The US Government’s Trillion Dollar Coin

The US Government’s Trillion Dollar Coin


This video was made possible by Dashlane. Protect your digital identity for free for
30 days by going to dashlane.com/HAI. Hello and welcome to another episode of, “Kinda
Clickbaity Titles to Get You To Watch Something Vaguely Educational.” Today, we are going to talk about trillion-dollar
coins—but first, in order to understand why the US government would ever even consider
making a coin that’s worth more than a gold-plated Jeff Bezos, we have to talk a little bit about
the debt ceiling crisis of 2013. Now that half the audience is gone, the year
was 2013, the month was January. The number one YouTube channel was Smosh,
Macklemore’s, “Thrift Shop,” was rising up the charts, and President Barack Obama
had a problem: the US was about to hit the debt ceiling. Of course, “what’s the debt ceiling,”
says someone, so here’s how the debt ceiling works. Each year, Congress passes, and the President
signs, a budget that says how much it’s going to spend on different things. So maybe it says the government will spend
$10 billion on Big Macs, $20 billion on Doritos Locos Tacos, and $30 billion on Pepto Bismol. It’s then up to the US Treasury to buy all
those things. The Treasury gets the money to do that from
two main sources. The first is taxes, which are collected from
the American people and American businesses, unless you’re Amazon, of course. The US, you see, goes for the rare graduated
bell curve tax bracket system. Typically, though, that tax money isn’t
enough, so the Treasury will make up the difference by borrowing money, which is done by issuing
something called a treasury bond. Basically what happens is the Federal Reserve,
which is the central bank of the United States, says to everybody, “hey kids, if you give
me $100 right now, I’ll give you this super cool piece of paper, which is called a treasury
bond,” and what this piece of paper says is, “In exchange for your $100, a year from
now, I’ll give you back your $100 plus a little bit extra. Or, if you want to wait longer, like 3 or
5 or 30 years, I’ll toss in a bit extra for your trouble.” So, people buy these bonds, the Fed takes
their $100, puts it into the bank account of the Treasury, and now, just like magic,
the government has a brand new $100 that they didn’t have before. As time has gone on, the US government has
issued more and more treasury bonds, and thus taken on more and more and more and more and
more debt—seriously, like a lot of debt. The debt ceiling is an arbitrary number that
Congress sets as the maximum amount of debt the US is allowed to take on. In 2013, the number was $16.394 trillion. So if the debt were to pass $16.394 trillion,
then the Fed wouldn’t be allowed to borrow any more money, which means the Treasury wouldn’t
be able to buy all those crucial things in the budget. Normally, when the debt approaches that number,
Congress just raises the debt ceiling, which means they just set a new, higher number as
the limit, and historically, this was a pretty uncontroversial, bipartisan process. But in 2013, the Republican-led Congress refused
to raise the debt ceiling unless Obama agreed to get rid of Obamacare. Unsurprisingly, Obama said no to this deal
because, you know, it turns out that Obama kinda liked Obamacare—that would be like
asking me to stop mispronouncing obscure words like buffet; it was kinda Obama’s thing. And so, Obama began looking for ways around
the debt ceiling. That’s where the trillion-dollar coin came
into play. The idea was, if the government can’t borrow
more money, what if they just made more money? While that may sound like the type of idea
only a drunken second grader would suggest, bizarrely, in this case, it actually made
sense. See normally, only the Federal Reserve can
create new money, and it has to be backed by bonds. In other words, if the Fed wants to create
100 new dollars, they have to sell a $100 treasury bond. This helps keep the US economy from imploding
in case some maniac ever gets at the controls. They can’t just print as much money as they
want, except, thanks to a loophole in a 1996 bill about commemorative coins, the Treasury
actually can. The law, 31 U.S.C 5112(k), reads, “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.” The intent of this law was to let the federal
government create commemorative platinum coins for special occasions, but technically, because
of the bill’s unclear language, it meant that the Treasury Secretary could make a coin,
so long as it was made of platinum, and then declare that it was worth any amount of money
they wanted. So the plan was for the Treasury to mint a
coin, declare that the coin was worth 1 trillion dollars, then deposit that coin into their
bank account at the Fed, which would make the debt, instead of being $16.394 trillion,
only $15.394 trillion—below the ceiling. Eventually, once Congress raised the debt
ceiling, the Treasury would just buy the coin back or melt it down, and in theory, it would
be like it never existed, and thus it wouldn’t cause inflation. Now I’m going to tell you something that
might disappoint you: although the trillion-dollar coin was genuinely considered by the White
House, they never went through with the plan, so no trillion-dollar coin was ever actually
minted. I know, I know—the title of the video kinda
made it seem like they actually made the coins, but you know what, the Greeks made it seem
like they were just gifting Troy a cool wooden horse. Not everything is as it seems. On the bright side, now you know a bunch about
treasury bonds and debt ceilings, which will come in handy the next time you’re on a
date and modern US monetary policy comes up, which I have to imagine happens all the time. Another thing that’s sure to impress your
dates is if you have an incredibly secure online presence, and if you’re thinking
to yourself, “but, HAI guy, how can I possibly have an online presence so secure that I become
irresistible to potential romantic partners?” Don’t worry, I have a solution: Dashlane. Dashlane makes online security easy by generating
safe, complex passwords for each of your accounts, storing them behind one super-secure password
that’ll be the only one you’ll ever have to remember, and then autofilling them when
you have to login. That means that keeping safe with Dashlane
is actually easier than being insecure the regular way. You can start using Dashlane for free with
by signing up a Dashlane.com/HAI, and if you want to get access to all kinds of other super
cool features that keep you safe online, like dark web monitoring and a VPN, you can upgrade
to premium for 10% off by using the code, “HAI.”

