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President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Oval Office, Aug. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news or
If Republicans force President Obama to choose between default and the trillion dollar coin option, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) is implicitly conceding the trillion dollar coin is perfectly viable
It's looking more and more likely that congressional Republicans aren't actually serious about blocking an increase the debt ceiling, a move that could push us into default. But if they have a change of heart and decide to push us to the brink, one of President Obama's best options for mitigating the fallout just got an unlikely boost from none other than Oregon's Congressman Greg Walden, who serves in the House Republican leadership.

Walden, it turns out, has written legislation that would bar the executive branch from minting coins of any denomination. That would include the much-talked-about trillion dollar coin, which would allow the U.S. government to continue to meet its obligation in the event Congress refuses to raise the debt limit. And, as Joe Weisenthal points out, by introducing legislation to ban such a maneuver, Walden is implicitly acknowledging that under current law, the trillion dollar coin is a perfectly legal and workable way to get around the debt limit.

I'll admit that the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin is completely absurd. But it's a heck of a lot less absurd than allowing Republicans to tank the national and global economy over a budget fight. And while it may sound like it gives the president power he shouldn't have, remember that it wouldn't allow any money to be spent that hadn't already been authorized by Congress. It simply would allow the United States to make good on its debt obligations. Moreover, as soon as a rational Congress were returned to power, the coin could be "repurchased" along with an increase in (or repeal of) the debt limit.

Personally, I don't think it'll ever come to this. If Republicans were actually serious about doing something this reckless, their financial backers would only need to convince about 20 of them to join with Democrats in raising the debt limit. But it's nice to know that even if Republicans do head down that path, there's nothing to fear, because as even Greg Walden concedes, nothing can stop President Obama from minting that coin.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:46 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I find your "completely absurd" (5+ / 0-)

    phrase to be "completely absurd."

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:49:36 PM PST

    •  completely absurd (19+ / 0-)

      is having the power to pass laws that require funding but also to have the power to refuse funding.  There should not be a debt limit at all - the limit is entirely up to congress in how they choose between revenue and spending programs.

      •  There will be no default anyway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        Shutdown, if it comes to honoring the "debt ceiling," but not default.

        I keep flogging this because everyone politics and the press keeps repeating it, from the President to Jed above. But the USA will not default on its debts.

        Plus, as argued below, because spending laws were passed after the debt ceiling last passed, they are in direct conflict (by the sophisticated legal theory that "money doesn't grow on trees"), so the newer law should supersede and invalidate the old one.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:04:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seems to me that refusing to raise (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vote4Obamain2012, Mark Mywurtz

          the debt ceiling would be announcing the USA's intention to default on its debts, but I'm willing to listen.

          On what legal basis to you conclude that "the USA will not default on its debts"?

          BTW this whole 100 or so year long lark where Congress gets to vote on whether or not it will let the Administrative Branch pay the bills that Congress incurred thing is TOTALLY unconstitutional.

          It violates the separation of powers clause. It also clearly violates Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment which states, at its outset, that "[T]he validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including [but not limited to] debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

          The Constitution clearly says that Congress gets one whack at spending. It can vote to authorize expenditures or not, but it cannot change its mind AFTER it has authorized the creation of debt.

    •  Arithmetic is not absurd (12+ / 0-)

      See, a budget has been passed and signed and is law.
      That budget mandates certain spending.
      That budget mandates certain revenues.
      The difference is called the deficit, and must be borrowed. Note the imperative.
      When you mandate spending X, and receiving Y, you absolutely positively in every imaginable way have mandated borrowing X-Y. That's arithmetic, not law.
      The debt ceiling was conceived during WWI prior to the development of the annual budget. It has outlived any legal purpose it ever served.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:06:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which has nothing to do with the coin (6+ / 0-)

        stupidity.  No one is minting a trillion dollar coin.  And writing a law that makes it clear that congress didn't intend for the previous law to give the president the power to mint a trillion dollar coin is not an admission that the president has that power, it's a clarification that he does not.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:29:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. Worst diary I've seen Jed write. (5+ / 0-)

          And I'm a big fan! :-)

          The 'trillion dollar coin' is not a desirable option and it will not be used.

