Video: Paul Krugman versus Jon Stewart on the trillion-dollar platinum coin

posted at 9:31 am on January 14, 2013 by Allahpundit

Skip to 3:00 for an instant classic of the last-days-of-the-republic genre, as a Nobel prize winner scolds a comedian for not taking the idea of a magical coin seriously enough. I joked last week after Colbert’s bit on the coin that if Stewart ended up goofing on it too, that’d be the coup de grace for liberal/media opinion. Lefty pundits seemed to sense that as well: Krugman wasn’t the only commentator to post something grouchy on Friday about Stewart having misunderstood what the coin was supposed to do. Is that right, that he didn’t understand it? Or was he just trying to steer them away from a political disaster in the making a la saner liberals like Ezra Klein?

Minting the coin would interrupt that process, uniting Republicans — and many voters and business groups — against what they would see as an unsettling, illegal and inflationary power grab from the executive. And if you think the press spreads blame too equally over the debt ceiling, wait till you see the coverage if the White House decides to respond by creating a trillion-dollar coin out of nothing. You can explain the basic logic of fiat currency until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not going to matter. That coin would drive our country’s increasingly deranged politics, which are really at the heart of this crisis, to the edge.

I think that minting the coin could go quite badly, while the debt-ceiling fight would likely end quite well, with Republicans finally admitting they’re not willing to allow default. And forcing the Republican Party to accept a more normal approach to politics is, in the end, the main objective. That doesn’t mean Washington will enter an Edenic period of cooperation and compromise. Republicans would probably just content themselves with threatening more ordinary government shutdowns. But that itself would be a real advance.

Stewart’s core brand, remember, is “sanity,” so this was a heavy lift for coin fans twice over. You can’t wave an idea this goofy in front of a comic sensibility, even a lefty one, and not expect it to bite. It literally doesn’t pass the laugh test.


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…they want the coin for a butt plug!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Mint 16, all in China.

Bmore on January 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Sorry, can’t watch Krugman. This support for a trillion-dollar coin cements a career built on Voodoo economics.

itsspideyman on January 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Krugman has that: “I like to sharpen a machete while talking to it” look on his face; the strange light in his eyes is creepy.

Bishop on January 14, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Ezra Klein? Voice of reason? When did we step throuh the loking glass?

BigGator5 on January 14, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Ezra Klein? Voice of reason? When did we step throuh the loking glass?

BigGator5 on January 14, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Klein isn’t a sane liberal. He’s a SanER liberal. As in not quite as insane. I can buy that as long as one accepts sanity as a matter of degrees.

gryphon202 on January 14, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Odd how a fanatic of the fiat money system could be so in love with the idea of a precious metal backed fix for terrible fiat spending.

Oh wait, its Krugman, the Austrian’s kicked his butt.

Speakup on January 14, 2013 at 9:50 AM

AP’s out of bed early.

Doughboy on January 14, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Stewart’s core brand, remember, is “sanity”

How does he manage to do this?

MT on January 14, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Krugman whines, ” I’m smart da**it… Or something!” As he continues to try to hold on to sinking ships and ideas.

Logus on January 14, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Rocking that “pedo-smile” again, eh GRUKMAN?

Jeddite on January 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM

The coin really would be like the Emperor’s New Clothes in that it would be worth a trillion dollars only as long as everyone went along with the belief that it was worth a trillion dollars. But given how much of our debt is owned by foreign governments and individuals, just because Paul Krugman or the Obama White House says our debt ceiling problem is solved because we have a trillion dollar coin in the back doesn’t mean they have to believe our credit’s still good because we have a trillion dollar coin in the bank.

Stewart’s doing the Democrats a favor by ridiculing this to the point the idea becomes dead and impossible to resurrect, while Krugman’s ego and hatred for his ideological opponents really makes him believe if his side points at a chicken and calls it an elephant, that makes it so.

jon1979 on January 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

And forcing the Republican Party to accept a more normal approach to politics is, in the end, the main objective.

Notice that even while these hypocrites are complaining about partisan politics… they still manage to include some partisan insults.

Newsflash for Ezra: It’s the SPENDING, stupid. Branding your political opponents as somehow ‘abnormal’ while continuing to ignore the fact that our current spending is UNSUSTAINABLE is what’s crazy. So, if you’re going to try to be the poster-boy for Sanity… next time, bring some along.

Murf76 on January 14, 2013 at 10:12 AM

AP’s out of bed early.

Behind the power of “genius”-level stupidity.

calbear on January 14, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Krugman debate

Welcome to KrugmanDebate.com, your headquarters for the Murphy-Krugman Debate! Robert Murphy has a PhD in economics from New York University. He is a firm believer in the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which blames the boom-bust cycle on the Federal Reserve, not the free market. In contrast, Paul Krugman–Nobel laureate in economics, and writer for the New York Times—is a Keynesian economist who thinks the Fed and the government can jumpstart the economy out of recession by printing more money and increasing the deficit.

Murphy has challenged Krugman to a public debate on Austrian vs. Keynesian business cycle theory. He has set up a campaign, which currently has raised $60,000 in pledges. If Krugman actually debates Murphy, then the money goes to a food bank in New York City. If Krugman never debates, no one’s credit card is ever charged; people are only going to be charged for their pledge, when Krugman actually debates.

Dante on January 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM

At $1600 per ounce, a trillion dollar platinum coin would weigh 19,532 tons and be almost half the size of the Washington monument.

WyattsTorch on January 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

I think that minting the coin could go quite badly, while the debt-ceiling fight would likely end quite well, with Republicans finally admitting they’re not willing to allow default. And forcing the Republican Party to accept a more normal approach to politics is, in the end, the main objective. That doesn’t mean Washington will enter an Edenic period of cooperation and compromise. Republicans would probably just content themselves with threatening more ordinary government shutdowns. But that itself would be a real advance.

