By Dan Kervick
Imagine this: In a burst of manic, public-spirited zeal and budgetary enthusiasm, the US Congress passes, and the President signs, the following law. (Lawyers, forgive my poor mastery of legalese and feel free to translate the sense of what follows into the appropriate terminology):
L.1 The Secretary of the Treasury shall by a date no later than September 30, 2013 consolidate all United States Treasury accounts into a single account, to be called the “General Account”, and to be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
L.2 The General Account shall be used to settle and record all payments to and from the US Treasury.
L.3 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York shall on midnight, October 1, 2013 credit the General Account with an initial balance of $1,000,000,000,000,000.00
That’s one quadrillion dollars, about 263 times the current US annual budget, and about 63 times the current US Gross Domestic Product.