January 10, 2013

"The biggest and weirdest myth out there about the $1 trillion platinum coin is..."

Matthew Yglesias debunks a myth without establishing that anyone believes it.

Clue to Matt: No one believes it.

This is one of those glaring examples of the attitude of superiority leading to missing humor and subtlety. You may think you're smart, but it's not smart to assume other people aren't smart too. I recommend a working assumption that other people are smart, and when you think you're reading something ridiculously stupid, go through the exercise of reading it with the thought that the writer is wonderfully clever. This is especially important when you are reading something concise/elliptical. Look at every word. Think before you mock.

167 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

I like your recommendation, Professor.

I have been trying to follow a rule that seems similar: just say what you're trying to say. Lincoln, they say, is said to have said something like that 'tis better to keep your trap shut and be thought stupid than to spout off and remove all doubt. He was probably more profound and more profane at the time.

If Matthew Yglesias, Andrew Sullivan, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and their kind were to just open up, though they might reveal their inner workings. Could damage their business models.

DCS said...

Yglesius lives in an echo chamber. Lets face it. Not even being thumped for sport by a couple of black punks was enough to wake him up.

SteveR said...

Is that like the myth of the $900 Billion stimulus coin made of pork that was going to fix the economy.

drozz said...

zerohedge did great work on what it would take to back the 1 trillion dollar coin.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-04/putting-trillion-dollars-platinum-perspective

long story short, incredible devaluation of the US dollar would follow.

buy weapons, hoard gold.

EMD said...

I blame the Republicans for trying to be funny. They should know better.

drozz said...

BTW-a coin made out of platinum worth 1 trillion dollars, assuming the thickness of a silver dollar, would be around 2.18 miles in diameter. The coin would probably conform to the surface of the earth over time. Neat.

Not that I expect the government to issue such a coin, but I'm just throwing out there how much 1 trillion in platinum actually is.

EDH said...

when you think you're reading something ridiculously stupid, go through the exercise of reading it with the thought that the writer is wonderfully clever

Yea... I'm "wonderfully clever" ...yea, that's the ticket. Keep readin'.

JPS said...

drozz:

Right. What Yglesias doesn't get here is the assumption, "We would need this [impossibly huge] amount of platinum if we were to avoid devaluing the dollar catastrophically."

I've read some arguments, by people who know a lot more about economics than I do, as to why inflation won't result, if we play our cards right. To me it feels like seeing a presentation on a perpetual motion machine, created by someone who knows better, but has a sound grasp of physics.

If they present it cleverly enough, I may not be able to identify the catch - but I know there is one.

AllenS said...

One more time:

The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to time. [Emphasis added]

From the US Mint:

A bullion coin is a coin that is valued by its weight in a specific precious metal.

Matthew Yglesias is an idiot. I can see where garage got that idiotic idea about the amount of cotton in a $100 bill. A $100 bill is worth only what it can buy. What it could buy last year has no bearing on what it can buy this year. All metals have a value based on their weight.

The Secretary cannot mint a five ounce gold coin and have it stamped as worth one million dollars.

bpm4532 said...

It's not a devaluation, per se, that happens instantaneously, but it's an immediate increase in the money supply. With more money chasing the same goods, a rise in prices (inflation) based on US dollars is likely while prices based on other currencies may not change. The net effect is a devaluation.

However, it's effectively the same thing as the Fed's Quantitative Easing program, where instead of the government selling Treasury Notes/Bills/Bonds on the open market, the Fed is buying them directly and holding them.

As we are running large deficits AND the Fed is using QE to finance those debts, using the magic platinum coin approach is a little more honest about the reality that we're incurring debt we're never going to pay-off with taxes collected from the people.

Interestingly, the people WILL pay for it as their money is devalued, but as every dollar is devalued by the same amount, this is effectively a FLAT TAX (percentage) on everyone so it is fair and more economically efficient.

drozz said...

@JPS: exactly!

