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House Republicans think they've stumbled upon political gold—and as usual, they seem to think the prospect of Democrats trying to clean up another GOP fiasco is the punchline to a hilarious joke:  

National Republican Congressional Committee petition mocks idea of preventing debt limit crisis with trillion dollar coin
Actually, the coin wouldn't "spend" a single dime. It would simply let the United States pay its bills—bills authorized by Congress—if House Republicans refuse to increase the debt limit.
Republicans are so excited about the political possibilities of the trillion dollar coin that they claim to be targeting seven House Democrats with coin-themed attacks. But based on the fact that one of those targets is Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) who won with 70 percent of the vote in 2012, it's pretty obvious Republicans aren't actually serious about using the trillion dollar coin as an issue against individual members. Instead, they think they've stumbled into an opportunity to mock Democrats for being associated with an idea that at first sounds a little odd.

The idea is this: If House Republicans refuse to raise the debt limit, the treasury secretary should use his legal authority (authority that was provided to him by a Republican Congress) to mint a trillion dollar coin and deposit it at the Federal Reserve, thereby enabling the government to continue paying its bills despite the House GOP's obstruction. Once Congress got its act together and raised the debt limit, the coin would be melted, but until then, it would allow the government to continue paying its bills as required by law. This would certainly qualify as an extraordinary measure, but as Republicans themselves are implicitly conceding, it's perfectly legal. And compared to the alternative—going into default and setting off a global economic crisis—it's a no brainer.

We'll probably never face that choice because Republicans are already signaling that their debt limit gambit is a bluff, but in the event that we do, there's going to be a lot of Republicans secretly rooting for the president to mint that coin.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just go ahead and do it. Resolve a hostage crisis. (14+ / 0-)

    The bond markets might not be especially happy, but beats the living sh*t out of a default.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:04:40 AM PST

  •  And again I suggest the obverse of the coin (15+ / 0-)

    The Four Horse's Asses of the National Debt: Reagan, Bush the Lesser, Laffer, Norquist.

    And on the back a chart showing the CBO projection in 2000 that the US would be debt free by 2010.

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

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:10:15 AM PST

    •  Last year in Kansas, our governor actually (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, bobinson, SilentBrook

      paid that Laffer $70,000 to come to our state as an advisor on economic policy.  He should have been laughed right out of the state.  But this is Kansas.

    •  Congress Gets to Choose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      I believe that Congress actually gets to choose whose image would grace the new coin the Administration might decide to mint.  The tussle such a proposal will engender will be a delight to watch.  The House Republicans will be faced with an awful conundrum.  Do they insist that Reagan's visage grace the coin or Obama's (if that's even possible).  Generally, our coins have the faces of deceased statesmen/stateswomen.  Only Reagan's selection would fit that bill.  Even the other folks who might deserve to be on the obverse are still alive and kicking and, therefore, likely not selectable.  Much to the Republicans dismay, even Obama would not be eligible.  The only other deceased statesman they could choose would be JFK or FDR, and their incandescent hatred for those two would prevent their selection.  In the end, I am confident the Republicans in the House would ultimately choose Reagan, not being able to appreciate the irony of having done so.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:07:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans got no juice (11+ / 0-)

    on this issue. Let them mock... and lose.

    The real issue is what happens with sequester negotiations.

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

    by Andrew C White on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:10:33 AM PST

    •  The rest of the civilized world is mocking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, avamontez

      the Republican Party. Particularly the Tea Baggers, rightwing media, Republican Presidential contenders, forced austerity, trickle down economics,neocon foreign policy, the undying defense of private health insurance etc. With such a long, laughable list of losers it's ironic that the Regressives in the House choose to mock the people working to solve Republican-made problems while they merrily plot the shutdown of our Government over bills that THEY fucking ran up! They openly vow to work toward the destruction of our Government so why aren't they labeled with the appropriate descriptor...fucking traitors? Mock all you want Baggers, then take a good hard look at your approval numbers and a calendar because 2014 is just around the corner.

  •  They Mocked Tire Gauges (13+ / 0-)

    That was embarrassing to the GOP

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:10:44 AM PST

  •  N.B., the Rs don't mention the debt limit at all. (11+ / 0-)

    You'd get the impression that Obama was minting money to pay for new stuff, not to avoid defaulting on debt, and of course, nothing at all about having to end run around congress.

    One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

    by Inland on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:13:17 AM PST

  •  Definitely - Reagan's face on that coin (10+ / 0-)

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. - Kos

    My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:13:27 AM PST

  •  What effect would a trillion dollar coin (0+ / 0-)

    have on inflation and the value of the dollar?