100 Comments

  • Half as Interesting

    November 21, 2019

    Feeling sad about the fall of the Byzantine Empire? Cheer yourself up by finding and suggesting future HAI topics. If we use yours, we'll send you a free HAI t-shirt that you can use to wipe away your tears. Submit suggestions here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfUdlvw6YgU44J8AnM2U_ZvRMyvh_CUM51LYSqF5nYJB9d1-w/viewform?usp=sf_link

    Reply
  • Carter Bennett

    November 22, 2019

    This reminds me of a Simpsons episode instead of a trillion dollar coin it was a trillion dollar bill does anyone else remember that episode

    Reply
  • David Johnson

    November 22, 2019

    $30 billion in Peptol Bismol would be more beneficial towards mental health funding, but those crooks on capital hill is in the pocket of big OTC (over-the-counter medicine). Sickening.

    Reply
  • Gerberger

    November 22, 2019

    Would this go around the fed's usury?

    Reply
  • nogodsnomasters

    November 22, 2019

    bitcoin fix this

    Reply
  • Ethan

    November 22, 2019

    The question is: am I willing to forgive the click bait title in exchange for knowledge that will surely get me laid on the next date?

    Reply
  • Urn [Empty]

    November 22, 2019

    half as interesting is a pretty shit youtube channel, ngl

    Reply
  • Enrico Truzzi

    November 22, 2019

    That's the level of delusion Keynesian economics lead us to, "just take anything and declare it as having any x value and it will have it!", It's really scary.

    Reply
  • Jan Kopřanský

    November 22, 2019

    I disliked this because you didn't say how the Obama guy actually solved his problem.

    Reply
  • Richard Petron

    November 22, 2019

    This is wrong

    Reply
  • SirWalri

    November 22, 2019

    Why do we have dept just more taxes the gov will never pay back anyway

    Reply
  • Megastarman3 yo

    November 22, 2019

    For a secure online presence…
    Dashlane… the E-condom.

    Reply
  • DaniloKING 2

    November 22, 2019

    Couch: aight imma take this

    Reply
  • thebamboozlekingbinasjadalalmas

    November 22, 2019

    where can I get a trillion dollar coin? 😏😏😏😏😏

    Reply
  • furiouspunkboy

    November 22, 2019

    I love your videos but man this was too clickbaity for such a pointless ending….

    Reply
  • Glenn Murphy

    November 22, 2019

    READ: "BREAKING COVER" BY BILL GULLEY, WHO RAN THE "MILITARY OFFICE" OF THE WHITEHOUSE=ALL THE MONEY ANY PRESIDENT WANTS-FOR A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

    Reply
  • Kevin Ma

    November 22, 2019

    Just print more money and $1,000,000,000,000 coins to pay off debts.

    Reply
  • Brendan Wright

    November 22, 2019

    This was my favorite ad transition yet. Well done!

    Reply
  • Lima Echo Juliette

    November 22, 2019

    1:20 star note. worth about 3 dollars hmmm

    Reply
  • Sirius Black

    November 23, 2019

    Can we get some love for the Weimar Republic?

