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Janet Yellen throws cold water on $1 trillion coin

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Janet Yellen throws cold water on $1 trillion coin
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dismissed the idea of minting a $1 trillion coin for the national debt. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the idea of printing a $1 trillion coin to help pay off the country's debt a "gimmick" Tuesday.

Yellen complained that such a move would conflate her duties as treasury secretary and that of the central bank, saying in an interview that the idea can't be taken with any credibility, even though it is embraced by Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

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"I'm opposed to it and I don't believe we should consider it seriously," Yellen said on CNBC. "It's really a gimmick, and what's necessary is for Congress to show the world can count on America paying its debts."

Philip Diehl, a former director of the United States Mint, told Axios, though, that a $1 trillion platinum coin is doable and could be minted "within hours of the Treasury Secretary's decision to do so."

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"Voila, we'd have bought ourselves the equivalent of a trillion-dollar increase in the debt limit, without any impact on inflation," Diehl said.

The idea of minting a trillion-dollar coin has been floated for the past decade. It regained steam when Krugman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about it as the debt ceiling debate continued to rage in the Senate, with Republicans refusing to join Democrats in extending it.

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"On the face of it, Janet Yellen could mint a platinum coin with a face value of $1 trillion," Krugman said in the Times. "No, it needn't include $1 trillion worth of platinum. Deposit it at the Federal Reserve and draw on that account to keep paying the government's bills without borrowing."

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