Platinum Coins and the Fever Swamp

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Atrios thinks we should mint a $1 trillion platinum coin:

I remain baffled by the resistance. It’s just a gimmicky — but legal — way to get around the debt ceiling nonsense. It won’t cause inflation. It doesn’t allow B. Barry Bamz to buy a trillion dollars worth of bling. And it can be undone the instant new bonds can be sold.

I remain baffled by the bafflement. No, it won’t cause inflation, it won’t allow Obama to buy anything he wants, and it can be undone as soon as new debt is authorized. So what? Like it or not, the debt ceiling is legal. Congress has the power of the purse. On the other hand, using a ridiculous loophole in a statute about commemorative and bullion coins in order to evade the debt limit isn’t legal. Seriously, folks: just forget it. I know I’ll never have to pay up on a bet over this since it will never be tested, but this would go against Obama 9-0 if it ever made it to the Supreme Court.

It’s time to get a grip and leave the fever swamp thinking to the tea party. This whole thing is embarrassing. It will never happen; it’s an exercise in executive overreach that liberals are supposedly opposed to; and it would never make it past a judge. If you really want to stop debt ceiling hostage taking in the future, the way to do it is to make Republicans pay a political price for it. That will stop them. The platinum coin is just a distraction from doing the real work of making Republicans pay for their recklessness.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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