Michigan Congresswoman proposes recurring relief payments to Americans using $1T Treasury coins

DETROIT – Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) is introducing a bill that would provide recurring stimulus payments to Americans without adding additional debt.

Along with U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Rep. Tlaib unveiled the Automatic BOOST to Communities (ABC) Act, which would immediately provide a $2,000 payment using BOOST debit cards to every person in America as critical relief during the COVID-19 crisis, followed by $1,000 recurring monthly payments for one year after the end of the crisis.

The proposal would be funded directly from the Treasury with no additional debt issued by minting two $1 trillion coins, and additional coins as necessary, according to the plan.

“Real people, not corporations need to be at the center of any legislative relief effort to combat the harms caused by this global pandemic. Too many of our workers, low-income people and families across the country were instantly impacted and we need to have an aggressive and inclusive financial assistance program,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “This means we need to help our neighbors pay their bills, purchase groceries, and other quality of life needs. The ABC Act is designed to help cushion these blows during and after this global health crisis while chipping away at economic inequality in our society during the pandemic.”

How “Mint the Coin” would work:

The idea to “mint the coin” has been brought up over the years, especially in relation to budget issues in Washington. Rep. Tlaib’s plan details how the funding would work:

  1. The Treasury Secretary would direct the U.S. Mint to issue two $1 trillion platinum coins, under the legal authority provided by 31 U.S.C. § 5112(k).
  2. Congress would direct the Federal Reserve to purchase the newly issued coins at full face value.
  3. The Federal Reserve would complete the purchase by crediting the U.S. Mint’s account at the Fed with $2 trillion in reserves.
  4. The Fed would retain ownership over the two $1 trillion coins permanently in order to ensure its own balance sheet remains fully capitalized by the Treasury.
  5. The Treasury Secretary would “sweep” the newly created reserve funds from the Mint’s account into the regular Treasury General Account.
  6. The Treasury would make the funds available to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service to disperse to every person in America in the form of pre-paid U.S. Debit Cards.

“This approach would preserve the historical separation between fiscal and monetary policy and avoid financial entanglement between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve which would eventually undermine the independence of the Fed,” Tlaib’s plan says.

Some financial experts say the plan would cause inflation and set a dangerous precedent. But some argue the out-of-the-box plan is needed right now.

“The ABC Act exercises the Treasury Secretary’s exclusive legal authority over coinage in order to establish a true money-financed fiscal program, in the process avoiding any need to issue public debt,” said Rohan Grey, Assistant Professor of Law, Willamette University. “By using “fiscal money for fiscal policy,” the #ABCAct restores the U.S. Mint to its rightful historical place as a primary institutional mechanism for budgetary finance.”

About the Author:

Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.