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:13:54 AM PST

    •  None. The money is already spent. (16+ / 0-)

      Its already been borrowed.

      All the coin would do would assure creditors that the U.S. didn't intend on deliberately crashing the world economy anytime soon by refusing to pay its bills.

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:46:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't need a Big Coin to reassure creditors. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont, aitchdee

        In fact, they'd probably think the whole government is as crazy as the House GOP.

        Just keep paying bills and the interest as it comes due, and keep track of the cost of debt issued after the Constitutionally meaningless "debt ceiling" is reached, so we can show the cost of the irresponsible Republican hostage taking.

        And keep running the government that We the People rely on to keep us safe and promote the general welfare.

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

        by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:35:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right. Just keep on paying debts and dare (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, TRPChicago

          the Republicans to a Constitutional challenge.  Talk about embarrassing.  Even if they win they lose, because the only remedy if they win is to deliberately destroy the economy after the Democrats have saved it.  If there was ever any doubt as to who would be responsible, that would remove it.

          And who the hell is Grover Norquist???

          by ZedMont on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:01:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Great question. (9+ / 0-)

      As LiberalCanuck says - none. One reason, of many, is that the United States enjoys fiat currency status. The $US is a global currency, unlike currency as Zimbabwe's - for example.

      There could be a slight inflationary effect that the Fed gauges with its "core" inflation report. But the reading will be negligible just as it was negligible when The Fed created $1.29 trillion to buy mortgage-backed securities in 2009.

      •  Theoretically less inflationary than debt (5+ / 0-)

        since new money for debt service is not required.

        •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vote4Obamain2012, aitchdee

          There can be some comfort in that the money needed to continue government operation would be nearly free. We should not, however, relish the option of The Mint issuing a trillion dollar coin. I certainly do hope this remains in the realm of the theoretical.

        •  And also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          as I've gathered from my reading, "real" debt becomes bank reserves which are used to back a pyramid of money creation through lending.  Because the coin would NOT become "capital reserve" in a commercial bank's accounts, it wouldn't form the basis for direct monetary multiplication.

          •  As I understand it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            offgrid, aitchdee, cynndara

            the credits from PCS would go to the treasury general account which is not included in reserves, unlike the TT&L accounts where they accumulate taxes and bond proceeds. The money is only transferred into reserves when it is spent. Bank lending is not constrained by reserves, and reserve requirements are made up ex post facto over a 14 day averaging period. The Fed is lender of last resort and automatically makes up any shortfall in reserves if the bank fails to do so in the interbank market. The Fed now pays 25bp on reserves and doesn't currently soak them up with treasuries.

            The private sector may pine away for those treasuries that aren't being offered, but there are plenty of other investment opportunities in our economy in the private sector. Let them put their money into something productive instead of the free lunch treasuries offer. That might actually be a little stimulative.

    •  Zero (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, ferg, Vote4Obamain2012, aitchdee

      It's essentially an inter-departmental fund transfer, except the Fed is only quasi-governmental.

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

      by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:30:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Inflation and Devaluation are likely (0+ / 0-)

      The US dollar is a fiat currency, which means there is no obligation to make a fixed exchange in a commodity - it keeps its value as long as markets have confidence in the currency. Market confidence takes a very long time to establish, but actions that undermine confidence can very rapidly drop market confidence  (inflation and devaluation of the dollar).

      Having a successful fiat currency requires that markets believe the government will increase the money supply no more than modestly faster than economic growth (its actually more complex than this).

      There is great concern in financial markets that the US is having unsustainable increases in government debt from already very high levels.  The battle with Congress is partly over how rapidly US debt will increase.  Using the coin loophole to continue the growth in Federal spending at a faster rate than previous expected and increasing debt would undermine confidence, and tell markets that the historic controls on this increase in debt have failed.

      The debt rating agencies who have not already downgraded US debt would have little choice but the do so.

      Other countries will ramp up efforts to develop alternatives to the dollar as a world currency.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:04:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would be lovely (16+ / 0-)

    if House Republicans spent tax dollars on actual work related to creating jobs for most of the country.  It would also be lovely if they worked one full week -- and one full month of the year.  I don't consider fundraising to be working.

    Assholes.  (edit) Stupid Assholes.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:15:00 AM PST

  •  It'll probably backfire on them (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure they think it's funny now, but not for long.  Do they really want pictures of coins with Obama's profile on them going viral?  And politically, are they trying to highlight the fact that they are obstructing and playing chicken with the dollar?

