Perhaps you have heard the recent discussion about printing a trillion dollar platinum coin to pay off debts incurred by the United States government. Paul Krugman and a cohort of others are promoting the idea, which has been well-covered by Business Insider: click here. The US Treasury Secretary may be permitted to do this by law, and it's a way to get around the anticipated and potentially rancorous debt ceiling debate.
(James Grant is the one who has perhaps best explained why the trillion dollar coin is not as great an idea as Paul Krugman thinks it is: click here.)
However, there was discussion on Bill Fleckenstein's subscriber website today about an arguably much better, though equally ludicrous idea.
As Mr. Fleckenstein pointed out, any central bank that wishes to could proceed to do this now, until the same currency markets which tolerate moneyprinting (which is usually done for the politically expedient purpose of purchasing government bonds) would (ultimately) be forced to reply, "Hey, you can't do this anymore!"
At this final point, presumably, the central bank which had purchased the most gold with newly printed unbacked currency would be the "winner."
On a related and timely note, James Buchanan, who, like Paul Krugman, won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, died Wednesday at age 93. Mr. Buchanan helped to found the field of public-choice theory, which examines how bureaucracies and elected leaders make decisions.
One could argue that Mr. Buchanan "got out just in time!" However, those of us who truly care about our economic wellbeing will miss his presence among us.
13 January 2013: On a related note, the US Treasury Department has ruled out minting the trillion dollar coin. My comments are attached to the linked article: click here. (The Federal Reserve has not announced a decision to print dollars to buy gold, by the way. More's the pity - for the US Treasury.)