    Reply
  • Apple User 2

    November 23, 2019

    Me: *steals coin*
    Also me: buys something and destroys the economy because the country barely has enough change

    Reply
  • justinl458

    November 23, 2019

    I had a thousand dollar treasury bond that I invested in 14 years ago. The government invalidated it and refused to cash it. 🙁

    Reply
  • Titanic Big boat

    November 23, 2019

    Coppa

    Reply
  • - vanman88 -

    November 23, 2019

    I heard Weimar Germany really liked printing money to pay debts

    Reply
  • Some random guy on the Internet

    November 23, 2019

    Just make 23 of them.

    Reply
  • Ross Parlette

    November 23, 2019

    It's come up in all of MY recent dates. Oh, wait. I haven't HAD any recent dates. I wonder why?

    Reply
  • Hachi Harada

    November 23, 2019

    you sure love being sponcored

    Reply
  • Sam Ott

    November 23, 2019

    The Weimar German Republic printed more money in 1923, and it did not work out well.

    Reply
  • Truth

    November 23, 2019

    Imagine going to Apple HQ and giving them the coin and telling them “I own the company now”

    Reply
  • Daniel V

    November 23, 2019

    A 19:1 like ratio. A little low. The misleading title may have something to do with it….

    Reply
  • KaibaCorp HQ

    November 23, 2019

    Spoilers

    Awww, that's so disappointing. I doubt that thing would've ever been bought back to melt down later, like it would've been the last thing on everyone's mind and probably would've been something nice to put in a museum or something after a century or two.

    Reply
  • marshall jacobs

    November 23, 2019

    I clearly remember seeing pictures of a man wearing white gloves carrying the coin in a glass container down a staircase. Was it a dream? Is my whole life a lie?? Am I just a bystander in a videogame that beings of the 5th dimension play??? I NEED ANSWERS!

    Reply
  • Sam Maloney

    November 23, 2019

    The government only needs 22 trillion dollar coins to pay its debt.

    Reply
  • Carazy123

    November 23, 2019

    Love going down to the comments mid-video and seeing something about the fall of the Byzantine Empire XD

    Reply
  • A Random weeb

    November 23, 2019

    im gonna make one for myself using SKILLSHARE

    Reply
  • Jared Z

    November 23, 2019

    US Debt is only a number at this point! Who tf who come to repo us, when our military is number 1? No one can… or else the whole house of cards would fall down.

    Reply
  • ffggddss

    November 23, 2019

    (A $1,000,000,000,000 coin)
    "… worth more than a gold-plated Jeff Bezos…"
    – or Tim Cook? OK, actually, Apple Computer itself.

    Fred

    Reply
  • Tyler Barron

    November 23, 2019

    Your kerning makes me cry.

    Reply
  • Chad Griffiths

    November 23, 2019

    Way back in 2013, when the fiscal conservative was a thing.

    Reply
  • Jakub Klimczak

    November 23, 2019

    I still don't know whats an obama or what does it have to do with the us government

    Reply
  • Dhruva Dey

    November 23, 2019

    lmao these short half assed videos are just a vessel for ur sponsers

    Reply
  • Green

    November 23, 2019

    I was already planning my master heist to obtain the 3 trillion dollar coin, I'm so disappointed it was never made.

    Reply
  • Noah Forsythe

    November 23, 2019

    We missed out on the world's best heist story

    Reply
  • Robert Zeurunkl

    November 23, 2019

    This was the best clickbait EVER, and I actually did learn something! 😉 So, I will forgive you for this treachery this one time. 😉

    Reply
  • Vivek

    November 23, 2019

    You lieeeeeeddddddd to meeeee ……

    Reply
  • Frank Miller

    November 23, 2019

    I'll allow it 😆

    Reply
  • Catalina Mireille

    November 23, 2019

    Disliked for clickbait

    Reply
  • William Zhang

    November 23, 2019

    you liar clickbaiter

    Reply
  • Jo Smo

    November 23, 2019

    Gvt: "Hey kids want to give us $100 for a useless piece of paper and I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today?"
    US public: "Sure"

    Gvt: "?????????😲??????????? um ok….. well that was easy"

    Reply
  • Critical Thinker

    November 23, 2019

    Serious question – the US Treasury authorizes "money" into existence, right?

    The IRS takes money to pay for the debt that has been incurred, doesn't it?

    So why, don't the US Treasury, simply give the IRS all that money back, and leave everyone alone?