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:31:28 AM PST

  •  I would like to suggest a Face/Obverse... (10+ / 0-)

    Face:  A smiling President Obama; caption "Fuck You GOP"

    Obverse : Uncle Sam flipping the bird; caption "Against all enemies, foreign AND domestic"

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:36:57 AM PST

  •  A country which issues its own currency (6+ / 0-)

    cannot go into default. The debt limit is a ruse perpetrated by Congress to maintain the illusion that it is not responsible for issuing and managing our currency.
    What we need to ask and answer is why the Congress, as long ago as 1913, set up the Federal Reserve as a middle man, instead of issuing currency directly.  And the answer is that this arrangement is a boon to the leisure class, people who prefer to lend dollars to the Treasury, rather than spend on goods and services or pay taxes to the various governmental entities.

    Some people seem genetically disinclined to meet their familial and social obligations and, somehow, these people have gotten the idea that as members of legislative bodies, on the local, state and national level, they are vouchsafed immunity from obligation. They fear debt as Satan fears the cross, probably because they are practically incompetent to do anything anyone else values. Even their oratorical skills have atrophied.

    Fact is that every dollar in circulation or out is a certificate of debt. And, as ever more people come to recognize their obligations and forswear theft, the volume of dollars can only go up. Setting an artificial limit is nothing but a silly effort to ration a commodity whose supply is infinite.

    Whether or not the dollar is almighty is questionable. That it is in infinite supply is indisputable, because they are a figment of man's imagination.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:50:58 AM PST

    •  Issuing currency and monetary policy are matters (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      umjm13, Vote4Obamain2012, aitchdee

      of vital importance to the nation and they should never be
      left to politicians.  The elected officials of 1913 who created the Federal Reserve via the Federal Reserve Act were wise enough to see that at the time.

      Summarizing the matters involved as a scheme for the benefit of the leisure class while suggesting the Congress would be better suited than the Fed as a custodian of the currency and its monetary policy is ludicrous.  What is today's Congress if not the leisure class?

      Your understanding of Federal Reserve operations is flawed to say the least.

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:09:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ummmmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Beg to differ.  I agree that politicians are inherently untrustworthy, but you prefer to allow BANKS to make those decisions?  After they've just spent the last decade proving how corrupt and incompetent they are?  Or perhaps you prefer to put power in the hands of the military?

        Issuance and management of currency is and has always been a function and responsibility of government.  In our particular government, that translates as "politicians", freely elected and purportedly subject to the whims of the People.  Any other option is a frank abdication of government power to unaccountable private individuals or corporations whose interests are by no means congruent with those of the people they, ahem, SERVE.

    •  Devaluation and high inflation are a form (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      George Hier

      of default for economic purposes, while not technically a default.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:07:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, but President Obama won't do (4+ / 0-)

    something like this, I believe.

    •  He can't do this (0+ / 0-)

      while simultaneously pledging not to negotiate over the debt ceiling.  Wht is the upside of giving the republicans an excuse not to raise it, especially when the legal and economic arguments for doing this are . . . overstated.  Rejecting this is to the President's credit.  Finest legal mind in Washington.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:32:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because he'll put Reagan's face on it instead? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


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

      by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:32:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Try reversed psychology... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, SilentBrook, Dont Get MAD

    They will try to diminish the idea so their so called leverage

    on the debt limit will not be in jeopardy.

    If I were the Democrats I wouldn't let up on the idea.

    Hell why stop at a trillion dollars, I would even entertain

    the idea of a 25 trillion dollar  coin to get rid of the debt

    and have some left over  to invest in rebuilding america.

    Go big or not at all... that'll show them.

    Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by destiny1 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:12:04 AM PST

  •  This is so infuriating. The Democrats ought (12+ / 0-)

    to respond with pointing out that they're just paying what Republicans authorized with their budget.  Democrats pay the credit card bills Republicans run up.  Americans can understand that.  Sad that it's "too mean" for the Democrats to point out that the two wars and the Bush tax cuts were put on a credit card and the Republicans refuse to pay for that credit card bill when it comes due.

    •  Absolutely correct! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, mmacdDE

      Additionally, we need to keep requiring them to answer explicitly what spending that they are going to cut.  Make them specify the cuts and not get away with the generic "wasteful government spending".  Alternatively, we should propose cancelling all future federal spending in the districts of these deficit hawks or transfers of federal funds to their state's funds.

      Good Sense is Seldom Common

  •  He should put two faces on it. Boehner and (8+ / 0-)

    McConnell.  That way, whenever you flip it, it always comes up tails.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:13:32 AM PST

  •  Put Reagan on the coin (4+ / 0-)

    He put us on the road to fiscal ruin in the first place.

