Bad news: Trillion-dollar platinum coin idea now officially ridiculous

posted at 4:41 pm on January 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

Emphasis on “officially.” You’re watching this not for the humor value but for the spectacle of one of the left’s pop-cult political heroes gently trying to warn them away from a PR catastrophe in the making. People like Krugman and Jerrold Nadler like the coin because they’re liberal hyperpartisans and therefore relish the thought of spiting obstructionist Republicans even when it involves something as patently insane as minting a trillion-dollar coin. A comedian, even a liberal one who shares their disdain for the GOP, naturally views that a bit differently. Or maybe he just sees the lights on the train in the distance better than they do and is keen to get everyone off the tracks. Ah well. Too bad for us:

If Obama were to listen to liberals and go the coin route instead, it would be tossing a life preserver to Republicans. Whatever economic and legal arguments liberals want to make, to a more casual observer, the idea is going to look either absurd, scary or both. Just imagine Obama publicly addressing the nation, and uttering the words, “Today, I’ve directed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to exercise his authority to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin.” It would not only be easy to parody — like some sort of cartoonish Scrooge McDuck scheme — it would be seen as a massive power grab by Obama that validates years of conservative attacks. It would instantly reinvigorate dispirited Tea Partiers and get more of the public on their side, because it would be much easier to argue that Obama was manufacturing money to pay off the debt he was running up than to raise alarms about what would have happened if he hadn’t taken such drastic action.

Meanwhile, if the coin proponents are wrong about the inflationary and market impacts of the action, than any resulting economic chaos would be squarely blamed on Obama rather than on the failure to raise the debt ceiling. Instead of small government ideology becoming unpopular as a result of the crisis, it would be big government philosophy that would be under fire. Instead of Obama getting to play the grownup in the room, he’d look silly. Minting the $1 trillion coin would represent such a massive in-kind contribution to Republicans that we may want to start researching whether it would violate some aspect of campaign finance laws.

I wouldn’t say the idea’s quite dead yet but it’s on life support thanks to Colby. Will Jon Stewart administer the coup de grace tonight? Don’t fret, lefties: There’s always the dubious yet far more salable “Fourteenth Amendment option” if it comes to that.

Exit question: Michael Phelps on the back of a dinosaur? Sweet.


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Make that coin! So, what would happen if it were stolen? Montgomery Burns jokes aside…

redshirt on January 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

” It would not only be easy to parody — like some sort of cartoonish Scrooge McDuck scheme —

What kind of BS is this?

Scrooge McDuck didn’t have schemes, he was quite wise with his money and investments if you remember ‘Duck Tales.’

“Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

sentinelrules on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

The GOP should already be making hay on this–because if we’re not backing up the debt with $1T coins, what are we backing it up with? The absurdity of the coin is helpful because in a sense it has more value than what the debt is actually backed up with, which is nothing. Oh sure, there’s the “full faith and credit of the American People” but of course we don’t actually have the money, either.

TexasDan on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

We would need about twenty of them…

Seven Percent Solution on January 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Make it rain!

El_Terrible on January 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Just imagine Obama publicly addressing the nation, and uttering the words, “Today, I’ve directed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to exercise his authority to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin.” It would not only be easy to parody — like some sort of cartoonish Scrooge McDuck scheme — it would be seen as a massive power grab by Obama that validates years of conservative attacks.

Yeah, he already did this with Obamacare.

“I know that this flies in the face of years of legislative custom and bipartisanship, but #&%$! you guys, we’re bending the rules and ramming this down your throat and you can’t stop us.

The American people just don’t care, especially the ones who voted for him twice.

jr.ewing.78 on January 8, 2013 at 4:51 PM

So, you make the trillion dollar coin, then put it into the trillion dollar slots in Vegas. When it comes up with the jackpot, because it will, we’ll be able to retire the national debt and have plenty of money left over for hookers and blow.

