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View Diary: Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would back President Obama if he defies GOP on debt ceiling (210 comments)

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  •  the platinum coin is a delegated power (9+ / 0-)

    It's authorized by Congress already.

    31 USC § 5112 - Denominations, specifications, and design of coins

    (k) The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time
    Note, this only applies to platinum. All other coins and their values are specified with great detail.
    (b) The half dollar, quarter dollar, and dime coins are clad coins with 3 layers of metal. The 2 identical outer layers are an alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. The inner layer is copper. The outer layers are metallurgically bonded to the inner layer and weigh at least 30 percent of the weight of the coin.... In minting 5-cent coins, the Secretary shall use bars that vary not more than 2.5 percent from the percent of nickel required.... The specifications for alloys are by weight.
    The platinum coin is cheezy, but what other choice does the President have?

    1) He's not authorized to issue new debt ("authorized by law")

    2) He's not authorized to raise taxes.

    3) He's not authorized to spend less than Congress requests.

    What's left? At least the coin is authority that he does have.


    4) Pawn the Official Reagan Portrait to the Federal Reserve for $1 trillion.

    •  I've read that new coins cannot be minted (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, HoundDog

      without Congressional approval of the design of the coin (who's portrayed on the coin, etc.)

      So this doesn't sound like it would work.

      •  that's the statue that I linked (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Williston Barrett

        You should go ahead and skim it. The crazy detail is pretty amusing.

        All coins are strictly regulated.... except platinum, which has an explicit delegation to the Treasury.

        Obama hasn't said what he's planning to do. I'd guess he'll stop payment on non-essential spending, even though he doesn't have that authority.

        •  So this make three scenarios for what might (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, wwjjd, Williston Barrett


          1) Partially shut down the government and run the core operations on the 88% of budget that can be sustained on tax revenues.

          2) Tell Treasury and maybe also the Federal Reserve to continue issuing debt in defiance of the Congressional debt limit, or,

          3) Use PCS coinage to raise deposits in Treasury to continue paying bills with no increase in debt.

          Sorry, I realize this is obvious, I just really like listing and numbering things as if we understand "truth" in such solid ways that we have numbers.  lol

          "And, low be it heard! The President has declared that the number of the options for not negotiating with Congress over the debt-limit shall be 3!"  "And, so 3 shall be the number of the options. And, the advisors shall now go and discuss and evaluate this options and make recommendations!"

          This really makes me feel so happy. I'm serious. I know it makes me look silly, but this has been the source of a week-long depression, that only needed another week to be clinically significant with my history.

          But, not I'm relieved.  We have three perfectly good options any one of which could work fine for me, as long as President Obama choses one and sticks to it without backing down.

          And, this list of three options now makes so many other things make sense, and I always find it depressing if I can't understand things.  But, this would explain why Harry Reid gives such as curiously worded, but non-specific endorsement would it not?  He saying to the president, we have not idea which of these you are thinking about, but we do not care which it is, we will support you in any of these options.

          Nancy Pelosi too, but in a slightly different style that may appear to option 2. But, she also probably means any of the others if he choses. That's why she not flustered by the reporter saying advisors already said he wouldn't do option two, because in back of her mind, she's thinking, no problem, then he must be thinking of 1, or 3.  

          Because if it took us, (me) this long to make a list of three options, when before we thought there were less than three and maybe zero, then it is perfectly plausible to think there might very well be 4, or some unknown additional options we don't even know about yet.

          See, this is why I like making numbered lists of options because we can say, if our list is growing by a new option every hour of discussion, then sampling theory might suggest others may be on there way.

          What a great conversation.  I am really pleased not.  Thanks to everyone who help me advance my understanding and thinking about this.

          So 3 shall be be the current numbers of options. Ha! Most excellent, indeed.


          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:10:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sherlock Holmes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
            Yep, exactly. I like these kinds of lists because they help focus on what you might be missing. Suppose you knew there was a #4, what would it be?

            Good points about Reid and Pelosi: "We don't know how Obama's planning on dealing with it, but whatever it is, we'll support him."

            •  They are really putting themselves way out on a (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ferg, wwjjd

              limb doing this. I hope President Obama appreciate this and give them and the rest of us a clue as to which of these, or whatever else he has in mind. PDQ.

              This is extraordinary loyalty, compared to the alternatives of just standing back and saying "Good luck, I hope that not negotiating thing works out for you."  And the sustaining the New Deal and 23% of existing GDP spending on 18% GDP revenues.  Good luck with that too.

              These are team players going all in to support the leader. He should reciprocate quickly.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:53:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Option 4. The GOP backs down & it gets cleanly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            raised. lol

            •  Good this is the best one yet. In fact this should (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              be our goal!

              Hey, what about this plan.  What if we get some conspicuous liberal bloggers to write out numerous numbered scenarios on the many completely different ways they could find themselves totally destroyed and crushed if they persist in trying to blackmail the American people by taking the full faith and credit of the the US hostage, and cause Social Security recipients, and  soldiers and their dependents to miss checks so they can give their billionaire friends even more outrageous tax break.

              And, we started leaving these around where they could see them and realize what a enormous strategic blunders they are about to make and how much damage to our nation, financial markets, and people they are about to do for a cruel and hopeless lost cause.

              And, we also get Wall Street CEO to call them and send this same message to theme from all directions. Even have some of their leaders like Newt Gingrich spell it out for them.

              And, then extend some reasonable but more moderate compromise ways forward as an alternative so they could save face.

              Where could we find such people wwjjd.  This is a great idea.  

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:01:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lol. You do a great job. I read you just about (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                every day/night. I know looking at this today, trying to figure out what's what has been, wow! I'm with you in wishing the admin would give everybody a few more clues on strategy so we can either get: 1) the messaging out early and consistently; or 2) the pitchforks if we don't like the plan.

    •  This is sort of my line of thinking too. It was (1+ / 0-)
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      not intended for this purpose but if the Congress is so irresponsible as to cut off funding for debts and spending it has already authorized, and the President is required by the 14th amendment to make sure debts and obligations are payed and this is the only option it would seem to be a strong argument and maybe even constitutionally required.

      But, only in an emergency, and only for debt and spending authorized by Congress.  And, probably even under the declaration that as soon as the crisis is resolved the coin will be payed off and destroyed.

      One writer this morning proposed that after this crisis evolves President Obama offer the resolution that he would trade the right for the Executive branch to use PCS coinage in the future, in return for the Congress to agree to give up the right to unilaterally use the debt ceiling to freeze payments on debts and spending obligations already incurred.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:31:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's hard to argue that's what (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, SoCalSal, FG

      Congress meant when they included that section in that law.  It was clearly meant to apply to commemorative type coins.  

      So, you might actually have a court challenge over whether Congress in that act actually gave the Secretary of the Treasury unilateral authority to mint a single coin to circumvent Congress' unilateral authority to borrow money under Article I, section 8.

      •  If Obama goes the $ Trillion Coin route (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, 2dot, Yamara

        can he have the Mint put Reagan on it? After all, it was Reagan who really got us going on deficit spending to begin with.

        Plus, it might make the Republicans feel all warm and happy inside.

        Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

        by bear83 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:45:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  sure, but what can he do? (0+ / 0-)

        Pick one.

        All the options, including doing nothing, are beyond his legal authority.

        He has to pick something he's not allowed to do.

        When it's the Constitution vs math, math wins.

        •  Well, here's where there is some disagreement (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, FG
          He has to pick something he's not allowed to do.
          I'm not sure that the country agrees that the President can do things he's constitutionally not allowed to do if he thinks those things are good for the country.
          •  it's about math, not "good for the country" (0+ / 0-)

            Read my list again. What happens when the debt limit is hit in March? What can the President legally do?

            •  ferg - pay about 2//3rds of the bills (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk, nextstep, ferg

              starting with interest on the debt and prioritizing the rest. Maturing Treasury securities can be rolled over because that doesn't increase the net debt limit. The President's team would have to negotiate with people we owe money to on the late fees, just like thousands of other organizations that are short of cash. Some legal experts opine that SocSec, because it has its own funding source, would not be impacted.

              In any event the US will not default on the interest or principle of its notes and bonds. It will never happen.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:59:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, that's what he's most likely to do (0+ / 0-)

                but my understanding is that he'd be exceeding his Constitutional authority if he does that.

                •  ferg - why? (0+ / 0-)

                  It makes no sense to stop paying all the bills when you have the cash to pay some of them.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:09:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  He doesn't have the authority, as I understand (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Like the line-item veto, which was unconstitutional, the President can't pick and choose what to fund. (Clinton vs New York, Impoundment Control Act 1974, Train vs City of New York).

                    Although, after Googling, it looks like Presidents did have that power ("Impoundment of Appropriated Funds) before Nixon abused it, and it was rule unconstitutional. So maybe it would be allowed in this scenario.

                    Title X of the law, also known as the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both the Senate and the House of Representatives have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation. Congress is not required to vote on such a proposal and has ignored most Presidential requests.[4] In response, some have called for a line item veto to strengthen the rescission power and force Congress to vote on the disputed funds. The Act was passed in response to Congressional feelings that President Nixon was abusing his ability to impound the funding of programs he opposed, and effectively removed the historical Presidential power of impoundment.
            •  Legally and constituionally, not much (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, ferg

              it seems to me.  Congress is the one that  has the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, not the President.  

              If Congress does not authorize more debt, it seems to me that constitutionally, the President is not empowered to do much except point out what he thinks of what Congress is doing.  Congress then lives with the consequences of what Congress did, or failed to do.  

          •  But the PCS coinage is legal, and he is required (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

            by the constitution to pay the debts and spending already authorized by congress.

            His argument would be that it is unconstitutional, invalid, and inappropriate for Congress to try to abrogate the responsibilities, legal obligations, and constitutional powers of the Executive branch, by imposing misuse the debt-ceiling law on debt and spending they have already authorized.

            Additionally, it would be a separation of powers violation that the SCOTUS shouldn't get involved in.  The only recourse for Congress would be impeachment, which the Senate will not approve -- so case closed. And, it never even gets heard if the President invoke this argument and sticks to it.

            Then in a brilliant stroke of constitutional genius he proposes a "grand resolution" of this constitutional crisis by suggesting that the Congress and President cooperate with new laws changing the debt-limit law to that strange change of default the President proposed last month which seemed absurdly improbable at the time, but now makes sense, that the Congress could propose a debt ceiling but if he vetoed it they need a 2/3 majority to override.

            In return he would cooperate in changing the PCS coinage to put limits on its use for this purpose.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:34:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And it wouldn't be a matter of the President (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          taking actions that would be unconstitutional if the trillion dollar coin thing happened.  It would be the Secretary of the Treasury taking action contrary to law, if the law was not intended to give the Secretary the authority to do what the Secretary is doing.  

          •  Not contrary to law. Contrary to your opinion. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Construing the law would be a question of fact that could be argued either way.
            However the 14th amendment is more clear.
            It would be easy to argue that Congress would be acting unconstitutionally if its actions or inaction calls the debt of the United States into question.

            To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

            by Bluehawk on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:32:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The former head of the US Mint opined today that (5+ / 0-)

        he thinks it's "perfectly legal" to use for this.

        He added: "One of the ironies in this story is that a GOP Congress passed the legislation over the objections of a Democratic Treasury, and now, today, Treasury may well be in a position to use the law as leverage to neutralize the GOP's threat to hold the debt limit hostage."
        •  One can argue that it is not only legal but it is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wwjjd, Bluehawk

          constitutionally required by the 14th amendment to requiring that all legal means be used to pay the debts and obligations of the U.S. government.  They House has already exercised its constitutional role authorizing it.

          Any law that would impede this legal and legally required functions, such as trying to over-extend the debt-limit law in violation of the separation of powers would be unconstitutional.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:39:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  True. It was clearly meant to be used for (0+ / 0-)

        commemorative coins. But, they put no limits on it.  In worse case they could make them just a $billion each and make a 1,000 of them and advertise in coin magazines and late night TV to make sure its clear they are real commemorative coins.

        I don't think it would be the first time laws end up getting used in innovative ways, not originally imagined.

        Just as an example, apparently the way the Federal government  justified drug laws such as the Harrison Act, was to invoke the Commerce Clause saying because it is possible for drugs to be sold across state lines the federal government could tax it. So technically when drug pushers are arrested and sent to prison it is for selling drugs without a special tax stamp.

        And, they have been able to even arrest those who grow marijuana in their back yard for private use, because it is conceivable that that dope could have been sold.

        Under the same logic we could probably make masturbation illegal under the premise that you could have paid for it, which would be illegal prostitution.

        So, I don't see how original intent would necessarily be an impediment.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:25:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Who would have standing to challenge in court? eom (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

        by Ian S on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:13:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  this is how i see it too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, HoundDog, TheDuckManCometh

      The President's job is to see that the laws are followed and enforced; if the laws seem inconsistent, the president is supposed to figure out a way to interpret and implement all the laws (or as many of them as possible) so that they are not in conflict. If the debt ceiling becomes a binding constraint and the laws requiring the government to do things that cost money (or to transfer money to those in need, or contractors) cannot be followed, then the President needs to figure out what to do. The Treasury cannot issue more debt, because the Congress has the power to prevent this through the debt ceiling.  Yet the spending has been authorized and appropriated by Congress.  Unless the Treasury coins its own money, the laws requiring the government to do things that cost money (or to transfer money to those in need, or contractors) cannot be followed. So the president has to tell the Treasury to coin its own money. There is no other lawful option.

      •  Agreed, nieman. I think you just articulated the (0+ / 0-)

        winning argument. Compelling in its simplicity, and bolstered by the violation of the separation of powers, undermining the foundation for the application of the debt limit compared to the President's 14th amendment obligation to pursue every legal means to pay the existing debt and spending obligations already authorized by Congress.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:42:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have the Fed front Rick Harrison a $Trillion (0+ / 0-)

      (outta their secret Magic Window, y'know)...then the POTUS can pawn that Reagan portrait in Las Vegas for your $trillion, deposit it in the Treasury, and redeem it later!

      Thanks ferg for an elegant option #4!

    •  Put W's portrait on the coin (0+ / 0-)

      He's the one who created this mess in the first place.

      And a Gadsden flag on the reverse, just to fuck with the teabaggers...

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