The trillion platinum coin idea came roaring back into the headlines today when the Huffington Post splashed it across its homepage.
An obscure provision of the federal code seems to give the Treasury Secretary authority to mint platinum coins worth whatever the Secretary declares them to be. A $1 trillion coin could be deposited with the Federal Reserve, which would allow the government to continue spending money even if it were barred from issuing more debt.
But can the government really pay its bills with a trillion dollar coin? Is it legal for the Treasury to create $1 trillion dollars out of nowhere?