Mr. D on January 8, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Obama could make the coin from the skull and intestines from Ambassador Stevens and media and voters would think it’s ok.

the_nile on January 8, 2013 at 4:52 PM

No wonder all those villains were after his number one dime… that thing must have been minted by Duckburg’s version of Obama.

Ukiah on January 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM

After 4 years of Obama, its kind of hard to take anything seriously anymore. A $1 trillion coin? Sure. Ha ha.

joejm65 on January 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Now Colbert’s gone ahead and done it. He won’t be getting any more Congressional invites from the Dem’s anytime soon.

That’ll learn ‘em.

WisRich on January 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Obama could make the coin from the skull and intestines from Ambassador Stevens and media and voters would think it’s ok.

the_nile on January 8, 2013 at 4:52 PM

True, but that’s only because they’ve never heard of Ambassador Stevens.

Doughboy on January 8, 2013 at 4:56 PM

And we could make it like the Stanley Cup! Each big spending congressman could take it home for a victory lap after he brings home some awesome bacon!

PattyJ on January 8, 2013 at 4:57 PM

“easier to argue that Obama was manufacturing money to pay off the debt”

Easier to argue? What do people think Quantative Easing & Operation Twist are? China stopped buying our bonds a while back. We’re already printing money by the trillions.

xuyee on January 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

As long as the coin weighs 20,000 tons, I see no problem with it.

logis on January 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM

The fun part is going to be when they try to use one of these — I hope whoever gets it gives them their change in pennies…

affenhauer on January 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM

But Wait!! If you order now, you’ll also receive this special “Tao-Mao” visage Piggy Bank storage free (except shipping and handling).

trl on January 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

On the issue of bho. It seems his friends the union thugs(who fund and vote for bho) are at it again? This is not one bit funny and NO ONE should have to put up with union thugs, EVER!

http://nation.foxnews.com/unions/2013/01/08/union-thugs-burn-house-worship
L

letget on January 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM

As long as the coin weighs 20,000 tons, I see no problem with it.

logis on January 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Of course, then the gov’t would have to come up with the money to buy 20,000 tins of platinum.

KCB on January 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM

tons

KCB on January 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Makes me want it to happen all the more.

besser tot als rot on January 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Easier to argue? What do people think Quantative Easing & Operation Twist are? China stopped buying our bonds a while back. We’re already printing money by the trillions.

xuyee on January 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Most people have no idea what Quantitative Easing or Operation Twist even exist. And those that do don’t really have a good grasp on how they work since most Americans no longer have even basic economics education.

On the other hand a $1T platinum coin is something people can actually SEE – you can point to the coin and say “Look, the government just produced $1T out of thin air!” That’s much easier than trying to explain the Fed’s latest bond buyback scheme.

Doomberg on January 8, 2013 at 5:07 PM

It would not only be easy to parody — like some sort of cartoonish Scrooge McDuck scheme

Simpsons did it.

Socratease on January 8, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Ridiculous?

Maybe, but I think it’s a great example of Keynesian economics and the Federal Reserve.

Dante on January 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Damn, AP’s having a bad day. He’s missed the joke. This is like his 3rd post today where he’s missed the point entirely. I’m still an AP fan though. Shake it off, Allah. Even Babe Ruth went 0 for 4 some games.

sauldalinsky on January 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM

letget on January 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM

It’s those Quakers and their violence-free zones. From the original article:

learned the hard way in the spring when union protesters laid siege to their construction site, blocking deliveries for five months.

I’m not sure how they blocked deliveries, but I’m pretty sure a D-9 dozer would remedy that situation pretty quickly…

affenhauer on January 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM

If the point of the trillion dollar coin is having some asset to offset part of the debt and thus pretend the government isn’t over the debt limit why could they just do the same with any other government asset such as the millions of acres of land the government owns?

agmartin on January 8, 2013 at 5:11 PM

#mintthecoin!!!!!

nathor on January 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The “funny” part is, that Colbert is just a paid obama propagandist – he is simply reading the script given to him by the White House – BUT, this does give us insight into what team obama really thinks about this stupid coin idea.