          We're wasting time discussing it.

          Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

          by Sharon Wraight on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:36:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Minting the $1T coin forces the issue into the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Bonsai66, betelgeux

          courts ... which may not be the right place to resolve this, as the SCOTUS is no longer trustworthy.

          Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

          by blue aardvark on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:51:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          Introducing legislation to close a loophole is a tacit admission that the loophole is legally valid, or that its validity is at least questionable.  Otherwise, the proposed law would be completely unnecessary.

          The Constitution is pretty clear that Congress has the power to pass bills that authorize spending and raise revenue, and that the president is obligated to execute them once they're signed into law, and that the validity of the public debt shall not be questioned.

          The debt limit is therefore inherently unconstitutional -- Congress cannot pass a series of contradictory laws that the president cannot possibly execute.  When Congress approves spending that is certain to exceed available revenues, they are obligating the president to borrow that money so that the validity of the public debt is not questioned.

          However, there is no prohibition on the Treasury Department minting a trillion dollar coin.  This appears to be completely constitutional and in accordance with current law.  If anyone is considering further (unconstitutional) legislation to prevent the trillion dollar coin, then they are admitting that the trillion dollar coin is a legal option.

          •  No, it isn't a tacit admission of anything (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shane Hensinger, Bonsai66

            except that there is some ambiguity in a law.  If the interpretation of laws was only a matter of the letter of the law then you would be right, but that isn't how it works.

            However, there is no prohibition on the Treasury Department minting a trillion dollar coin.
            There are numerous prohibitions on the Treasury minting a trillion dollar coin.  In fact there is a small bit of ambiguity in a bill that was passed to allow the treasury to mint collectible coins that makes it allowable under the letter of the law, but the letter of the law is not the only thing the court looks at.  The Treasury is explicitly barred from minting a copper coin, or a gold coin, or any other kind of coin that's a trillion dollars, and they are implicitly barred from doing the same with a platinum coin.
            This appears to be completely constitutional and in accordance with current law.  If anyone is considering further (unconstitutional) legislation to prevent the trillion dollar coin, then they are admitting that the trillion dollar coin is a legal option.
            If you think that this legislation would be unconstitutional then you clearly don't know what you're talking about, nor do you understand what law supposedly makes it legal to mint a trillion dollar platinum(and only platinum) coin.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:30:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not buying your assertion here. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            You said that "Introducing legislation to close a loophole is a tacit admission that the loophole is legally valid."

            Which, by inference, means that because some nut-job introduced legislation banning the introduction of Sharia Law, there was some admission that their paranoia is somehow "legally valid."

            OTOH the Constitution is pretty clear that the Administrative Branch is in control of coinage and based on precedent outside the Constitution, the Fed is an independent actor.  That being the case passing legislation, even in the unlikely event that the president would sign such a law, will not change the Constitution and would, therefore, be un-constitutional.

      •  I'd also add that I agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark

        on the ceiling being a sham.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:38:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It IS completely absurd. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Mywurtz, AoT

      Also letting Congress vote on whether or not to actually pay the bills they voted to incur is also completely unconstitutional.

      But the rightist do not much care for the Constitution and what it says. Like abortion rights and deficit spending they talk a lot about it to keep the rubes voting for them, but they never do anything, even when they've had the power to do so.

  •  Excellent point (15+ / 0-)

    There's no reason to introduce a law outlawing something if its already illegal.  

  •  It looking more and more like the Repukes (12+ / 0-)

    are losing their interest in not raising the debt limit. Possibly their benefactors have something to do with that.

    •  They are beginning to lose interest because it's a (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, ferg, HappyinNM, notanoldlady, millwood

      sure loser for them.
         They're already looking incompetent, and their brand-name has taken some big hits in the past year or so.
         This one might just border on political party suicide.

         They may need to use the common wisdom of picking their battles more carefully.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:13:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno - they're pretty crazy. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Mywurtz, cybersaur

        I think that making an prognostications about what they might or might not do at this juncture is very premature.

