Is the platinum $1 trillion dollar coin scheme being bounced around as a ploy to counter Republicans threat to refuse to increase the debt ceiling, taking politics into the realm of the absurd? Yes, of course it is…but I’m still with Paul Krugman on this one.
Should President Obama be willing to print a trillion dollar platinum coin if Republicans try to force Americans into default? Yes, absolutely. He will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives, one that is silly but benign the other that is equally silly, but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.
Republicans, of course, are crying bloody murder and one House member, Greg Walden, is proposing to introduce a bill that would outlaw the minting of coins as a means to balance the budget.
“This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren’t so serious about it as a solution. I’m introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks,” Walden said in a statement issued on Monday. “My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt.”
The irony in Walden’s statement is astounding. Republicans feel no shame in proposing to force a default on America’s economic responsibilities by refusing to increase the debt ceiling. This is their way of blackmailing the president into passing their wishlist of economic policies. And somehow, in their twisted view of reality, this is not “absurd and dangerous”…but issuing a $1 trillion dollar platinum coin is?
Look, the $1 trillion dollar coin is dumb but you have to keep in mind that you’re dealing with a political party that has become completely unhinged and divorced from reality. There is no playing nice with Republicans. There is no sitting down with them and discussing important matters in an adult and rational manner. You can (and should, I imagine) try but don’t become flustered when you walk away completely flustered and covered in slime.
A $1 trillion dollar platinum coin? Sure, why not. If it does little more than screw with Republicans’ heads, then it’s a worthwhile effort.