There’s this silly, anachronistic and ineffectual law on the books called the Debt Ceiling. And in recent years, it’s become increasingly politicized and difficult to get the ceiling raised. But the good news is that there’s another silly law on the books, written in 1996, that specifically lets the Treasury Secretary create a shiny platinum coin of any denomination.
Philip Diehl, who was the head of the mint when the 1996 law was passed — and who helped draft the specific language that allows for platinum coinage of any denomination — told Wired in 2013 that the coin maneuver was legal: The coin hack even surprised and impressed former U.S. Mint director Philip Diehl, who co-authored the law that enabled the platinum loophole in the first place. “When I first heard about the idea to mint a trillion-dollar coin, I was very surprised,” says Diehl. “But because I know that law backwards and forwards, I knew immediately that the guy who came up with the idea was right. “It’s an ingenious use of the law to avoid a ridiculous and irresponsible situation, in which the country would be driven to default.”’