Mitchell the Bat said...

It would be no myth, however, to say that President Obama threw a platinum coin across the Potomac.

Nonapod said...

Interestingly, the people WILL pay for it as their money is devalued, but as every dollar is devalued by the same amount, this is effectively a FLAT TAX (percentage) on everyone so it is fair and more economically efficient.

Yeah it's essentially just an obfuscated tax. It's just too bad that most people fail to grasp this.

And Allen S., you should probably read this, here's the key point:

"As another aside, it’s worth pointing out that you can take a one ounce gold coin minted by the U.S. government to a bank and, since it says $50 on it, in theory, they’ll credit your account by that amount if you ask to deposit it since it is legal tender. Alternatively, you could take that same coin down to the local coin shop and the man behind the counter will eyeball it and then give you cash or a check for almost $1,700, so, there is already a precedent for a gaping difference between face value and “melt value” – the trillion dollar platinum coin just takes this to a whole new, absurd level."

Freder Frederson said...

The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins

Why emphasize "bullion" and not proof.

Hand it to Althouse's fan to contradict the point of this thread without even knowing. Obviously AllenS does believe something that Althouse claims nobody believes.

Bob Ellison said...

bpm4532 said "...using the magic platinum coin approach is a little more honest about the reality that we're incurring debt we're never going to pay-off with taxes collected from the people. "

There is value in that. People are mighty stupid. Imposing implicit long-term debts would be good.

You can't underestimate the stupid. People are really stupid. They will ignore long-term debt. They don't care about their children and grandchildren. It's horrible.

garage mahal said...

Matthew Yglesias debunks a myth without establishing that anyone believes it.

The NRCC believes it. They said the amount of platinum needed to mint a 1 trillion dollar coin would sink the Titanic!

CWJ said...

Bpm4532,

A flat tax perhaps. But it is neither an income nor consumption tax. Rather it is a direct tax on wealth already taxed in the past. Are you in favor of that?

edutcher said...

OK, I wonder who the Lefties have in mind for (Godwin Alert) if they're so hot to turn us into the Weimar Republic.

Dr Evil, mayhap?

PS You put Matthew Yglesias, Andrew Sullivan, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman in the same boat with Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity?

AprilApple said...

It's ironic that the Obama administration is behaving like ENRON before its collapse.

Brew Master said...

A couple of things:

It has already been noted that all the rounds of QE are already working to devalue the dollar.

The Platinum 'Con' is just a way around the debt limit. Devaluation is already the set policy, thus QEInfinity.

Also, the default position of leftists is mockery, as evidenced by the trolls that post here. Refusal to engage in substative debate of facts and ideas is the norm for them, thus they do not have to face reality, and mockery makes them feel smug and superior even though it has the direct opposite effect of making them ignorant.

It is a shame that it is pervasive. It contributes to degradation of civil society leading to eventual collapse. (I know Spengler has been all the rage on the intertubes lately)

dbp said...

It seems like there is a whole lot of intentional mis-understanding all around.

For bullion coins of gold and silver, the law spells out that the value should primarily derive from the content of precious metal. For platinum bullion coins, this is not spelled out. Hence the loophole that would allow a Trillion Dollar coin. But, bullion has a meaning so you should not have to also point out this meaning in a law for the word to mean what it means.

bpm4532 said...

CWJ: I wasn't commenting in favor of or against (though I think our level of debt and dishonesty about it is immoral). I was merely explaining an interesting point.

I content the platinum coin approach is identical to quantitative easing, except QE maintains the fiction that we will ultimately retire the debt, while the coin does not.

Further retiring the debt must be done through tax dollars collected via our current economically inefficient, progressive tax system. The platinum coin scheme is a flat tax at all income levels and economically efficient.

As democrats are opposed to flat tax systems, they should be opposed to the platinum coin scheme.

Hagar said...