Pork-Chop on January 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM

“But how will we ever pay for the space alien invasion?” -Krugman

nobar on January 8, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Prediction: Within two weeks the “trillion dollar coin” idea will be universally agreed upon by the usual suspects in the media to be a fever-swamp tinfoil hat conspiracy fantasy held by sore-loser Republicans. Support for the idea by liberals will be forgotten, and eventually denied.

dkmonroe on January 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM

One of the designated court jesters just points at the king and says, “Barry’s gots woman parts!”
Think I’ll call it a day. I might even be able to stomach some national news after that.

onomo on January 8, 2013 at 5:26 PM

If the point of the trillion dollar coin is having some asset to offset part of the debt and thus pretend the government isn’t over the debt limit why could they just do the same with any other government asset such as the millions of acres of land the government owns?

Because we don’t have any federal assets worth that much, or, at the very least, the entire value of federal landholdings is barely worth $1 trillion.

Remember, a trillion is a million squared.

The federal government owns ~650 million acres of land. For that land to be worth $1 trillion, it would have to be worth an average of ~$1500 per acre.

That doesn’t include mineral rights, but then that calculation starts to get pretty complicated.

jr.ewing.78 on January 8, 2013 at 5:27 PM

One thing I never heard explained…

if they can mint a trillion dollar coin, why can’t they just add a couple zeros at the end, make it a 100 trillion dollar coin, pay off the debt, and declare a 10 year tax holiday?

I mean, if they insist on going down this road, why not take it to the logical conclusion?

Rebar on January 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If the point of the trillion dollar coin is having some asset to offset part of the debt and thus pretend the government isn’t over the debt limit why could they just do the same with any other government asset such as the millions of acres of land the government owns?

Yes, but the kooks would never let all of that pristine land ever be pledged or put into a situation to where it COULD be sold. The whole appeal of the trillion dollar coin tio them is that it’s unrealistic. The Fed’s not going to really run off and use it.

If the Fed were truly independent – or better, if we were truly worried about posting collateral to true actual bondholders acting at arms-length – they might call on that debt and go sell the land. There are certain constituencies that would NEVER let that happen, so the land idea is dead and we’re stuck with the platinum coin gimmick.

jr.ewing.78 on January 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The federal government owns ~650 million acres of land. For that land to be worth $1 trillion, it would have to be worth an average of ~$1500 per acre.

jr.ewing.78 on January 8, 2013 at 5:27 PM

And how is that dealt with when the lenders want their money back, which they will? Give then half of Nevada? A trillion dollar coin?

sharrukin on January 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

i’ll always remember the time fondly when the tyler cowens of the world felt compelled to come out to declare their opposition to the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin.

sesquipedalian on January 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

And the useful idiots in the media think it is a valid idea. Why does it take a comedian to say WTF?

TexAz on January 8, 2013 at 5:33 PM

if they can mint a trillion dollar coin, why can’t they just add a couple zeros at the end, make it a 100 trillion dollar coin, pay off the debt, and declare a 10 year tax holiday?

Rebar on January 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

or instead of taking pennies out of circulation, the fed could say that they’re now worth $1 trillion apiece.

sesquipedalian on January 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Burn baby burn! Mint that coin!

bitsy on January 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Instead of delivering the platinum coin to the Treasury let’s have Courier Six deliver it to Fortification Hill and unleash the army of Securitrons.

Helen A Handbasquet on January 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM

It would be perfect if Big Bird was on the coin…….

SailorMark on January 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Forget Colbert…It was even funnier how CNN in the clip is trying to cover this as real legit news.

Why not just produce a coin with the infinity symbol on it? Then we don’t need a national debt limit anymore. We are covered for infinity!

William Eaton on January 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Milburn Pennybags, the chap in the top hat in the Monopoly game, needs to be on the coin. At that point, our money is Monopoly money anyway……

itsspideyman on January 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Easier to argue? What do people think Quantative Easing & Operation Twist are?

xuyee on January 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

While I think that the Fed’s money printing operation is totally insane and ridiculous, the difference is that Congress empowered the Fed to control the monetary system and the ultimate power for our monetary system still resides with Congress. For the Treasury to take up money printing on its own (as it would require the Fed to print up the money to pay for the coins to put them into circulation) is for the Executive branch to take monetary power that it most definitely does NOT have and can never have.