    Then let's see them bitch.

    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:15:27 AM PST

  •  Refusing to raise the debt limit is crazy. (5+ / 0-)

    The President is required to spend and tax as dictated by Congress through its laws. The debt limit is just a decision on whether to pay for what's actually spent or not. It's like picking up a bunch of goods at a store, going to the checkout and then complaining that you have to pay for them. Bizarre.

  •  this is essentially... (3+ / 0-)

    them acknowledging the legality of the maneuver. Otherwise, why "petition"?

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:17:35 AM PST

  •  Put Reagan's face on it and mock them back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, PrahaPartizan

    Have it say "In God We Trust Deficits Don't Matter"

  •  could they make it bigger (5+ / 0-)

    than the old susan b anthony dollar coin? I'd hate to accidently put it in a parking meter.

    •  Can't wait for the Franklin Mint (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      offgrid, high uintas, aitchdee

      to start selling commemerative Trillion dollar coins for $19.95 each on late night TV.

      "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

      by aggressiveprogressive on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:00:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Picture This ... (0+ / 0-)

      The Vice President and the Secretary of the Treasury arrive at the Federal Reserve carrying briefcases.

      The VP says, "OK, give them the coin."
      The secy says, "I thought you had it."
      The VP says, "I gave it to you to put in your briefcase."
      The secy says, "But I thought it would be safer in my pocket."

      The secy begins searching his pockets, and a look of horror falls across his face. He bolts through the door, headed for candy machine in the snack bar down from his office.

      "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

      by midnight lurker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:48:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A trillion dollar coin… (0+ / 0-)

      …would definitely be something you'd make that would be 5 or 6 feet in diameter and require a hand truck to move.

      Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

      by DemSign on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:56:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Show where so much of that debt came from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, aitchdee

    in graphic, symbolic form:

    a picture of W in his flight suit.

    on the flipside, you can have McCain and Romney, sailing a yacht past flooded coastlines

  •  Force the Republicans to Govern (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem with the coin is it lets the Republicans off the hook.

    Instead, make sure you tell everyone that Congress decides how much money to spend and where to spend it, and whether the government will have to borrow money.  The president is not allowed to pick and choose where to spend.

    "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

    by anonevent on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:23:11 AM PST

  •  You can understand why... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, offgrid

    ...after all, building the entire Republican Convention around "You didn't build that" was such a rip-roaring success, why wouldn't they want to try again?

  •  You know, even if Obama manages (6+ / 0-)

    to avert the crisis by actually minting the trillion dollar coin, this will be an incredibly sad commentary on the state of American politics. When you think about it, this is an incredibly cheesy gimmick, straight out of the theatre of the absurd. The mere fact that we're even discussing the possibility that it might be necessary is incredibly pathetic.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:25:37 AM PST

  •  Spending? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, Vote4Obamain2012

    As if GOPers never voted for pork? Meh.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:25:55 AM PST

  •  so we're just gonna mock 'em right back, right? (5+ / 0-)

    with ads featuring Republicans feeding credit card bills into the shredder?

    Oh, I don't feel like paying it. So I shouldn't have to!

    If you want to be real nasty, make it an allegory, where children take candy out of its wrappers in the store, eat it, and refuse to pay for it.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:26:31 AM PST

  •  Its a PR nightmare. (10+ / 0-)

    The "trillion dollar coin" will be a GOP attack line for another 30 years.

    Now if Obama once again has to take extraordinary measures to avert the treasonous actions of the tea party trying to bring down the country, then by God he should go Abraham Lincoln on their asses and do it. However, let's keep this arrow in our quiver until the 11th hour. The last thing we need is to be floating this as a legit option and the GOP forcing Obama's hand into actually doing it.

    If we do this right, we can break the GOP into 50 little pieces. Don't give them any light to coalesce.

    •  I completely agree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dillonfence, rabel, aitchdee, Matt Z

      It's a concession that rational governance has to fail in the face of intransigence.  

      We (the Dems) have far more traction is saying Republicans created the debt (along with the craven votes of some dems) than in opening our party to this kind of attack.

    •  Was "government shutdown" a PR nightmare? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee, Matt Z

      You bet it was. Is the GOP any less likely to try to do it again, no they aren't. So where are we now? There's 7 weeks before the coin maneuver would be tried. It's vital that the GOP understand they aren't going to get their "stand up to President Uppity" showdown that they want. It's called negotiation, and if political theatre has to be threatened so be it. Only GOP intransigence will lead the President to act in such a way, at which point any "PR" victory for the GOP would become moot.