        Especially, since McConnell was not willing to say that they would not go there.  He totally dodged that question even after being asked repeatedly - and I don't think that was a negotiation strategy or a scare tactic - I think that was the crazy not talking.

        •  McConnell does not control the House. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior

          And all Boney and the Ts have to do is not permit a debt limit lift to come to the floor. The problem with this no platinum coins bill, of course, is that it would have to get through the Senate and the WH, and there is probably no chance of that while this debt limit issue is hanging about.

          And it does not help the Rs that they are now going on TV and rattling about how a good shutdown would be good for their plans, before there is any claim that they are at a stalemate where such a desperate measure might be justified. They're suggesting it only because they want to do it and it shows their recklessness, the kind they want to be soothed by bribes that show their power.

          •  No duh. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DRo

            But McConnell is a part of the Republican Leadership and in the last round ended up being the most relevant player on their side.

            In any case, they are crazy and I do not think that just because they are pretending to "maybe" not be interested in pushing absolutely every button they can, is any indication of what they really will do, ultimately.

            The odds that they turn out to be Lucy with the football again are just too high.

        •  McConnell is a special case because he's up (0+ / 0-)

          for re-election in 2014. He probably doesn't want to say anything definitive until he's sure which way the wind is blowing.

  •  It's Not Like Just Printing Money (16+ / 0-)

    and airdropping it. The economy won't get any currency added to what's already cooked in by budget, contract, or earned benefit. No inflation.

    The President won't be overstepping his authority, either legally or morally. He will simply be paying bills already accrued by the Congress, when not doing so would bring financial chaos. No illegality or strong arm.

    I don't find it absurd at all. Especially when compared to the absurdity of stiffing our creditors out of misguided ideology -- and suffering the consequences.

    “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

    by chuco35 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:02:24 PM PST

  •  A couple of questions about this "coin" (5+ / 0-)

    First, everyone talks about the thing being made of platinum, but it could just as easily be made of aluminum or plastic, right?  The value is whatever they decide to print on the thing, like a penny or a dollar.

    If he can mint a $1T coin, he could just as easily mint a $5T coin to head this off for the next 4 years or so?

    What happens to the coin when the debt is paid off?  Does it still retain any value or could be it thrown like a doubloon in a Mardi Gras parade?

    I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

    by Hey338Too on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:16:37 PM PST

  •  This is such a stupid, reckless idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    You think traders are going to take this seriously? It's a political stunt which makes a mockery of the full faith and credit of the United States.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:17:55 PM PST

    •  As opposed to...? (10+ / 0-)

      Hitting the debt ceiling and not fulfuilling the full faith and credit clause altogether?

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:21:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shane Hensinger

        The platinum coin idea is far, far worse than the consequences you describe.

        I cannot stress how dumb of an idea this platinum coin scheme is. There are so many things wrong with it I cannot even begin.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:34:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why not try listing one? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          I've seen plenty of prominent economists recommend doing it.

          Lincoln did basically the same thing during the civil war

          •  Re (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shane Hensinger, Mark Mywurtz

            First, it is a naked attempt to circumvent the duly elected House's authority by the President.

            All counters to this argument are of one of two varieties:

            (A) The President is technically allowed to do this because of a law intended to allow him to mint commemorative coins. (Stupid, almost demonstrably false, and even if true is still an unprecedented arrogation of power to the President, something we need now like we need a hole in our heads).

            (B) The Republicans are so intransigent and are going to crash the economy so we're forced to do this. (Not an acceptable reason: the country elected the Republicans to the House knowing that it was likely they were going to do something like this based on past behavior.)

            This idea is just another step toward anything-goes ends-justify-the-means banana republicanism. People around here would be going nuts if GWB had tried an equivalently crazy policy to support Republican policy goals, and with good reason.

            The President has no business circumventing the House on issues that it is the House's explicit responsibility. He must simply make the case to the country why they are wrong and fight them as best he can using the standard tools that have always been available to the President. No need to invent weird new powers for him.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:13:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We've never been here before (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bartcopfan

              If we reach the debt ceiling and all of the available workarounds are played out, then we have three choices:

              1) Mint the coin. Yes, it's a loophole in the law. Yes, it sucks. Yes, the President might be blamed if he does it (actually, that's not in doubt - Republicans would blame him if the cafeteria soup got cold...)

