Federal Reserve/Conspiracy Theory

In a conversation I was having with a conspiracy buff, he made a big deal that a private company, the Federal Reserve, was the issuer of all paper monies in the US. According to him only coins are actually issued by the US Government. First off I guess, is this the truth? I was under the impression that the Department of the Treasury was the body that issues all us monies.

Secondly, could then the US Treasury department issue a coin in a high enough denomination to pay off the Federal Reserve? My friend seemed to think this a great idea, but couldn’t exactly say why. Any ideas on helping me call a potential BS on these?

The Federal Reserve System is not a private company:

Who owns the Federal Reserve

Does the Fed produce notes and coins?

You can check out their site at www.federalreserve.gov

The Fed was established by an act of Congress; whether they are technically private I guess I can’t say. The Treasury prints money; but the Fed has the tools to control the money supply by setting the interest rate at which it loans to member banks, by setting the reserve requirements, and by buying or selling bonds in the open market.

“Issuing a coin high enough to pay off the Federal Reserve” is a nonsense phrase. This is because there would be nothing to pay off. The Treasury may sell bonds to fund federal budget deficits, but those are sold to private investors. The Treasury AFAIK is not in debt to the Fed with the exception that the Fed buys bonds as a money-supply tool. The Fed may hold Treasury bonds, but if there were no Treasury bonds on the market, then the Fed would just buy bonds issued from other sources.

If the Treasury bought back all its bonds from the Fed, the Fed would just have to buy bonds issued from other sources. Then Congress would either have to take out more debt to pay for those bonds, or they would have to increase taxes/decrease spending to foot the bill.