    Reply
  • TheReader

    November 23, 2019

    Amazon invests billions into the US economy more efficiently than the US government. Americans owe Jeff Bezos. He deserves his money.

    Reply
  • Percy Durham

    November 23, 2019

    This video lied to me just as much as the government

    Reply
  • Trolly

    November 23, 2019

    Obama was an evil traitor. Your current president is Much better. He may have flaws, but he loves his country and tries to do whats best for it.

    Reply
  • Aloewells

    November 23, 2019

    Thank God, USA needs only a bunch of COINS to pay their national debt. MAGA.

    Reply
  • вoѕѕαɴovα

    November 23, 2019

    1:07
    And that tax money is going to some ᴋɪᴋᴇ's pocket. Hurray.

    Reply
  • Greg Stearns

    November 23, 2019

    HAI Guy, you get a like just for the sponsor segue. Yours are the best in the business and this is the best yet.

    Reply
  • Mathieu Leader

    November 23, 2019

    this coin was the inspiration behind the Simpsons episode the Trouble with Trillions

    Reply
  • Timothée Rebours

    November 23, 2019

    "it made cents" ..

    Reply
  • Christain kid

    November 23, 2019

    The fed doesn't issue Treasury bonds, the TREASURY does.

    Reply
  • Daniel Hesse

    November 23, 2019

    Amazon did pay over 2.6 Billion in corproate taxes alone. Please, if you're going to try to make an "educational" video, don't put easily debunkable claims in it.

    Reply
  • Mongol Mongol

    November 23, 2019

    A trillion dollars? That could buy a whole football field!

    Reply
  • I want Death

    November 23, 2019

    didn't the Simpsons predict this with the trillion dollar bill that Mr Burns stole????

    Reply
  • Melik M

    November 23, 2019

    Suggestion: how live score apps work

    Reply
  • F.B.I

    November 23, 2019

    1×10^69696969 quadrillion dollar coin

    Reply
  • YeaTurnBoi

    November 23, 2019

    Imagine this dropping into a sewer

    Reply
  • Syrnian

    November 23, 2019

    The treasury does not buy those things. Congress buys them, the treasury pays for them.
    The federal reserve does not make money. The treasury does. The federal reserve basically guarantees money. A private institution, federal reserve, cannot make money.
    US securities are sold by the treasury, not the federal reserve.

    The United States owns the most United States debt, not China.

    Reply
  • Davi Salomão Garcia Lopes

    November 23, 2019

    so valuable, but so useless

    Reply
  • asiopdru afiopugiop

    November 23, 2019

    video starts at 3:01

    Reply
  • Undisclosed Identity

    November 23, 2019

    I say we give it the Europe. Send C Montgomery Burns to deliver it

    Reply
  • LMLMD

    November 23, 2019

    "Will come in handy the next time you're on a date and modern US monetary policy comes up, which i have to imagine happens all the time."

    Unironically, yes. Me and my partner have literally had dinner dates when we discuss stuff like this. We're like the lesbian version of Chidi and Eleanor.

    Reply
  • Adam Putz

    November 23, 2019

    We forgot to talk about bricks

    Reply
  • Georgino Pastrani

    November 23, 2019

    George Soros explanation, conveniently leaving out what the process does to the standard individual's SAVED dollars.

    Reply
  • Luca Melendez

    November 23, 2019

    Imagine finding one of these coins on the street. You'll never have to work again lol

    Reply
  • Anony Mous

    November 23, 2019

    Imagine flipping this.

    Reply
  • brickson98moto

    November 24, 2019

    OMG was my comment about how you pronounce buffet actually big enough to make you mention it, or were there other comments? lmao

    Reply
  • Nicholas Fornaro

    November 24, 2019

    Cashier: Sir, your total will be $0.99

    Me: Okay, here is a $1 Trillion coin

    Reply
  • John Parla

    November 24, 2019

    John f kenadi want to do that but the fed killed him for it

    Reply
  • 1awesomeben

    November 24, 2019

    If I find this coin I’ll pay off my college tuition and use the remaining $10 to watch a movie

    Reply
  • Peaches X Cardi B

    November 24, 2019

    Obama isn’t that good then?

    Reply
  • TheTarrMan

    November 24, 2019

    What would that trillion dollar coin look like?

    Reply
  • John Morgan

    November 24, 2019

    GUARANTEE if Bernie, Warren, or AOC become President, this will happen.