              2) Use the budget as the prevailing guideline, per another diary up recently on dKos. I personally like this idea and think it has some legal merit. Why issue a spending mandate if you don't mean for the government to spend it?

              3) Let the country default on its debts. This you propose is better than option (1), and if I'm reading you right, better than option (2). It's also directly against the 14th Amendment's debt commandment.

              There are no other choices that I've seen. Two legalistic wranglings and just saying "fuck it" to the country and its constitution - that's it, and I'll take one of the wranglings over the latter, thanks.

              Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

              by Phoenix Rising on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:47:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Wait, what? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      furi kuri
      It's a political stunt which makes a mockery of the full faith and credit of the United States.
      Are you referring to political brinksmanship with the debt ceiling?  If so, I totally agree with you.

      28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:24:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To both the political brinkmanship (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        and those who think "platinum coin" idea is so fabulous. We'll see how fabulous it is when Social Security payments stop and service people don't get their checks.

        "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

        by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:27:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Since when do traders, or anyone with any sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      for that matter, think that it is a political stunt, stupid, or reckless, to pay your bills when they come due -- especially when you have the means to do so?

      “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

      by chuco35 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:28:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since they trade US bonds which finance US debt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        being that, you know - we're a sovereign currency issuer. That's "since when do traders matter."

        People are in la-la land if they think it just doesn't matter.

        "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

        by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:30:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please re-read. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shane Hensinger, DRo, cybersaur

          I did not say traders did not matter. I stated that traders will breath a sigh of relief to learn that the US will pay its debts when due, and in accord with meeting the obligations of its sovereign full faith and credit, whether done through normal means or with a platinum coin.

          The key here is the US not becoming a goldbrick. That's what will freak out the traders -- not the platinum coin.

          “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

          by chuco35 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:38:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree - corrected (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            You didn't say they don't matter. Sorry for saying you did.

            However I disagree that the platinum coin is going to take the place of solving the issues which confront us in this country in the minds of traders. This is all about political risk analysis now.

            "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

            by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:43:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bond traders... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shane Hensinger

              ...are more powerful than the President and Congress both.

              Bond traders can simply cease lending the US money if they choose to do so.

              In that scenario, the President and Congress will be powerless to do anything about it.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:12:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh there's always someone to lend money (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                if at exorbitant rates. Or you can simply do what Argentina did and steal foreign currency accounts to finance your profligacy - that's worked out very well for them, hasn't it?

                "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

                by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:29:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh please (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cybersaur

                1.  That won't happen

                2.  The US can print money without issuing debt if it chooses.

                Read some history.  It's been done before.  

                •  "It's been done before" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Shane Hensinger

                  Is an absolutely poor excuse for running a risk, an excuse that has destroyed two space shuttles, sank the Titanic, etc etc.

                  Just because you've taken stupid and reckless risks before and they seemed to pan out doesn't make it a good idea to do it again.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:16:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As opposed to the status quo? (0+ / 0-)

                    What's so stupid and reckless about it?

                    Are you just upset about the president circumventing congress?  (I can see some legit arguments there)

                    Or are you upset about issuing currency outside of the current debt backed currency system?  A system that has helped destroy the finances of a large part of the western world over the last 30-40 years

                    •  That is certainly the main reason (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Shane Hensinger, nextstep

                      However, it is also gimmicky and silly and just not seemly in a nation like ours. If we do this we will lose a lot of credibility and it will have uncertain economic effects at best. People who "assure" us there will be no inflation or any other negative effect have no idea at all.

                      My view: this war should be waged with the same tools that have always been used. If they aren't enough, they aren't enough and the country suffers. Maybe we can blame the Republicans. But using gimmicks to circumvent Congress is never the correct approach.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:36:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  It was tried before in Zimbabwe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  to great effect.

                  "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

                  by Shane Hensinger on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:37:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  The coin defuses the issue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bartcopfan

          Once the trillion dollar coin is deposited in the Federal Reserve, the government will be able to meet its obligations without technically exceeding the debt limit.

