The deal that has been reached to end the government shutdown pushes the problem down the road. According to the agreement, the short-term plan would finance the government through early January and raise the debt limit through early February. That means we could fighting the same shutdown in just a few months.
But there are some options that have been floated around that could end the debt-ceiling crisis for a little longer, even though they are often referred to as accounting tricks.
One of the ideas to cut down our debt is for the Treasury to mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin. Longtime coin collector and dealer Steve Rye said the idea is entirely legal. In fact, the bill that just passed allows the U.S. Treasury to use "extraordinary measures" to delay a default.
"It appears that the law would permit that," said Rye.
"The Treasury does have the power under the current legislation to mint any type of platinum coin they would like," he continued, but added it would be extremely unlikely the government would go down this path.
Another debt ceiling buster would be issuing what's known as premium treasury bonds.
"The interest rate would be fairly similar to what we're seeing now, but maybe with a slight premium, which is where the name comes from, and it would also end this debt debate today," said Michael Carlin, a financial planner and co-owner of Scottsdale-based Wealth Management LLC.
Carlin says issuing premium treasury bonds is a short-term fix. The problem arises when the bonds are later cashed in - say by China, since the higher rate means the U.S. will have to pay out more to bond holders in the future.
"The reality long-term is that it doesn't put us in a better situation," he said.
Experts said it's unlikely lawmakers would use either of these "tricks," but they say it's a possibility.
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