      Besides it doesn't have to be a coin. If I were the WH I'd be looking into creating a voucher or smart card to take from Treasury to the Fed. And then Obama can have a card cutting ceremony when the whole thing is over.

      •  Commemorative Coin (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee, Matt Z, George Hier

        My understanding is that the authority for the Federal Reserve to mint a coin in any denomination is limited to commemorative coins and therefore this must be an actual coin.

        [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

        by rabel on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:04:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •   (6+ / 0-)

    My vote is for Eastwood's Empy Chair on the front, and  a dead elephant on the back.

  •  If the GOP House were serious... (4+ / 0-)

    about dealing with the manufactured crisis then they would start dumping these Tea Party crazies from committees and the Deputy Whip post. We don't need to give them more power to screw up the legislative process. They already get a vote on the floor. That's all Boehner should be giving them based on their practice to date.

    But of course we are talking "Boehner" here. He has his head up his ass as usual. He doesn't care about legislating. He just wants to keep his job another two years and play politics with the system. If he cared about doing his job he would be working with the middle and trying to pass legislation that the majority of this country wants. But instead he listens to the crap from Crapo and others.

    What an idiot!

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:32:04 AM PST

  •  I'd put an image of Obama's backside on the back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, Rich in PA

    ...of the coin, so the money-loving Republicans can kiss it.


  •  As usual, Republicans are targeting (4+ / 0-)

    low information voters. They won't have the inclination to find out how this is really going to work. You've got to hand it to the GOP. They know their audience.

    When someone tells you they are lying, you should believe them.

    by shoeless on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:35:00 AM PST

    •  They're like that attack dog in Carl Hiaasen's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Double Whammy".  Even when its body was separated from its head, its jaws still stayed firmly clamped onto a guy's arm...for days.  That's the GOP way:  mindlessly latch onto a word or a phrase until an infection sets in.

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, basket, aitchdee

    If they authorized those bills they are responsible for paying for it. Should we contract out a collection agnecy to hold the congress accountable and collect their debt? If a student loan goes into default the Department of education sends the loan to collection agency. Why not do the same thing to the congress?

  •  I think people here are underestimating (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, zed, rabel, aitchdee, George Hier, VClib

    How gimmicky the average citizen will find the "trillion dollar coin."  It may be a legal option but the average citizen will find it mock worthy, too cute by half, and most of all something that doesn't pass the "smell test" when it comes to being legal.  It will give the Rs something substantial to run on when it comes to their overreach claims.  

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

      We should get as gimmicky as they are. We can come up with something like "Collection agency to collect Congress's debt" or something to that effect. We need to come up with a name for the collection agency??!!!

    •  It's not even a legal option (5+ / 0-)

      When the SCOTUS, or any Court, interprets a law passed by Congress, if there is any question about what the law does, or does not allow, what controls is what was INTENDED by the law. That's a basic, basic legal principle.  

      As Krugman recognizes, the intent of this law was to allow the minting of commemorative coins.  Read the law for yourself.  I can't see the argument that it was intended to allow the Secretary to mint a trillion dollar coin whenever he wants.  

      •  The guy that wrote the law weighs in here: (0+ / 0-)
        And in his opinion, this is legal if not the intended consequence.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:53:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two points about that. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, George Hier, nextstep, VClib

          First, he's technically not "the guy that wrote the law" (or, in his case, co-wrote) at least as far as the Courts are concerned.  It doesn't matter what was the "intent" of the guy who actually penned the words.  What matters is the intent of Congress -- the people who voted to pass the law.  Congress is technically the "author" of the law for purposes of looking at the intent.

          Second, he readily admits that this is not what was intended by the law.  From your link:  

          Yes, this is an unintended consequence of the platinum coin bill, but how many other pieces of legislation have had unintended consequences? Most, I’d guess.
          Congress has to pretty specifically delegate authority like that, if they do indeed want to do it.  Courts don't generally  say, Congress clearly did not mean to give you authority to do xyz, but since they did a bad job of drafting the words, we're going to rule you have the authority to do x,y,z.  It's the exact opposite -- if Congress does a bad job drafting, and you can read a law a different ways, the Courts go with what Congress intended to do.  

          He's NOT saying it's "legal."  What he is saying is  "Congress clearly didn't intend to give the Secretary the power to mint a trillion dollar coin but hey, I can read the words to say that." If that is true, then a court would probably find it is NOT legal.  