          At that point, the idea of a debt limit "deal" becomes moot, and Congress would do well to quietly pass legislation that gives the president power to unilaterally raise the debt limit, with Congress able to block this measure with a two-thirds supermajority.

          Traders will breathe a sigh of relief that the era of government by hostage crisis has ended, and that there will be zero risk of the United States entering default for the foreseeable future.

    •  It's fine (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, psyched, Capt Morgan

      It's basically an indication that sovereign fiat money is working in exactly the way it always.  

      This whole notion that we must borrow to spend our own currency is really the absurd part of all of this.

      It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~~ Douglas Adams

      by Remillard on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:29:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If only the GOP were honorable. By not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    acknowledging the spending cuts and savings that have lead to progress on the deficit reduction effort and their part in making it an issue in the first place, their words and actions are without merit.

  •  It was a GOP Congress that delegated this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Rising, DRo, OleHippieChick

    BROAD DISCRETION to the Executive branch. Go look at 31 USC § 5112. It clearly spells out denominations, inscriptions, etc. on everything including gold and silver coins, but then you get down to section (k) it says:

    (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.
    That's incredibly broad discretion delegated from the Legislative Branch to the Executive branch.

    Especially when you keep in mind, every coin struck by the United States Mint is Legal Tender for all debts both public and private.

  •  But... but... (0+ / 0-)

    INFLATION!

    (Also known as: the only thing libertarians give a shit about.)

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:27:25 PM PST

  •  yeah but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, cybersaur, bartcopfan

    will the soda machine at work accept it so I can get a Pepsi?

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:27:29 PM PST

  •  I disagree with this (0+ / 0-)
    But it's a heck of a lot less absurd than allowing Republicans to tank the national and global economy over a budget fight.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with a legitimate budget fight. The problem is that the economy is being held hostage over their easily disprovable fantasy on tax policy, not legitimate budget issues.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:28:52 PM PST

  •  Obama will never circumvent the debt ceiling... (0+ / 0-)

    because then he couldn’t use it as the excuse to give in to Republican hostage takers’ demands.

    Talk about kllling the goose….

  •  Questions about the $1 trillion coin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rwsab

    Who goes on the obverse? Grover Cleveland, perhaps?

    What happens if it gets lost in the couch cushions?  Perhaps POTUS should take a look at the monetary customs of Yap, just in case.

    Also, how many diet sodas will this coin buy from your average vending machine?  

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:29:18 PM PST

    •  Put Reagan on the "heads" side (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bmcphail, bartcopfan

      Put an inscription of the Boston Tea Party on the "tails" side.

      (eg)

    •  Put Boehner on it... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      and plate it in shiny bronze, so it looks just like him. 8^)

    •  Let's put the 22nd Pres on one side, 24th on other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GeoffT

      Both of whom happen to be Grover Cleveland!

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:04:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Put Obama on it. (0+ / 0-)

      Highest denomination coin evah!
      Actually, this idea is going nowhere. It's only utility is that it can appear to be an alternative to negotiating with Hostage Takers. Obama doesn't have to support it or even mention it, as long as it is "taken seriously" by "Serious People", it provides at least the illusion of another way out of the box that doesn't depend on the House of Representatives.
      From the Hostage Takers standpoint, they lose their advantage if Obama can get around them.
      There was an interview I read with a Police Hostage Negotiator (maybe @ Maddow), asking about the negotiation strategy for this specific hostage situation and his point was that the Hostage Taker has to be made to understand that he doesn't hold the cards, that the people outside have options he can't control.
      The Coin would function in that role.
      After everyone stops giggling.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:48:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing to fear? (0+ / 0-)

    I know what you mean, but really ...

    Just because the GOP House "won't really" let us default, Obama will 'nip it in the bud' with his Barney-Fife like negotiating toughness.

    So there's plenty to fear: on SS, Medicare, Medicaid etc. etc.

  •  Lots of Things Obama Will Never Do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ky DEM, bartcopfan

    He could invoke the 14th Amendment or do the coin.  But he will never do any of those because he doesn't want to upset people.  Which is why he is a horrible negotiator.

    President Obama needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:31:47 PM PST

  •  An Accounting Entry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, Capt Morgan

    It should be noted that there's absolutely no reason to "repurchase" this coin either.  We're talking about something that is essentially an accounting entry.  If it's not repurchased, it's not like it's going anywhere.  

    The ability to print our own sovereign currency has no actual mathematical limit.  There are things we should be aware of (pursuing full employment, then regulating money supply, etc) but aside from that, it's basically just an accounting entry that substantially demonstrates the point that we can print our own money (which should have been patently obvious from the start, but I guess you don't need a macroeconomics course to run for Congress.)

    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~~ Douglas Adams

    by Remillard on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:32:43 PM PST

  •  I gotta see the vending machine it'll fit in! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Three thoughts come to mind... beyond (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, OleHippieChick, bartcopfan

    wondering if the soda machine at the office will accept the coin....

    1. Acknowledging the President could mint the coin completely undermines the GOP position on the debt limit and renders it null and void

    2. Minting such a coin is absurd

    3. The President should simply say "No" and end the discussion if the Republicans in any way shape or form attempts to use the debt ceiling in negotiation.

    Regardless of 1 and 2 I personally think 3 is the answer and that the President should say "I expect a bill raising or eliminating the debt limit on my desk before the nation defaults" and not discuss even one more word with the Republicans until it does show up ready for his signature.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:36:05 PM PST

  •  I Wish We Could Get Past The "Absurd" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, OleHippieChick, cybersaur, bartcopfan

    Bullshit. After putting up with McConnell and Boehner and the psychotics running the GOP, nothing Democrats do is absurd. Print the coins, abolish the filibuster 100%, and tell them to kiss our asses.

    Abolish The Filibuster Now!

    by Ky DEM on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:36:47 PM PST

    •  True... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, cybersaur, bartcopfan

      When a lunatic is holding a gun to your head, and you have an unorthodox way to disarm the lunatic, it doesn't seem so absurd.

      If Obama does it, I suspect it would be a last-ditch effort if the Republicans just stonewall.  But I am also guessing that the business community won't be happy with the Republicans playing these sorts of games, and they might force them to back down and stop screwing around.

    •  I know! We're so polite. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd like to see some ruthlessness plz.

      I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
      NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
      Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

      by OleHippieChick on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:33:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can we put William Henry Harrison on it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, bmcphail, Russycle

    I know it's a completely trivial side issue - but, man, he only got to be President for a month. Give him something.

    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

    by Jaxpagan on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:37:39 PM PST

  •  If they do mint a trillion dollar coin.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Walt starr

    Maybe they should put Reagan's face on the thing...

  •  Want to scare the crap out of the Repubs even more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    Sign the petition on the WhiteHouse.gov site asking that Obama mint the $1 Trillion coin.

    Spread the word.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:39:48 PM PST

  •  Absurd? Please explain? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Alice Marshall

    You wrote "I'll admit that the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin is completely absurd." Why if legal is it absurd?  Itr is a too even if an unintentional one  that could help us   solve some issues here in our country. After all when you think about it money is an artificial measurement of value so it is no less absurd as a titanium coin.. I say print enough of htem to bankroll a WPS 4.0 plan also.

    "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

    by hangingchad on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:40:59 PM PST

  •  Nothing can stop Obama from minting (0+ / 0-)

    that coin, except Obama's refusal to mint that coin.

    He has ruled out the 14th Amendment option, and likely will reject the $TDC as well.

    We have seen throughout this presidency that it furthers Obama's economic agenda to "have to" compromise with his austerity hawk bedfellows on the right.

    Wear it proud. Wear it loud. Outlaw concealed carry. That gun hidden under your coat won't deter shit.

    by WisePiper on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:46:34 PM PST

  •  Obama hasn't got the brass balls (0+ / 0-)

    to play the platinum coin card anyway, so it's all just grandstanding.  

    The 1 percent doesn’t vote against their self-interest. Why should the 99 percent? -- Joan Vennochi

    by Martin Gale on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:51:15 PM PST

  •  If i put a $1 trillon coin in the soda machine, (0+ / 0-)

    will my change come back in $1 million coins or $1 billion coins??

    "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around..."

    by cgvjelly on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:54:48 PM PST

  •  What is absurd is allowing the R's to violate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    their oath of office to protect & defend the Constitution. Art. 4 of the 14th Amendment was specifically written to prohibit a refusal to pay our debts. Unfortunately it provides no remedy when they do it.
    The PCS is a legal method for PBO to deal with a possible default. And BTW it appears to be the only legal way for him to keep paying the bills if the R's don't increase the debt limit.
    It could also become the mechanism for resolving once and for all Platinum Coin
    For a substantive discussion go here.

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 02:57:23 PM PST

    •  I agree. They should be . . . (0+ / 0-)

         impeached. Unfortunately there's this:
          Article 1 Section 2: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

  •  We will give the trillion-dollar coin to America's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enemy of the people

    wealthiest and therefore most trustworthy citizen for transport.

    I'm sure nothing could go wrong.

  •  Wait - what? (0+ / 0-)
    Walden, it turns out, has written legislation that would bar the executive branch from minting coins of any denomination.
    So, if the treasury won't be minting coins anymore, who will? Congress? The Supreme court?

    Or are we going to privatize the mints? Because that would just be awesome. Maybe we could allow advertising! Say, replace Thomas Jefferson with the McRib.

  •  Ive never seen a trillion dollar coin let's do it! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, cybersaur

    I'll bet Mitt doesn't own one. This will make the 1% break into hives.

  •  Between "completely absurd" and "less absurd", (0+ / 0-)

    ... There is a lot of space, and other options.

    Thank goodness! Let the GOP House pass a bill outlawing that absurd coinage notion, thereby foreclosing a dumb idea. One more thing the President can't do to ... rein in Congress!

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:06:37 PM PST

  •  It's a separation of powers issue . . . (0+ / 0-)

       Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3: [The Congress shall have the Power] To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.
        The president can only borrow what the congress authorizes via the debt limit. These gimmicks will only make us look as batshit crazy as the T-baggers. If they insist on not honoring their own laws, let them own whatever happens.
        Incidentally, the debt limit law was passed in 1917 to allow the president more flexibility in prosecuting WW I. Prior to that congress authorized each individual debt instrument.

    •  Sorry. Clause 2. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Please read Art. 4 of the 14th Amendment. (0+ / 0-)

        Or, better yet, some background on it.
        The PCS is legal. The Debt Limit is not.

        Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

        by chuck utzman on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:12:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  14th was passed to address civil war issues . . . (0+ / 0-)

              Basically telling the former confederate states how the cow ate the cabbage. I don't see it has any particular relevance today. Why would congress propose an amendment to limit their own power? That would probably be unconstitutional in itself.
               However, the 14th approach would  probably work due to the difficulty of challenging it. But do we really want to look as batshit crazy as them?

          •  Do yourself a favor and read the background on (0+ / 0-)

            Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

            by chuck utzman on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:02:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's his opinion . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't find the language in the 14th to address the current situation. It's too wrapped up in their present circumstances. Badly written. Too wobbly. Political, not existential. Hardly worthy of the founders efforts. But if BO wants to use it (he won't) it would probably work. But we would look batshit crazy. Congress holds the purse strings. Everybody knows that.

  •  how about 1000 billion-dollar coins? (0+ / 0-)

    easier to make change.

  •  Mint a Trillion Dollar Coin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shane Hensinger

    And watch the Democratic party become a worldwide joke for eternity.  

    The idea is so stupid, I'd call it "not even wrong".  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:31:17 PM PST

  •  Obama should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    Obama should have a couple made up and threaten to use it during his State of the Union Address, stating he will use it unless the debt limit is done away with.  He should state that it is no more absurd to use the coin than to have a debt limit.

    One should have Reagan on it, one should have Obama on it.  Both should annoy the Repubs to no end.

  •  Minting the coin is no more absurd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bartcopfan

    Than the current debt-backed currency system.

    Seriously.... even here, people are wedded to the status quo

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