    Reply
  • Trixster Million

    November 24, 2019

    It takes a special kind of asshole to entitle such a video thusly.

    Reply
  • Rok Mun

    November 24, 2019

    I see an E on it, long live the Enclave

    Reply
  • Aaron Belakhoua

    November 24, 2019

    Technically, Treasury Bonds are issued by the treasury, not the Fed. The Fed can buy or sell those bonds, but not issue them. It's complicated, but the Fed isn't entirely part of the government. It's technically a separate body chartered by the government to be its "official bank". This is not entirely unusual; in the UK, specific private banks have the right to issue British Pounds too.

    Reply
  • trapical

    November 24, 2019

    The stock footage @ 5:13 is so perfect.
    That's the exact expression I have when I ask myself that very specific question.

    Reply
  • Wolvenworks

    November 24, 2019

    you know…i didn't remember that channels back then can have a custom look

    Reply
  • Nicolas Lee

    November 25, 2019

    Hahaha

    Reply
  • GadgetActivated GA

    November 25, 2019

    Gosh darnit, here we go again with your puns…

    Reply
  • Spencer Kraus

    November 25, 2019

    2:27 "Crucial"

    Reply
  • Spencer Kraus

    November 25, 2019

    This is seriously a solution that a lazy 7th grader would come up with and end up getting detention for even suggesting, yet our own government legitimately considered it and almost used it…

    Reply
  • Daniel Cuevas

    November 25, 2019

    Someone might be able to buy 2 LEGO sets with that much money

    Reply
  • Saim Shaikh

    November 25, 2019

    My dad: what you doing!
    Me: watching a video about a trillion dollar coin.
    My dad: don’t you have things to do in life!

    Reply
  • yogsim 욕심 11

    November 25, 2019

    Good way to rob u of real wealth very concering 😦

    Reply
  • Tetraglot

    November 25, 2019

    I have dashlane, but no romantic partner D:

    Reply
  • Emad gergis

    November 25, 2019

    Is everyone gonna ignore how he expected Barrack Obama to spent 10 billion dollars on Big Macs, 20 billion on Doritos, and 30 billion on Pepto?

    Ok then.

    Reply
  • Monkeywrench542

    November 25, 2019

    more than likely government did actually make more than one of these coins and just did not inform anyone at all but certain government agencies and plan on using them in case of Continuity of Government (plans) ever comes into use and the government needs to raise the debt ceiling and does not have the time to go through congress to get approval.

    Reply
  • Asilia African Animal Ranch

    November 25, 2019

    American Debt, Tax slavery system is so sad.. No one actually owns anything but Americans think there free because the government says there free yet there enslaved to the government..

    In other parts of the world most people actually own there land/ houses 100% no debt, no bank or taxes… Crazy to think how free they are from the government and tax/debt system yet Americans claim freedom and are truly closer to being like north Korea then any other country (just fooled into thinking your free)….

    Very sad to think as the USA economy and system is failing.. Its not sustainable, America has bery little products and imports more then it exports..

    MAIN exports used to be music and movies (no one pays for these and other countries are now producing there own entertainment)

    Our other main resource is cars, yet other countries don't buy America cars..

    So we are left with war.. Yes American sells guns, tanks, planes so on for war.. So that's are big export war.. The one thing we need to not have yet America would fail if there was peace on the planet..

    Oh Boeing but that's failing as they tried to be cheap and just add bigger engines to existing planes and well they dive into ground.. Software to fix a mechanical design flaw is not smart.. Very stupid.. Now all planes are not being bought as you cant trust American built things (the rest of the world don't trust American built stuff)

    I hope America stops pretending its great when its an illusion.. You can pretend to be rich but one day you have to face your not rich and figure out how to truly pay your bills but in America we need to figure out how to be self sustainable.. We are owned by China.. We buy Chinese products, Chinese cloths, china China China…

    We have sone farm industry but will warn you africa has 3-4 grow season per year and will be feeding the world soon.. So our food will soon be from africa..

    Reply
  • 88Smoax

    November 25, 2019

    Which is better? Dashlane or nordvpn? Reply and tell me ngl

    Reply
  • Liberty Bell1776

    November 25, 2019

    What was described here if the Fed when along could in the future distort this country!

    Reply
  • Daniel Kintigh

    November 25, 2019

    Imagine the MSM if it came out Trump's administration was considering it. Bet you they wouldn't treat it the same way they did when Obama's did it!

    Reply

Leave a Reply