I've read some arguments, by people who know a lot more about economics than I do, as to why inflation won't result, if we play our cards right. To me it feels like seeing a presentation on a perpetual motion machine, created by someone who knows better, but has a sound grasp of physics.

If they present it cleverly enough, I may not be able to identify the catch - but I know there is one. "
- JPS above

Right. This was what the housing bubble engineered by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd & Ass. was about, and the other schemes the Democrats are now floating is more of the same.

Tim Morris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Go ahead, Freder, tell me about proof coinage and why I should have emphasized it.

Tim Morris said...

He apparently thinks no one understands the difference between fiat money and "hard" money.

Hagar said...

Though I don't believe they have "a sound grasp of physics." There is more of a feeling that there somehow just must, must be gold in a pot at the end of the rainbow.

Seeing Red said...

Here comes more taxes and BTW - Hillary proposed this during Hillarycare if memory serves and the dems were on board then - via Drudge:

...Raising tax revenues without raising tax rates could take several forms.
One proposal popular with economists is treating some portion of employer-provided health insurance as taxable income on a filer’s tax return, an idea proposed by Hillary Clinton and accepted by many Democrats during the 2008 campaign. If a health plan is valued at more than $14,000, for example, the sum above that could be treated as taxable income....

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/01/09/179447/as-new-fiscal-crises-near-democrats.html#storylink=cpy

bagoh20 said...

What if we mint the coin, then insure it, then let someone steal it. Boom, real money!

Brew Master said...

This Platinum Con reminds me of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe technically) where Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect have made it back to Earth in prehistory with a crashed spaceship full of Golgafrinchans. This was a ship full of hairdressers, middle managers, telephone santizers, and the like, that were deemed useless by their parent civilization and shipped off in an Ark ship.

Once the Golgafrinchans arrived at Earth, they decided to set up a society, and deemed that leaves from trees were to be used as money. Everyone instantly became rich!

jr565 said...

As far as I can tell there is no actual platinum or actual money behind this coin. It's actual value is the value of what is needed to make coins. As the loophole requires platinum coins they could have the barest bit of platinum in the coin. They would simply give it a face value of a trillion and presto it's worth a trillion. The actual value of the coin though might be .037 cents.
Platinum is only required because the loophole requires there be platinum.(govt has created
Various commemorative coins usually with platinum and the treasury can
Make such coins of any denomination. Though it was never intended to be used as say a way to get us out of debt.
It's just a novel way to bypass the debt ceiling by generate a quick trillion in fake money.

AllenS said...

So, dbp, since it only talks about bullion coins of gold and silver, then why use platinum, why not use tin?

machine said...

"I don’t think it makes sense to think about this as some sort of “loophole” issue. Using the statute this way doesn’t entail exploiting a loophole; it entails just reading the plain language that Congress used. The statute clearly does authorize the issuance of trillion-dollar coins."

Balfegor said...

Re: JPS:

I've read some arguments, by people who know a lot more about economics than I do, as to why inflation won't result, if we play our cards right. To me it feels like seeing a presentation on a perpetual motion machine, created by someone who knows better, but has a sound grasp of physics.

If they present it cleverly enough, I may not be able to identify the catch - but I know there is one
.

This is something that has not been made particularly clear in any of the media presentations I've read, but here is my understanding from the last thread.

1. The $1 trillion coin itself would not enter circulation (obviously), but be deposited in the Treasury account at the Fed. Treasury would simply draw down on that account as needed.

2. Normally, that would lead to an expansion of the money supply because anything the Treasury draws out then enters circulation.

3. However, because the Fed has been buying up massive amounts of US treasuries (US debt) as part of Quantitative Easing, they can supply the Treasury's cash needs by reselling their stock of US treasuries onto the market. Thus, as a practical matter, for every dollar that goes to the Treasury, a dollar will have been removed from the normal money supply.

4. The Fed now holds $1.6 trillion in US securities, thanks to QE, so they can totally do this.

AllenS said...

