Friday, January 04, 2013

platinum baby, platinum!

while this blog lacks the might of atrios, i hereby endorse this petition. go sign it. i posted about this a few times last july, but this is basically how the platinum coin trick would work.

signing the petition can't hurt. after all, it got us a death star.1

UPDATE: via memeorandum i see that kevin drum says the coin trick is not legal. drum argues that even though the trick could be done under a literal reading of the statute, it is not legal because that legal provision wasn't intended to be used to allow the executive branch to unilaterally head off a debt ceiling crisis. that is a plausible legal argument, but i don't think it is a clear winner for the reasons outlined by lizardbreath. statutory provisions are regularly used in ways that are different from their original intended purpose. unless there is some ambiguity about what the statute means, a court usually won't look into the purpose or policy reasons behind the law.

and the bottom line is that no court is going to rule against the president if he goes with the coin plan. let's play the scenario through: the administration orders the minting of a $1 trillion coin. the coin is deposited in the fed and $1 trillion of debt disappears. the GOP is furious and goes to court to have the move declared illegal. is a judge really going to invalidate the coin and order the u.s. government into default? (because by then the debt ceiling deadline would probably have passed) keep in mind that because of section 4 of the 14th amendment, a default of the u.s. government is arguably unconstitutional. i just can't see that happening, though i could imagine the republicans trying to argue in the political sphere that the move was illegal and would be grounds for impeachment. but impeaching a president for avoiding an economic disaster is not going to go anywhere.

1- longtime readers will not that i already used that joke last month. luckily, i don't have very many (readers, not jokes. okay, maybe jokes too)