imagination of a doorknob and the courage of a titmouse.



disabledvet's picture

taxes are we're talking spending bills...all of which originate in the House. my "money" (in the form of tax revenue) is not on continuing resolutions but "mark up."

Cosimo de Medici's picture

Two points of view, which also go by the name of opinion, neither of which will be popular with this crowd:

1)  Bernanke...he's a good soldier but highly susceptible to the arrogance of the eternal academic.  He's bent over backwards to buy time so that Congress and Bush/Obama can do the needful, but he has his limits.  His arrogance regarding his ability to buy time, whether any of us agreed beforehand, or even believe he has set in motion an unstoppable tsunami, turned out more right than almost anyone believed possible.  What might eventually make him stop, arrogance aside, is that Congress has done nothing and misread both Bernanke and the markets.  Congress, so caught up in its own ego, doesn't really see the debt as a problem, because it is so easy to fund at present.  With precious few exceptions (ex-Rep Paul, current Rep Issa), Congress doesn't and never will get it.  They're all Chuck Schumer ("Mr. Chairman, get to work").  Ben has fired a shot across the bow before, although his shots tend to be almost eponymous (BBs) and easily ignored.  Once during H-H testimony he admonished Congress for not reining in spending and by saying the Fed has limits.  The last Fed minutes, which rattled equities, bonds and FX temporarily, were probably carefully constructed to remind Congress that it bears the lion's share of responsibility for getting the fiscal house in order, and that monetization has done all it can do and comes with its own set of problems.  If BK is right in that BB nixed the $1T coin farce, that's yet another BB from BB saying he can pull back and shift the onus on to Congress.  Of course they are too dimwitted to get it and put partisan politics ahead of anything remotely resembling leadership.  Bottom line:  BB is not going to complete QE-whatever.  Instead, he will try to ensure history blames elected leadership for the economic collapse.

2)  It is my view few realize the true nature of money.  It is not fiat, it is not gold.  It is faith and belief and nothing more.  It is whatever the majority, or even two parties, agree it is.  It is an agreed-upon middleman so that value can be maintained between the time a producer of a good or service sells his production and when he obtains a good or service he does not produce himself.  That's it.  Government might dictate what it should be, but unless the populace adopts the faith, government is just pissing into the wind.  That one is paper, or infinite, and another is finite is essentially meaningless (all elements are finite, but they are assets, not money), because in the end it is all merely faith.  Gold doesn't possess any magical power or inherent value.  That it has been used historically as a widely agreed upon means of value transfer is of much greater importance to those who used it for that purpose, but they're all dead.  They took their faith with them.  There is no law or guarantee or certainty that those whose faith matters today---the living---will follow the same path.  They may adopt that faith, but may not, just as some adopted Islam after Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, but not everyone did.  Today, like it or not, the vast majority of the living maintain faith in fiat, all 180 forms of it currently in existence, which are about half of all that were ever created.  It has demonstrated some staying power, with staying power being defined as a human lifetime.  Time its popularity with one's own limited time amongst that subset of humanity known as the living, and the farcical nature of fiat matters little.  There have been exceptions, and those who maintained faith in a losing cause lost out, but even in these instances (which scare the bejesus out of some people), fiat begot just another fiat.  It is possible, however, to destroy faith by carrying things to even more absurd levels, and the $1T Coin was such an absurdity.  Again, if BK is correct, BB saw this absurdity, as well as yet another silly and irresponsible way Congress would be able to literally pass the buck(s), and he fired his latest shot across the bow.

I'm not arguing gold won't become the majority faith again, nor am I arguing it might not maintain value as an asset.  It very well may do that, but its resurrection is not guaranteed.  Also, if one wants to view an example of the limits of gold, one can look at the Balkans of South Asia, otherwise known as India.  That cut-and-paste land has always revered gold and may always have possessed more of it than any other nation.  That didn't prevent them from countless invasions and colonization over the last few thousand years, and it has not left them the paragon of modernity nor at the apex of living standards.  Despite all their gold, only a quarter of their population has access to something more than a hole in the ground to go where the King goes alone.  Lesser nations, in terms of gold ownership, have done a heck of a lot better at advancing the standard of living, despite it being based on such an obvious farce as infinite fiat.