I just remembered something and went up stairs and retrieved my 1994 Vietnam Veterans Memorial Silver Dollar that I was awarded.

Inside the beautiful green case it says UNITED STATES MINT, with a small tag that says Proof in italics.

Too bad it's not platinum. It could be worth like 250 billion dollars, man.

garage mahal said...

Whoever thinks the concept is money is silly, I'll get you my Paypal email address and you can send me all of that silly money.

Astro said...

No one on the left be-clowns themselves as much or as often as Matthew Yglesias does.
He's the 'Let's get Mikey - he'll eat anything' liberal writer.
Even Andrew Sullivan doesn't don the red ball nose and big orange shoes as much.

Brew Master said...

The edifice falls apart when you take it to extremes. We are 16 trillion in debt, therefore let us mint 16 trillion dollar platinum coins.

What makes this scenario laughable that doesn't hold for the single 1 trillion Platinum Con?

Balfegor said...

Re: JPS:

Incidentally, I think it becomes clearer if you think of the Fed and the US government as functioning sort of as one entity. The trillion dollar coin deposit would be an in-entity transaction, just moving notional amounts from one ledger to another. Similarly, when the Fed "buys" new US debt from the US government, it's an in-entity transaction. When the Fed then sells that US debt on the open market, however, it's like issuing new government debt.

The US government is barred by the Constitution from issuing new debt without Congressional authorization. But the Fed is not so bound -- the debt they're sort-of-issuing is debt the government already issued (to the Fed).

Bryan C said...

"The NRCC believes it. They said the amount of platinum needed to mint a 1 trillion dollar coin would sink the Titanic!"

Which is true, of course. If we were actually minting a coin with a $1,000,000,000,000 value that's how much platinum would be required.

It's absurd, but that's the point. Because merely refuting it forces people like Yglesis to argue that using their magic platinum penny with a pretend value of $1,000,000,000,000 to legally allow unlimited spending is somehow NOT absurd. Good luck with that.

Balfegor said...

Re: Brew Master:

The edifice falls apart when you take it to extremes. We are 16 trillion in debt, therefore let us mint 16 trillion dollar platinum coins.

What makes this scenario laughable that doesn't hold for the single 1 trillion Platinum Con
?

If the government minted $16 trillion in platinum coins to retire the debt, all of that $16 trillion would hit the money supply at once, triggering devastating inflation. Unlike with a single $1 trillion coin, QE has not given the Fed sufficient US treasuries to sell to offset the natural inflationary effect of adding $16 trillion to the money supply.

dbp said...

AllenS said...
"So, dbp, since it only talks about bullion coins of gold and silver, then why use platinum, why not use tin?"

The law singles out platinum, though the use of the word bullion implies that the face value should be commensurate with the value of the metal.

Aaron said...

Silver and gold coins often have a face value far below what the metal is worth.

What do you think the IRS taxes you on, the face value or the actual worth?

Mentioning the amount of platinum needed probably started out as a way to show how the coin was not backed by anything, and then people who didn't understand ran with it.

We don't have a gold standard or platinum standard so it need not be backed by anything at all.

Essentially, if it does not go into circulation in some way, its just an accounting trick.

They call accounting tricks "tricks" for a reason.

If Greece did this, would you feel this was totally legit? NO.

How about a company you owned stock in? NO.

Also, I believe if Treasury did this, it would set a precedent for them doing the same thing, except instead of sending the coin over to the Fed, they would send coins to the Bank of China to pay off our debt interest and principal as well.

dbp said...

Anyway, loophole or not, it wouldn't be constitutional.

I remember back when the line-item veto was overturned. The crux of the decision IIRC was that Congress cannot through a statute, give-up constitutional authority.

The constitution clearly gives Congress the power to authorize borrowing money. They cannot pass a law (short of changing the constitution) which removes this power, as the "loophole" would supposedly do.

Christian said...

When Canada minted "million dollar" gold coins they actually used a million dollars of gold.

