By Dan Kervick
Matt Yglesias has posted a sharp post-mortem on the platinum coin debate. This weekend, the White House imperiously declared that debate over. And perhaps it is – for now. But Yglesias remarks on the salubrious effects of the debate:
All that said, I’m glad we had this conversation. Direct discussion of the platinum coin was a good reminder that many people, including influential media figures, appear to have no idea what money is or how the monetary system works. Apart from the shockingly widespread view that the value of coins is determined by their metallic content, there was a lot of insistence that creating money was somehow an act of “magic.” In fact, the way all legal currency is created is that a government agency creates the money.
I would go a bit further. The coin debate triggered something. The platinum coin is a big shiny, reminder that in some way, somehow, the monetary authority of the United States rests with the American people, even if the plutocratic architects of our financial system and the owners of our country have succeeded over time in burying that authority under many layers of convoluted technocracy and confusing delegations.