How pathetic is it that *this* is what passes for “saner liberals”.

Be afraid.

Midas on January 14, 2013 at 10:41 AM

And if you think the press spreads blame too equally over the debt ceiling, wait till you see the coverage if the White House decides to respond by creating a trillion-dollar coin out of nothing.

In that sense, the trillion dollar magic coin is the perfect metaphor for the 0bama presidency. All glitter and shine, no substance.

UltimateBob on January 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM

At $1600 per ounce, a trillion dollar platinum coin would weigh 19,532 tons and be almost half the size of the Washington monument.

WyattsTorch on January 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Uh, no.

You are assuming that a trillion dollar coin needs to be made of a quantity of metal equivalent to the worth of the metal. Not true.

In terms of it’s legal tender worth, a $1 coin would still be a $1 coin whether it was made of silver or aluminum.

UltimateBob on January 14, 2013 at 10:51 AM

At $1600 per ounce, a trillion dollar platinum coin would weigh 19,532 tons and be almost half the size of the Washington monument.

WyattsTorch on January 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

The trillion-dollar-coin people don’t want the coin to be made out of a trillion dollars’ worth of platinum. A quarter isn’t made of 25 cents’ worth of copper and nickel, and a hundred-dollar-bill isn’t made of $100 worth of paper and ink, either. They’d be fine with the coin containing an ounce of platinum or less, as long as it has “United States of America — One Trillion Dollars” imprinted on it.

I would like to know if the trillion-dollar coin would be equivalent, in inflationary terms, of printing 10 billion hundred-dollar bills. My understanding is that it would be inflationarily equivalent, and the only reason people like Krugman want to use a coin is that there is a statute which allows the Secretary of the Treasury to have platinum coins minted in any denomination, whereas Treasury can’t just print paper money without the cooperation of the Federal Reserve.

J.S.K. on January 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM

You are assuming that a trillion dollar coin needs to be made of a quantity of metal equivalent to the worth of the metal coin. Not true.

Corrected myself.

UltimateBob on January 14, 2013 at 10:57 AM

I would like to know if the trillion-dollar coin would be equivalent, in inflationary terms, of printing 10 billion hundred-dollar bills. My understanding is that it would be inflationarily equivalent…

J.S.K. on January 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM

That is my understanding as well.

UltimateBob on January 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Krugman is such an idiot economist, that he doesn’t even understand the basic foundations of an economy. Minted coins or dollars are only worth something if all parties agree to it and recognize it as being of value. While HE may be dumb enough to accept a coin at face value, regular Americans (even liberals) understand there is something blatantly wrong with a “trillion dollar coin”. Minting a “trillion dollar coin” would completely destroy any trust in the value of our currency, prompting a massive increase in straight bartering or alternate forms of currency (like ammo).

dominigan on January 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM

We always knew the Soviets would just print more money.

John the Libertarian on January 14, 2013 at 11:33 AM

“my offer to you is nothing”… Obama shill.
-
“There’s a reason we’ve gotten to this place” (the coin)… Yup, it the spending stupid.
-

RalphyBoy on January 14, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Jon Stewart is more “genuine”, than Paul Krugman.

What does that tell ya’?

Nothing else needs saying . . . . .

listens2glenn on January 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

He is a firm believer in the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which blames the boom-bust cycle on the Federal Reserve, not the free market. In contrast, Paul Krugman…

Dante on January 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Dante, NEVER make definitive statements about The Ferret. It’s obvious that you’re not familiar with his record, which is “if you don’t like what I’m saying now, stick around for a while and watch me do a 180…”

Krugman on the role of the Fed in the boom-bust cycle:

“The fact is, all these promises are silly: Administrations don’t cause recession and recoveries–if anyone is in charge of the business cycle, it’s the nonpartisan technocrats at the Federal Reserve.”

- Paul Krugman, 1 May 1995

Resist We Much on January 14, 2013 at 11:40 AM

And forcing the Republican Party to accept a more normal approach to politics is, in the end, the main objective.

In short, we are all supposed to stop pointing out the fallacies in policies based on progressive dogmas, theories, and “feelings”, and just agree to whatever fantasy they are pushing at any given moment. Even or especially if it directly contradicts their fantasy of five minutes ago.

Somehow, I suspect Kipling’s Gods of the Copybook Headings will be profoundly unmoved by Krugman’s definition of “normal politics”.

I know I am.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Oh My God.

It’s Like this Video come to Life.

Bulletchaser on January 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Sorry, can’t watch Krugman.
itsspideyman on January 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Me Neither

Looks like they floated the balloon and had to sink it

For some reason this put a bee in Krugman’s bonnet. Where Krugman puts his bonnet is anyone’s guess, but the bee must have had a field day. Feel sorry for the bee.

entagor on January 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Mugabe just prints some cash when he needs it too.

Why shouldn’t we?

BobMbx on January 14, 2013 at 1:43 PM

But Ezra still manages to slip in the “Republicans need to admit that they won’t let us default” line of attack, which is so much manure. There is zero possibility of default under any scenario, as debt service has first priority over revenues, and revenues are more than sufficient to cover debt service.

Progressive Heretic on January 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM

” a la saner liberals like Ezra Klein?”

This defines Allahpundit completely. He really belongs on Gawker much more than he belongs here.

whatfur on January 15, 2013 at 7:23 AM

We need to send $1,000 to every Aemrican every month until dependency and inflation cease to grip the land!!!

abobo on January 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM