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Friday, December 7, 2012

Time to Mint the Trillion-Dollar Coin, and Shove It Up Congress's Ass

Posted by on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I understand that using the debt ceiling to hold the nation hostage may be all the leverage they have, and if "they" were China, or Russia, or al Qaeda, or some other American adversary, that tactic might be perfectly reasonable. But "they" are the Republicans in Congress, and if they actually think they have something to gain politically by either forcing the nation into default or by shutting down the federal government, they are not just unpatriotic, they are fucking idiots.

Only Congress can raise the debt ceiling, and if Republicans choose not to, voters will know exactly who to blame for the consequences.

Of course, President Obama does have an out. I know all the serious people roll their eyes at the Trillion-Dollar Coin scenario, but it is legal, practical, and despite knee-jerk concerns to the contrary, no more inflationary than simply issuing more debt. It turns out, there are some problems you can just throw money at. Plus, unlike debt, taxpayers don't have to pay interest on the money. Such a deal!

I really wish Obama had the balls to mint the coin and shove it up Congress's ass. And as a final touch of irony, he should stamp Ronald Reagan's image on it.

 

Comments (24) RSS

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1
poor goldy.

addicts get so testy when you cut off their supply of smack.....
Posted by you are a weasel thief on December 7, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 2
Would the ass of congress simply be Boehner's ass since he is the majority leader, or is there some constitutionally mandated fundament into which the coin can be lodged?

Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 7, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 3
Don't even tempt fate suggesting Reagan on the coin. The RepubliKKKans want his neo-fascist face on all of our money--as if he were the Queen of AmeriKKKa.
Posted by Original Andrew on December 7, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
If they continue their obstreperous teabagginess, they'll find themselves relegated to governing only Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. So, in the long run, it might be a good thing.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
5
Plus the number of movies it would inspire would add at least a couple points to GDP.
Posted by giffy on December 7, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
the GOP already pushed us off the cliff in 2011, engineering a downgrade of our credit rating, and voters kept them in control for the next congress.

the voters must not have known who to blame, right?
Posted by Max Solomon on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Goldy 7
@6 Gerrymandering has a ton to do with the Republicans hold on the House. That said, a credit downgrade is not the same thing as a government shutdown or a default.
Posted by Goldy on December 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
8
The problem with your solution is that it would work. In case you hadn't notices, negotiations over the fiscal cliff, curb, slope, whatever have nothing to do with reducing the debt and everything to do with who will 'own' cutting popular Medicare benefits and other social safety net programs (Social Security is off the table for now, but I would be surprised to see it come back once the dust settles). If Obama can convincingly play the victim, and be ;forced' to accept cuts to Medicare benefits (like raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67) as part of some deficit and debt ceiling Grand Bargain, then he wins! He can plausibly blame Republicans for the benefit cuts, because it was their idea and they insisted. Obama had no choice, don't blame him! Ain't it a shame we had to cut your benefits, seniors, but what are ya gonna do? It's all the Republicans' fault! Now go buy your health insurance on the free market, ya old moochers, like Milton Friedman intended. Obama has been in the pocked of Wall Street from day one and with a Grand Bargain, he can cross his promise to Wall Street of chipping away at Medicare from his list of things to do. Its a win-win!
Posted by screed on December 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 9
I hadn't heard of this. But I love it.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
GhostDog 10
I hate to say this but people continue to not see the ways out of this situation.

A. Reduce health care costs.
B. Let a lot of people die.

That's it. Taxing rich people, though immensely satisfying and useful, won't do it. Cutting defense will help but won't fully get us there(though at 58% of the total budget, we really do need to look at cutting defense spending). Only by regulating health care costs will we be able to deal with the deficit. Or we can just make them fend for themselves for their health care costs. Which would be defaulting to option B, letting a lot of people die. Unless you have $65,000 lying around if you have a heart attack.
Posted by GhostDog on December 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
LogopolisMike 11
And as a final touch of irony, he should stamp Ronald Reagan's image on it.

The fact that imagining this gave me soft wood means I should probably stop paying so much attention to politics.
Posted by LogopolisMike http://logopolis.typepad.com on December 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
12
Why is the adversary toward disabled Americans and the crazy train that is Uncle Rick claiming that equal rights for disabled Americans via the UN treaty would result in killing crippled children not being discussed on SLOG? It doesn't seem to e making top headlines as it should be.
http://mobile.oregonlive.com/advorg/pm_2…
The NY times had some good pieces on this too.
Posted by Abby12345 on December 7, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
The President should invite Boehner over for a beer.

During a polite conversation, he should take a really large platinum coin out of his shirt pocket, and roll it around his fingers, while otherwise ignoring it.

Problem solved.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
@10 or, more sanely, Remove the cap on earnings, and extend it to all interest and dividends.

Problem solved. Nobody dies. Rich have to pay same as everyone else instead of artificially low payroll taxes.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
15
@8 (screed): Yes, absolutely. Except you probably meant to write, "Social Security is off the table for now, but I would not be surprised to see it come back once the dust settles."

@10 (GhostDog): Yes, absolutely. HR 676 "Improved Medicare For All" would be the no-brainer solution, if Congress and the White House were actually acting in the public interest. But take the second-to-last sentence from screed's comment -- "Obama has been in the pocke[t] of Wall Street from day one and with a Grand Bargain, he can cross his promise to Wall Street of chipping away at Medicare from his list of things to do" -- and substitute "Big Health" for "Wall Street."

Regarding a trillion-dollar coin with Reagan's image, I'm fine with it, so long as Reagan is gussied up in drag as Maggie Thatcher, complete with wig and handbag. Or how about someone from the Project for the New American Century? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Wolfowitz? They plunged us into two unfunded multi-trillion-dollar wars and should be commemorated for it. Or how about Liz Fowler? She drafted the unfunded Medicare Part D pharmacy benefit, with its ban on price negotiations, during her first revolving-door layover at Max Baucus's office. That's gonna cost patients, premium-payers, and taxpayers trillions. She deserves a coin in her honor, too.

Regarding proposed changes to the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare, there's this minor issue -- not a legal issue, mind you, just a trivial actuarial one -- with how long African-Americans live compared to white Americans. On average, Black Americans die eight or nine years younger, at age 69½. African-Americans are already getting pretty badly screwed by an actuarially blind eligibility age, and raising that age is going to screw them even worse. It would be a big win for John Birchers, Klansmen, and Teabaggers (pardon the redundancy), and I suspect it will be delivered by the same Blue Dog in progressive's clothing who sold us the Heritage Foundation health-insurance scheme as "reform."
More...
Posted by PCM on December 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
GhostDog 16
@14

First, I agree that what you are talking about is a good idea(though for mostly economic reasons centered around how investments and personal spending works which is long, rambly, and wonky), but when you compare it to how much health care costs are set to rise it isn't enough.

I myself think "control health care costs" is the way to go either through single payer or the way Obama's health care law worked in its original form.
Posted by GhostDog on December 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
17
Great idea, until Montgomery Burns steals it!
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on December 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM · Report this
18
Put me down in favor of the part about the ass of Congress.
Posted by howie in seattle on December 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
19
It would be VASTLY more inflationary than issuing debt, which isn't inflationary at all. Issuing debt is transferring funds from one place to another (in this case, from bond buyers to the federal government), with that money to be transferred back (plus interest) over time. A trillion dollar coin would be 100% new funds, created out of thin air and dumped into the economy. COMPLETELY different, but then I don't, you know, actually expect you to understand how money works.
Posted by Reader01 on December 7, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
20
@10 - defense isn't even CLOSE to 58% of the total budget.
Posted by Reader01 on December 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
21
@19, you realize that economists disagree with you? Read the article.

But then I wouldn't expect you to understand how that works.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 22
@16 well, that too. Everything helps.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
23
@21 - which economists, and in what article? The author isn't one. Joe Weisenthal isn't one. Jack Balkin isn't one. Erik Hayden isn't one. The only piece that he even linked to that gave an opinion was from the Economist appropriately enough which unambiguously stated that it would be inflationary because, you know, it absolutely would be... but then, I wouldn't expect you to follow your own advice.
Posted by Reader01 on December 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
w7ngman 24
"There could a long-term inflationary problem, I suppose, if the government fell in love with the idea and used platinum coins to finance ever larger deficits. But that seems unlikely."

lol
Posted by w7ngman http://userscripts.org/users/89370 on December 7, 2012 at 8:06 PM · Report this

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