  •  I agree with them. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There should instead be a trillion-dollar tax bill, sent to our plutocrats.  It wouldn't even need to be platinum (paper works fine) or have a face.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:41:46 AM PST

  •  Forget the Coin (0+ / 0-)

    Use the 14th Amendment to raise the Debt Ceiling.

    •  The administration has categorically said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that the President does not believe the 14th Amendment gives him the constitutional authority to ignore the debt limit.

      Q    Okay.  And secondly, can we quickly revisit the debt ceiling question?  You were asked yesterday about whether the President would invoke executive power and the 14th Amendment.  Can you say that --

      MR. CARNEY:  And Peter, with lightning speed, dug up a quote that I thought would take at least a few hours to find.  (Laughter.)  Let me --

      Q    Have you found another one?  (Laughter.)  

      Q    Can you say that the President has ruled that out as an option, or can you say whether there are discussions or studies underway?

      MR. CARNEY:  Let me give you your answer.  I can say that this administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the President the power to ignore the debt ceiling -- period.

  •  Yeah, put Reagan's face on it and ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, PrahaPartizan

    on the other side, put a VULTURE* with its claws into a small child...

    Meh. GOP/TPer Party.

    Ugh. --UB.
    * Vuture - As in Vulture Capitalism...
    Gaius Publius in AmericaBlog

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:44:46 AM PST

  •  Wanna worry them more? Sign the petition on (0+ / 0-)

    the site asking the President to mint that $1 Trillion coin.  Do it here.

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

    by accumbens on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:45:12 AM PST

  •  If they thought it was silly (0+ / 0-)

    they'd ignore it. In focusing attention on this they are admitting that Obama has options.

  •  Maybe it's "crazy" and "stupid" but... (0+ / 0-)

    "It is a craziness intentionally designed to highlight another, more realistic and dangerous flavor of crazy...."and...

    ...the craziness being highlighted is the very dangerous insanity of House Republicans, who are threatening to make the U.S. government default on its debts, triggering a global financial panic, in order to wring some spending cuts out of President Obama.

    "Republican intransigence over the debt ceiling is juvenile," Bloomberg's Josh Barro wrote on Monday. "There is no particular reason that the president should not use a juvenile strategy in response..."

    The House Loons and the loons they represent are apparently seriously ticked because the opposition is finally beginning to catch on.  Instead of continuing to be stymied and obstructed by the loons' craziness, people are beginning to call for fighting crazy with crazy.  

    Hopefully the POTUS will decide in this instance that when GOP'ers continue to ignore reasonable and rational appeals to work together for the good of the country--it's time to use whatever works to bypass the roadblocks of the loons--no matter how "juvenile" or "crazy" it sounds.

  •  It's an inherently risible idea that only a lawyer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    could take seriously -- exploiting an obvious loophole to do something worthy of a TV comedy.

    And, because Obama has plenty of political common sense, and is not just a technocratic lawyer, I doubt he would do much more with this idea than laugh at it.

  •  Will someone tell me how I, too, can do this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George Hier
    Actually, the coin wouldn't "spend" a single dime. It would simply let the United States pay its bills...
    If I could figure out a means of paying the utilities, mortgage and groceries without spending a single dime, it would sure make my personal budgeting a heck of a lot easier.

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:50:36 AM PST

  •  The trillion dollar coin thing IS "mockable" (6+ / 0-)

    in my opinion.   Even Krugman called it  "gimmick."  That's exactly what it is -- a "gimmick" for the President to do what he has recognized that he does not have the power to do under the 14th Amendment -- ignore Congress' failure to raise the debt limit.  

    I think people here are looking at this with partisan blinders on.  The rest of the country will find this "mockable."

    Not to mention that it's really, really questionable legally.  If the issue ever went to the Courts, the basic question that would be asked is, "what was the intent of Congress in passing that provision?"  It's very very hard to read that law  and think Congress was giving the Secretary free rein, if the Secretary wanted, to mint a trillion dollar coin whenever he wanted (How often can he do it -- every day if he wants?)  I think it's pretty clear if you look at the context in which this provision was passed, and the legislative history, that the provision was intended to allow the minting of commemorative coins. The fact that it may be poorly drafted does not give you license to completely ignore the intent of Congress in passing the law.  

