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1 John Vreeland  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 3:45:41pm

My reading of the relevant law in this case is that it would have to be a bullion coin, meaning that the vast majority of its value would have to be intrinsic to the metal of its construction. Or maybe they could make a it a commemorative coin instead, to commemorate the record high deficit.

2 stabby  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 6:01:42pm

re: #1 John Vreeland

If you’re right then the law can’t be used.

That is what Fox will claim in any case, because otherwise the tea party* nuts don’t have the power to end medicare, social security, the EPA, etc.

*Tea Party: The Fox News Micky Mouse Club

They originally thought they could do that by taking the house since the house is the source for spending authorization - but the Obama administration responded by not making budget and simply continuing to use the previous, sane, house’s spending authorization.

Now they’re hoping to use their power to stop paying our debts to send us back to 1900.

They probably wish that the debt ceiling stopped new borrowing instead of stopping PAYING our debts, but they’ll take what they can get.

Note that if we default and the interest rates on our debt goes up, then our economy will be ruined for the rest of our lives, the world economy will crash and the US will lose its place as an important economic power. The Chinese press already can’t resist telling its billion readers that the US no longer has a viable government.

3 stabby  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 6:02:49pm

In short they’re not being stupid, they’re being manipulative.

4 EPR-radar  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 6:36:33pm

Oddly enough, the simplest approach I can think of is the one I have not seen mentioned at all.

Congress has set tax rates and made appropriations that are inconsistent with the debt ceiling. If Congress is stupid enough to pass inconsistent laws, the Executive gets to choose how to “faithfully execute the laws”.

So, I’d like to see the administration treat the debt ceiling as a nothing-burger. No coin trick. No reference to the constitution. Just blow it off.

5 lostlakehiker  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 10:30:22pm

re: #4 EPR-radar

Oddly enough, the simplest approach I can think of is the one I have not seen mentioned at all.

Congress has set tax rates and made appropriations that are inconsistent with the debt ceiling. If Congress is stupid enough to pass inconsistent laws, the Executive gets to choose how to “faithfully execute the laws”.

So, I’d like to see the administration treat the debt ceiling as a nothing-burger. No coin trick. No reference to the constitution. Just blow it off.

Actually, there is no inconsistency. There is no statutory obligation to pay social security or medicare benefits at the current rate. Many other spending programs are likewise not debts of the government.

The legal course of action, if the debt ceiling were to be reached, would be to cut spending on all these optionals, while servicing the debt to the letter and to the penny. The president, who is sworn to uphold and defend etc. and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, would then have the duty to take care that the laws, as written, be faithfully executed. The constitution itself positively insists that the debts be payed without question or delay. It does not insist that other spending programs go on as if cash had not run out.

Now whether draconian cuts to all other spending are a good idea? That’s another question entirely. They are not. They’re a very bad idea.

The markets would crash. The economy would follow. Our defense system would lose essential people, who cannot forever work without pay. Valuable infrastructure would go untended; penny wise and pound foolish “savings” would have to be found. It would be grossly irresponsible to force the government into such a fix.

But the fault for the cuts would lie with the people who voted to not raise the debt ceiling, and not with the president. His hands would be clean.

No coining of trillion dollar baubles would wash. That would make a laughingstock of our currency and our leadership.

If the president were to decide that the constitution is a mere scrap of paper, that would have incalculable consequences for the nation; that, too, would be a very bad idea. But the fault, in that case, would rest with him. How could he do that? How, after taking Lincoln for a model? Lincoln, who refrained from wartime measures that he could not find real justification for in the constitution? Who limited his emancipation proclamation to states still in rebellion, despite his private views that slavery was an evil across the board? Who allowed a pro-surrender candidate to campaign for the presidency, knowing the nation would be lost if that candidate won? Lincoln understood that winning ugly would destroy, in the long run, what he was trying to save with the war.


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