When it comes to "money", there is no such thing as logic.  One is best advised to leave his assumptions at the door before entering the arena, and learn the rules by seeing how the game is actually being played.

eclectic syncretist's picture

Well said.  If you write a book let me know.  I want to read it.

Barbaric relic's picture

Of course the treasury can mint platinum coins and the federal reserve would have to accept them (but of course the fed could turn around and hand them back and demand fiat dollars for them.)

This actually is an idea that could work if they do it right.  Mint 20,000 ten troy pound or some such weight platinum coins with a face value of a billion dollars each, mint 2,000,000 troy pound gold coins with a face value of say a million dollars and promise to exchange at that value in perpetuity.  A couple million ounce extra demand for the platinum shouldn't cause prices to go up too much and the gold is supposedly sitting at Fort Knox, or West Point or NY Fed or is it Hong Kong or maybe Mumbai?  Anyhow, I'm sure they could borrow some more German or  Saudi Gold if they can't find any of the supposed 8,000 + tons of gold.

Obviously if they minted these coins that would mean going back to a quasi gold standard and so they would have to rein in the public spending and balance the budget or see the US dollar collapse in value.  The platinum coin idea in combination with a gold coin and balanced budget would work.

But of course the platinum coin idea was thought of so as to avoid balancing the budget -- a gimmick so as to avoid reality.  America appears to be doomed to experience a lot of pain before it faces reality and returns to hard money.

edwardo1's picture

" print a Coin"

Interesting , er, coin of phrase there Bruce. Did you happen to read Qbamco Asset Management's latest epistle wherein "the coin" proposal was addressed? If not, I strongly suggest you do.

blindman's picture

"It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war."
Speech to the Michigan legislature, in Lansing, Michigan (15 May 1952), published in General MacArthur Speeches and Reports 1908-1964 (2000) by Edward T. Imparato, p. 206
The Power Principle
Video Documentary

Ned Zeppelin's picture

IMO anyone who serioulsy thinks this coin thing was a viable option to anyone from Obama on down is not playing with a full deck.  A parlor trick, a thought experiment, a media beach ball, sure, call it what you will, but it was never a serious idea.

Bob Sacamano's picture

The fact that the left was seriously considering it (in public no less) is freightening. 

HardlyZero's picture

So, now, the USA is the laughing stock of the World ?  could be.  So what's next for this circus Coin show ?  Bread and Circuses ?  it is pretty dismal from my perspective.

Lost Wages's picture

Either way there will be a spike in bond prices, so get ready to sell on green.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

debt is not the problem it is lenders unwilling to accept payment except by more debt paper frn's green gold did everyone just get educated that  PM'S ARE money..STILL it is amazing that some dwieb banker can call it off as if he runs washington .. cough cough pay em in constitutional coin, why that's crazy

Bob Sacamano's picture

The government will NOT default on its debt if the debt ceiling is not raised.  This is a false scare tactic of the left.  Plenty of money to service debt.  Stop perpetuating this canard.

3.7.77's picture

Yea big difference from printing treasuries and having them end up at the fed.

3.7.77's picture

well, other than the banks getting a couple percent for the transfer.

q99x2's picture

Shut the government down and don't let them restart it. We can do just fine without them.

Go Tribe's picture

Agreed. Everything in our lives from the moment we awake to the moment we fall asleep is regulated in some way and therefore designed by government decree of one sort or another. It's amazing how bound we are by laws and regulations. There is virtually no pure market for anything anymore. Time to shut er down and try something different.

putaipan's picture

i'm gonna go over to ebay and see if anyone's put it up for sale yet.

rsnoble's picture

The mere discussion of some magical coin is lunacy.  Just the fact that it was thought of, let alone considered shows how phony bologna this entire system is.  