    Krugman says this:  

    Enter the platinum coin. There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collector’s items — but that’s not what the letter of the law says. And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all.
    Krugman apparently does not know much about how the SCOTUS, and the other federal courts, interpret acts of Congress.  What controls is the intent of Congress.  Courts don't say that the "letter of the law" controls if it's completely contrary to what was intended by the law.  That's a basic, basic principle.  
  •  What's the coin to be called? A "trilly"? (0+ / 0-)

    A "teradollar"? (with Pteranodon on the reverse)

    A "platidollar"? (platypus on the reverse)

    An "onion"? (as in "crazy enough to be in the Onion")

    Because seriously, the PtDollar's greatest value is as a comparison, by Obama, to the GOP's crazy:

    "The GOP is proposing to do something so crazy that the only counter to it is something crazy- a trillion dollar coin. Now I'm not crazy enough to mint a trillion dollar coin, but the GOP is crazy enough to crash the world financial system. They have to stop this nonsense once and for all."

    Let's see if he takes full advantage of the opportunity to make fools of the GOP.

  •  Rs are right to mock it; it's a stupid idea and (5+ / 0-)

    people need to shut up about it.

  •  How are people not seeing the political blowback (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Camussie, aitchdee, George Hier

    a potentially illegal move to prop up government spending would be for the Democratic party? The price of averting crisis would be a Republican landslide in 2014 and 2016 and a permanent, forever and ever talking point upon which the Democratic brand would be crucified. And by the way, IT WON'T STOP THE HOSTAGE TAKING, so long as the Rs are shielded from all possible repercussions for it.

    Stop the trillion dollar coin nonsense! It's making liberals look bad, and completely idiotic.

  •  Obama needs to embrace the coin at some point (0+ / 0-)

    in order to shut down this debt ceiling fight.  It was a mistake for him to have enabled the tea partiers to think they could extract concessions by refusing to pay accumulated debts.  They shut down the economy for over a month.  The President has to see it as his mission in the second term to shut down the extremist tea party.  

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:34:02 AM PST

  •  What sucks is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, George Hier

    the spin will be that the president is minting money to pay our debt; it will be extremely hard to get conservatives to understand the nuance in this numbers trick.

    Hell, it's even been hard for some here at dKos to understand; conservatives will never get it.  So, "the president is minting his own money to spend" meme will probably not go over very well in the general public.  We'll have to work really hard to get the truth out there.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:35:20 AM PST

  •  if Republicans would spend just 10 percent of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the time they waste on conspiring to stick it to the poor, the middle class, Democrats, women, Hispanics, Blacks, immigrants and other groups they detest...on actually doing their jobs and trying to solve this country's real problems--instead of constantly trying to create new ones or create the illusion that certain problems exist which don't--then maybe people would actually like them more.

    Unfortunately...Republicans are too busy conspiring with their billionaire friends to redistribute money from the middle class and poor to the filthy actually...accomplish anything beneficial.

  •  The GOP would win this PR fight - guaranteed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Camussie, aitchdee, George Hier

    It's an uncontested layup; an empty-net goal.

    It's almost too easy an 'argument' for them to make, because (1) the country is full of gullible idiots and (2) the media.

  •  Just to make this clear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because there are a lot of people who are not getting it.

    The current limit is set at $16.394 trillion.

    Our current debt will exceed that amount in two months.  When we hit that limit, government will be forced to shut down if the limit is not increased.

    Congress is threatening not to increase the limit.

    So, there is another way to "increase" the debt limit - by "decreasing" the amount of debt on the books.  If we deposit $1T into our treasury, the new debt will be $15.394 trillion - under the current debt limit.  So, we don't have to shut down.

    Once the limit is raised, we give the money back, the coin is melted, and business as usual.


    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:50:49 AM PST

  •  The Platinum Coin issue is a negotiation tool (0+ / 0-)

    When dealing with a hostage taker, it must be made clear to the hostage taker that he is not holding all the cards, that there are ways to resolve the standoff that he can't control. If the GOP hostage takers think that Obama has other options, the Platinum Coin or the 14th amendment or whatever, they are less able to prevail.
    It sounds ridiculous and I seriously doubt that Obama will do anything of this sort, but having the option, having people take that option seriously, strengthens his negotiating stand and weakens theirs.
    Personally, I'm skeptical of this thing actually working. And I can imagine the political blowback being intense and long term. But, since the author of the bill that makes this possible says that it would be legal under the law he wrote,
    and Krugman is calling for it as well, then I have to believe that it IS a serious suggestion.
    I hope that if they do anything like this that they put Obama's face on it. Not that we'll ever get one of these in change, but....