True, all money printing is money printing and leads to the same problem but the power to print money lies only with the Congress (which enacted the Fed) and will never be with the Executive branch. It’s a serious difference … well, it would be a serious difference if the Constitution still meant anything in the American Socialist Superstate, but it doesn’t.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM

I’ve got to admit, I thought the “Charmin bears” bit was funny.

RoadRunner on January 8, 2013 at 6:05 PM

So Colbert is the voice of sanity on the left?

OK…

Kraken on January 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Trillion-dollar platinum coin idea now officially ridiculous

So? When has that ever stopped them?

Bmore on January 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Mint 16 of them in China!

Bmore on January 8, 2013 at 6:16 PM

I don’t need liberals like Stephen Colbert to tell me that.

Warner Todd Huston on January 8, 2013 at 6:23 PM

While we’re at it, I have a bunch of old Bill Clinton $3 bills I can mail in to help pay off the debt too…I mean, since we’re talking about just paying off the debt with fake money.

nextgen_repub on January 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

After the 2012 elections and (idiotically-named) Fiscal Cliff “win” wherein Obama forced a minority of Republicans in the House of Representatives to raise taxes on 77.1% of Americans, doing something this utterly braindead, boneheaded, and Banana Republicanistic will make Speaker John Boehner cry…WITH JOY.

Krugman and Nadler must want to get a Republican elected in 2016!

Resist We Much on January 8, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Be sure to put Caesar’s head on that coin.

disa on January 8, 2013 at 7:41 PM

So, you make the trillion dollar coin, then put it into the trillion dollar slots in Vegas. When it comes up with the jackpot, because it will, we’ll be able to retire the national debt and have plenty of money left over for hookers and blow.

Mr. D on January 8, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Mr D, that is a funny thought, but, after having been a slot tech for a number of years here, I have an even funnier one: They drop it into a trillion dollar slot, select one line- after all, just one coin at the line value- push the spin button, and it comes up bust.

I guarantee the Indian casino that now owns that coin will eventually twig on the fact that they just got back at The Man for 400 years of injustices, real and imagined ;)

BillH on January 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM

RWM rocks. ;) Is there ANY case law on this at all?

wolly4321 on January 8, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Sorry that I didn’t get back to your earlier. I had an appointment this afternoon. Thx for the “rocks.”

As to your question, not completely on point (of course, we’ve never had anyone propose to mint a $1 trillion coin out of thin air either), but Perry v. United States, 294 U.S. 330 (1935), makes it clear that it is CONGRESS’ power, not the President’s power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, etc.

Resist We Much on January 8, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I say we put sesquipedalian’s head on one side and nathor’s on the other. They can fight amongst themselves who gets to be heads and who gets to be tails.

I did not say their pictures, I said their heads. Anyone second the motion?

D-fusit on January 8, 2013 at 8:12 PM

i’ll always remember the time fondly when the tyler cowens of the world felt compelled to come out to declare their opposition to the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin.

sesquipedalian on January 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

…whose your dealer?

KOOLAID2 on January 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM

I wonder how much birth control that would buy if you put the coin in the slut?

trl on January 8, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Makes good sense: even back in 2008 (so long ago!) Obama was already associated with The Coin of Change.

Tzetzes on January 8, 2013 at 9:41 PM

How about putting Alfred E Newman on the coin, with the motto “What, Me Worry?”

disa on January 9, 2013 at 7:34 AM

I don’t know why everyone thinks the minting of $1trillion platinum coins would be absurd. Of course, it’s a good idea!
The government just needs to make sure each one is 3 feet thick with a 40 foot diameter, weighing in at 22,700 TONS of pure platinum (at the current price of platinum). Won’t have to worry about theft, either.

michaelo on January 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM