[I]f for some reason the trillion-dollar coin idea doesn’t pan out–say, because the U.S. Mint can’t find a way to squeeze 12 zeroes into such a small space–there are lots of alternatives that range from intriguing to bonkers. Here we go …

FromBusinessweek, nine ways to keep the country from colliding with the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department could, for instance mint not one high value coin but “a whole bunch of $50 million coins. Say, 20,000 of them, which would add up to a trillion dollars.”

Or, instead of creating money out of nothing, the government could get cash for tangible assets by, for instance, selling off some, or all, of the “5,000 tons of gold in Fort Knox.”

Or, “illiquid assets the federal government owns and underutilizes.” These include, “real estate, mineral rights, the electromagnetic spectrum, and energy-generation facilities.”

And what about the old stuff that the government doesn't want anymore because it is upgrading. Computers and office furniture that isn't suitable in the sleek and prosperous environment that is present day Washington, D.C. but would be fine out in the provinces. The GSA could take time off from its Las Vegas conference and workshops, do an inventory, and put the old stuff on E-Bay. That ought to raise a few billion.

The arresting thing about some of these proposals is that they have been seriously advanced by reputable people and ... well, that we are having the discussion in the first place.

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