How Fox News Misinterpreted the $1 Trillion Coin

The $1 trillion coin idea that has been floated around the Capital as a method of paying off the country’s staggering deficit has been misinterpreted by the Fox New Network who believed it entailed $1 trillion worth of platinum as opposed to a $1 trillion coin made of platinum.

Perhaps in an effort to display what some interpret as the absurdity of the idea, Fox News aired a segment in which they claimed the $1 trillion coin would weigh 17,773.995 tons, be equal in weight to 89 blue whales, or a ballistic missile submarine.

In fact, the $1 trillion coin, which was not taken off the table by White House Press Secretary Jim Carney when he was asked about it on Wednesday, is a one ounce platinum coin minted in the denomination of $1 trillion.

A little known provision in the U.S. code grants the Treasury Secretary the authority to mint coins of platinum in value of his choosing, or at his discretion, as the language says.

Economists and law professors at such institutions as Yale and Harvard have weighed in on the idea, mostly stating that while it has some legal validation it is nonetheless an unlikely scenario for coping with the staggering debts of the country.

The high prices paid for gold and silver coin in the current era are perhaps somewhat to blame for the believability of the idea. The price of gold has risen 500 percent in the last decade and shows no signs the Bull Run is complete.

Already, sales of gold and silver bullion at the U.S. Mint have made the month of January 2013 one of the strongest on record for sales. American Silver Eagles, which typically show strength in January, have sold 4,632,000 ounces, despite only going on sale to Authorized Distributors on January 7, making January thus far the third strongest monthly total for sales in the coin’s 27-year history.

The popularity of coins today is certainly a partial contributor to the supposed plausibility of a $1 trillion platinum coin minted to pay down the national debt. However, though the popularity and legal grounds are present, it is unlikely that such a fairy tale resolution to the debt will transpire.

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