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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:48 AM

Krugman: Be Ready To Mint That Coin [View all]

Be Ready To Mint That Coin

Should President Obama be willing to print a $1 trillion platinum coin if Republicans try to force America into default? Yes, absolutely. He will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives: one thatís silly but benign, the other thatís equally silly but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.

For those new to this, hereís the story. First of all, we have the weird and destructive institution of the debt ceiling; this lets Congress approve tax and spending bills that imply a large budget deficit ó tax and spending bills the president is legally required to implement ó and then lets Congress refuse to grant the president authority to borrow, preventing him from carrying out his legal duties and provoking a possibly catastrophic default.

And Republicans are openly threatening to use that potential for catastrophe to blackmail the president into implementing policies they canít pass through normal constitutional processes.

Enter the platinum coin. Thereís a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collectorís items ó but thatís 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 ó while doing no economic harm at all...So if the 14th amendment solution ó simply declaring that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional ó isnít workable, go with the coin.

- more -

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/be-ready-to-mint-that-coin/



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