The "platinum coin" idea now being seriously considered as a surrealistic alternative to the choice of default or surrender to the GOP crazies, in the event that Congressional Republicans block an increase in the debt limit, was not born on Daily Kos.
No, it would be better to say that Daily Kos was its incubator -- but that it's parents are longtime members here. So when we're fighting back against absurd posturing with a technical way of getting around absurd posturing, let's not forget that Daily Kos should take a bow -- and that Kosters letsgetitdone and beowulf, among others, should be considered freaking national heroes if this works.
Time for a little history. Join me below the dark cloud that hovers over John Boehner's head.
I'm pleased to have written the first diary that, so far as I could tell, tossed the "platinum coin idea" -- initially known as "Jumbo Coin Seigniorage" and as "Proof Platinum Coin Seigniorage," or PPCS -- from the land of diaries with a few dozen recs to the stratum of ones in the several hundreds. That July 30, 2011 diary, Cut the Gordian Knot with the Platinum Sword, contains the history of how and where and when and why the PPCS idea developed, as well as the text of the legislation. I'm not going to repeat it all here (unless people ask me, I suppose); I'm just going to suggest that you click that link and check it out. (In the comments, you'll also see the debate between those who wanted to honor the then-recently departed Betty Ford with her picture on "the Platinum Betty" and those who wanted to "honor" Ronald Reagan by coining "the Trillion-Dollar Gipper." I'm sure that you can guess who won that one.) For those who want deeper background, my earlier diary includes a list all 24 diaries preceding it on the topic, with links to a couple. (You can find the others through a search.) The argument starts off solid, but you'll see the defense of it get better over time. By a year and a half ago, it was a solid and mature, even if somewhat hallucinatory, proposal.
I've been sort of scarce here recently, but I understand that there was a kerfuffle recently about whether DKos is a waste of time. No, it isn't. Daily Kos is both a marketplace of ideas and perhaps the best leftward equivalent of the conservative Mighty Wurlitzer that there is. The platinum coin idea would not exist without letsgetitdone, who toiled here for seven months (being called names befitting a mad scientist) before it started to catch on. Would it have been popularized without Daily Kos? Maybe -- but probably not as readily and maybe not at all. Would it have been questioned, put through a gantlet, allowing them to improve their arguments? It's hard to imagine where.
I think that if the Republicans don't back off Obama may actually use this escape hatch this year to fight the fire of nihilistic destruction with the fire of fortuitous technicalities. Obama's main alternative is a constitutional analysis of the sort that Armando has argued here (that the 14th Amendment permits the power to ignore the debt limit if its really a last resort); I'm still not giving up on the argument that the 27th Amendment makes clear that appropriations entail a grant of executive spending authority. (It's an abstruse argument and I'm not sure I recommend reading it, but there it is!)
Daily Kos has had its successes before this, if it happens at all, but this will surely be among the biggest. To me, it answers any challenge about the value of the site. You're here to sift the good information, ideas, approaches, etc. from the not so good -- and then amplify the good ones to each other and to the outside world.
It's not that hard in theory -- but it's a lot of work in practice. It's worthwhile, though -- this is work that could barely be imagined before the Internet, yet here we are doing it.
We're not spending new money with this; we're honoring the debts to which we agreed.
An appropriation is only permission to draw money out of the Treasury. It doesn't put any money there. That has to come through taxation, borrowing, or minting. We've already spent the tax money and the GOP intends to block further borrowing, which leaves only the minting of coins.
Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 9:14 PM PT: 1/8/13: I finally got around to reading what wigwam described as "the authoritative history on the "platinum coin" movement -- and, by gosh, it really is! You should read it too!