And if worse comes to worse, since this option was already decidedly a bad idea, they'll probably make a 1000 of them.  They'll only use 1, the other 999 will be locked away and sworn never to be used.

groundedkiwi's picture

whose idea was this magic coin in the first place?.

gibbs's picture

"The chance for a big brawl, that ends up shutting the government down, is still very much in the cards"

Ona can hope.



rsnoble's picture

Please hand out guns to each govt official and disarm the metal detectors before they enter the chamber. The event that unfolds would be the same as drug gangs shooting each other up. In other words no big loss and we'd all be better off.

Kina's picture

In a world full of unintended consequences creating a Trillion dollar coin was too high up the MAD scale. Once done no stopping the dominos.

HardlyZero's picture

It is so MAD that the first domino has already tipped because the scam has reached all the way to the top of finance and the US reserve.  We are bankrupt completely because this was considered.

Once it becomes possible to discuss this Coin madness then the world laughs from now there is NO EXIT from the effects of the Coin now.  The first domino has tipped over.

Herdee's picture

It is actually fairly easy to rid the people of world from the banksters debt schemes.The FED is simply stripped of any ability to collect interest on debt by the Treasury.Interest rates which are the sole cause of all economic problems in the world are eliminated.Cold Turkey!That means no more credit card debt,no more mortgage debt etc.Debt can always be paid back but it's the compounding that is the worst part of the interest rate scam that's destroying lives.It is described as usary by all three of the worlds monotheistic religions which are the Jewish faith,the Christian faith and the Muslim faith.It is considered morally wrong.So,with that many people on your side Mr.President Obama and that's an awful lot of folks on this earth,what in hell is stopping you from reforming the world from this economic evil?I personally would want to return to the true economic principle of the Thirteen Colonies.And that's before the British Banks overran their American economy with counterfeit currency.I say,now is the time to do it and now is the time for reform and ushering in a new economic era.

FleaMarketPete's picture

Thanks BK.  I was wondering where the Fed was in this whole discussion.  No way idiot Obama would have taken this gimmick off the table on his own.

Frastric's picture

I constitutionally declare ye all to kiss my ass, and all platinum coins to be used to pay off our country's debt!

Obozo 2016 after declaring himself supreme commander in chief of the glorious United Brothers of Debt.

KingTut's picture

The fact is the coin would have been a zero-coupon perpetual treasury bond.  It would have been "sold" to the Fed without going through primary dealers, which is a detail, because treasuires are ending up at the Fed anyway.

Making it out of Platinum gets around legal limits on paper treasuires, paper cash and other coins because they just forgot to put Platinum in the list of limited monetary metals.  The coin would have violoated the spirit of those limits completely.

But is it functionally any worse than printing up a 1000 year, zero interst $1,000,000,000,000 T-bill? No, not really.  They'll be doing more than that this year anyway, after they raise the debt celiing.

the grateful unemployed's picture

thats apples and oranges thinking. this is like the fed taking the nations gold reserve off balance sheet. give the fed a million in platinum coins, the value probably doubles overnight, which makes their balance sheet good, and allows them to dump their bad paper. each successive deposit has the same result.

interest free? think again, this is wildly profitable. the flight from paper would be a stampede, so they can't rush into this. the Fed buys platinum from UST, then makes loans in paper. then you borrow paper dollars from the Fed and its charter banks, and payment is made in PM coins, which are more valuable.

in the final outcome we'll probably have one global standard for currency, but there will be several of those; fiat paper, gold denominated coins, and platinum backed paper currency, and coins. evenutally the fiat paper would be phased out.