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:07:24 PM PST

    •  Just wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      But, since the author of the bill that makes this possible says that it would be legal under the law he wrote,
      First, as far as determining the intent of the law, he is NOT the author.  Congress is the author.  In interpreting this law, the courts will look to the intent of Congress -- not the intent of this guy -- in determining whether Congress intended to give the Secretary the power to mint a trillion dollar coin whenever he wants.  

      Second, even this guy is NOT saying it's "legal."  He's saying, "it's not what Congress intended [Congress intended to give the Secretary the power to mint commemorative coins] but I can read the words that way."  

      That is NOT saying it's "legal."  There have been zillions of cases in the federal courts, and in the SCOTUS (ok, maybe only  couple of thousand cases in the SCOTUS according to Westlaw) where people were arguing about what a law passed by Congress meant.  And given  choice between what Congress intended, and "I can read it this way, too" the Courts almost always go with what Congress intended.  That's a basic, basic principle of statutory construction.  

      Statutory construction is not a "gotcha" game where the Courts say, we know what you meant, but somebody did a bad job of choosing the words, so we're going to hold that the law means something Congress never in their wildest dreams thought they were doing when they passed the law.  That's not how it works.  Courts go with the intent of Congress.  

      I have not heard one person say that they believe Congress intended to give the Treasury Secretary the authority to mint a trillion dollar coin whenever he wants to.  I can't imagine that anywhere in the legislative history you're going to see somebody say, "the provision gives the Secretary complete authority to mint commemorative coins AND complete mint coins in huge denominations so as to give the federal government more money to spend without borrowing it."

  •  All Republicans are quislings (0+ / 0-)

    who are the cancer that is going to kill America.  They will fight any idea that can save the country unless it hurts American workers.

  •  The image is all wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The imprint will not be a current President.  It will be a historical figure--like Ronald Reagan or Alan Greenspan or Milton Friedman.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:23:12 PM PST

  •  I just wish the wingnuts were as qiuick to do WORK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    as they are to come with this other shit.  This country is in big trouble

  •  Stuck in traffic after a root canal with... (0+ / 0-)

    ... with a car infested with cockroaches.

    And all I can think about is how much i hate those schmucks up there in washington

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:24:54 PM PST

  •  Treason and Sedition (0+ / 0-)

    It is my view that any congressman implying that the United States of America would not back debt already incurred is commiting an act of treason and sedition.  It should be described as such.

    "Men go and come, but earth abides." George R. Stewart

    by mojavefog on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:36:48 PM PST

  •  I do agree with the folks who say the picture on (0+ / 0-)

    it should be that of John Boehner, if they do decide to go that route ;)

    Then his platinum mini-me can sit around doing nothing all day just like the original.

  •  Foolishness (0+ / 0-)

    Raise taxes on everyone. We all need to pay if we all want the services. Simple.

  •  Ummm what would the house have to (0+ / 0-)

    Say about such coins being minted ... Sound to me like the piggies are afraid.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:16:35 PM PST

  •  Basically this emphasizes that (0+ / 0-)

    The US dollar is a fiat currency.

    In both the PCS (Platinum Coin Seignorage) and the raise-the-debt-ceiling-and-borrow-it cases, the government pays its bills.

    In the latter case, money is send to the government by various institutions (the Fed/banks/pension funds/state governments/foreign governments/etc/etc).  Question is, in the former case what happens to the US dollars owned by the Fed/banks/pension funds/etc/etc instead of US securities being bought with it?

    Well, if it's the Fed at least, then not much since it just wouldn't create the money to do so in the first place - that task being supplanted by the Treasury.  Anyone else, then they have two options: (a) sit on it; or (b) invest it elsewhere.

    If they sit on it, it doesn't run around in the economy and the institutions' balance sheets remain the same.  If they invest it elsewhere, we can expect some domestic stimulative activity from it.  In that way PCS would work the same way as the Feds' QE crowding out other investments in US securities, which has most certainly not led to any inflation problem.  Like QE, in the suggested endgame it makes no difference why the US government would want to borrow from other investors, whether it's to buy back the $1 trillion coin or to buy back the Fed-held securities.

    Frankly, the $1 trillion coin is thinking small.  Make a $1 quadrillion coin instead (could the general voting public appreciate the difference anyway?).  Render the debt ceiling hostage completely and utterly moot for the lifetimes of all involved.  Force people to think about the implications of the government not needing to borrow to meet its obligations, both good and bad, and then get back to us about how forcing seniors to work 'til they drop is a good idea in the epoch of record wealth disparity.

    On the downside, Republicans would want to use it as an excuse to set all taxes on the uber-wealthy to zero if borrowing is no longer seen as strictly necessary to fund government expenditure.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:27:16 PM PST

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