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The Economists' Voice 2.0The Financial Crisis, Health Care Reform, and More$
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Joseph Stiglitz and Aaron Edlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160155

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160155.001.0001

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Trills Instead of T-Bills

Trills Instead of T-Bills

It’s Time to Replace Part of Government Debt with Shares in GDP

(p.224) Chapter 29 Trills Instead of T-Bills
The Economists' Voice 2.0

Mark J. Kamstra

Robert J. Shiller

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that, in parallel with the many other ongoing changes in the US financial structure, the obligations of the national government should take a new and innovative form. It proposes a small-denomination GDP share paying a coupon each year of one-trillionth of that year’s GDP, or about $14.60 at current levels. On this basis, it suggests the name “Trill” be used to refer to this new security. Similar to shares issued by corporations paying a fraction of corporate earnings in dividends, the Trill would pay a fraction of the “earnings” of the United States. Trills would have coupon payments that would rise in an expansion, be of value to investors, and, most importantly, for the U.S. government would decline in a recession with declining tax revenues, in contrast to existing debt vehicles.

Keywords:   government obligations, government debt, national government, Trills, GDP securities, coupon payments

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