just a thought


S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

What the Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke think doesn't matter.  All that matters is what Obama wants to do and what SCOTUS thinks (if it came to that).  The law states that platinum coins are printed at the discretion the Treasury Secretary, and the Treasury Secretary answers to Obama.  If Obama wants the coin to be minted, it gets minted.  If not, it doesn't.  (As to who may or may not be pulling Obama's strings in such a decision, that's another whole subject area.)  If it gets minted, it would appear the existing law makes it "legal tender for all debts, public and private".  Since the Fed is holding US debt, the Fed legally can not refuse to accept such coins in payment of that debt.  The only legal-approach-way for the Fed to reject the coin (and not face whatever "enforcement actions" Obama wishes to throw his way) would be to dispute the legal tender status of the coin, in which case this thing likely eventually ends up at SCOTUS for a decision.  The Fed, however, may be inclined to not take this to court, or if they do they will mysteriously leave the best legal argument against the coin out of their presentation.  And that best legal argument against the coin is that any law granting legal tender status to such a coin is unconstitutional.  And that is because the states do not have the authority to make any money be legal tender except gold and silver, and the federal government does not have the authority to make any money be legal tender.  But the Fed can't make that argument, because if they win on that argument, the legal tender status of the Federal Reserve note will be effectively (if not explicitly) struck down by the same decision.  (The other way for the Fed to avoid accepting such coins is to simply dump all of the treasuries they currently own on the open market.  It would not be the first time that a central bank retaliated against the government -- see 2nd central bank vs Andrew Jackson.)

For those who haven't seen the law yet, it's Section (k) of 31 USC 5112:  "The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to time."  Note that "specifications" (amount of platinum) and "denominations" (face value), as well as "quantitites" are all left up to "the Secretary" -- i.e., congress has already given the executive branch all the power it needs.

andrewp111's picture

If Obama authorized the minting of a legitimate coin, The Bernank has to take it. To refuse is to invite impeachment. Yes, all civil oficers, including Federal Reserve officers, can be impeached. Obama nixed the coin because he does not want to give the Republicans an easy out. He wants for force them to raise the debt ceiling. He will not accept any dodges or alternatives.


And the "power to coin money and regulate the value thereof" is pretty clear. Congress can force Bernanke to take the coin.

John_Coltrane's picture

You can't seriously believe Obama is in charge of the FED can you?  They, and their shareholders, (the PM dealers who benefit from the debt) are in charge of all the decisions.  If he tried to deny them their usury he'd be as dead as Kennedy and his brother (and almost Reagon-they blew that one-but got their message through loud and clear).  The name of their game is bailout and its method is public and private debt.  Read Griffiths, "the Creature from Jeckl Island" if you want to understand who's really in charge, not the pablum of MSM.

The FED is a private anticompeitive banking cartel-think organized crime for the closest analogy-although they aren't as smart and will blow up the fiat, fractional reserve ponzi we call a financial system sooner than later.  When trust is broken all the kings horses and all the kings men won't be able to put it together again.  How will you know this trust is broken?  The mother of all bank runs as in 2008.  Then its time to try sound, gold backed money again.

HurricaneSeason's picture

Obama doesn't call the shots, The Bernank does. Hank Paulson went to Bush (just before he left office) and Obama (just before he took the oath) and said the banks need almost a trillion dollars now or else 20% interest rates and martial law. It was settled within a week or two. There was no debate about it or presidential address on whether it should or shouldn't be done. Imagine how many years it would take if they debated adding a trillion dollars (or deducting a trillion) from the annual deficit.

Obama just wants to let them know to put on their Air Nikes and start walking toward the fiscal cliff and not wait on Obama. He didn't want them to come back later and say they were waiting to see how this coin thing or 14th amendment thing turned out before they jumped. They don't need to wait until midnight of the last day to raise the debt ceiling. They really don't need to raise the debt ceiling 1 month at a time for drama either, because they'll probably screw that up. They need to pass a budget.

Blank Reg's picture

I have a coin. I stamped $1 Tril on it. Goin to the store now.

Dr. Sandi's picture


Goin to the store now.

Careful. That's a lot of money.

Oh, and be sure to count your change!