Of course, what the left-ists are proposing is just to acknowledge that we invent money out of thin air and do exactly that.

This really exposes the point of the debate. Those concerned with the debt feel that this fabrication will eventually catch up to us, and the longer we wait, the worst the fall will be.

Those who feel that since the economy has run so well for 40 years based on the underlying assumption that the emperor has no clothes (as the worlds reserve currency we can invent as many dollars as we want) that we can not only acknowledge the emperor as no clothes, but parade him around on town to the entire world.

Ann Althouse said...

"Obviously AllenS does believe something that Althouse claims nobody believes."

Yglesias was probably talking about AllenS.

Ann Althouse said...

"The NRCC believes it. They said the amount of platinum needed to mint a 1 trillion dollar coin would sink the Titanic!"

They said what they said but if your "it" means what it should mean, they didn't say "it."

Balfegor said...

Re: Bryan C:

It's absurd, but that's the point. Because merely refuting it forces people like Yglesis to argue that using their magic platinum penny with a pretend value of $1,000,000,000,000 to legally allow unlimited spending is somehow NOT absurd. Good luck with that.

I think a key point that supporters of this idea ought to be emphasizing is that -- at least as I now understand it -- it doesn't allow "unlimited spending" at all. It's basically a one-off stopgap measure. Once the Fed runs out of US treasuries to sell, either the Executive has to go back to Congress and ask them to raise the debt limit, or the Executive has to risk triggering runaway inflation. That limit hits at $1.6 trillion, or a little over a year of deficit spending.

So it's actually much less of a circumvention of the Constitutional order than it looks like at first glance.

Ann Althouse said...

And obviously, I knew that NRCC thing, garage, because that's what Yglesias links to!

You are falling into the same trap he does. You think you are smart, but you fail to test whether the person you're talking down to is already ahead of you. That is so boring.

I am not willing to spell everything out, beat every point with a sledgehammer, so that supercilious lefties will see what I know.

You need to test out what you are about to say using the theory that that the person you are about to act smarter than doesn't have the jump on you.

I really am tired of looking at second rate crap from people who haven't done the reading.

Conserve Liberty said...

Subsequent to September, 2008 the Velocity of Money in (at least) the US economy declined from 3.31 to 1.78. That is, one dollar now changes hands in one year approximately 55% as often as it did before the current depression (make no mistake - this is a full-on depression). The Federal Reserve has simply inxcreased the supply of dollars in the economy such that the larger number of dollars, changing hands at the new reduced rate supports a reasonably vigorous GDP.

We won't see significant inflation unless and until the Velocity of Money increases (IF banks are lending more money than they are accepting in fresh deposits - not yet!!) AND IF the Federal Reserve does not respond to the increase by removing money from circulation (by selling bonds and driving interest rates up).

Krugman is a poseur, Nobel Prize be damned. The Fed must buy something with invented dollars to increase the money supply. Until the Debt Ceiling is reached, the Fed buys the Treasury bonds issued by the US Treasury to fund the deficit. Since Treasury won't be able to issue new net debt at the ceiling, there's nothing for the Fed to buy from Treasury - and no mechanism to fund the deficit.

The Platinum Coin does nothing.

CWJ said...

Bpm4532,

I see you dropped the word "fair" from your 9:51 response. I'll take that as your answer.

As to Democrats being naturally opposed, I wouldn't be so sure. Many of the Democrats natural constituents have little or nothing in the way of savings to be devalued. Among those most personally affected by devaluation regardless of source are those who've saved all their lives in the hope of remaining financially independent.

Not a statist's natural constituency.

Brew Master said...

If the government minted $16 trillion in platinum coins to retire the debt, all of that $16 trillion would hit the money supply at once, triggering devastating inflation. Unlike with a single $1 trillion coin, QE has not given the Fed sufficient US treasuries to sell to offset the natural inflationary effect of adding $16 trillion to the money supply.

If there are not enough QE treasuries currently issued then we combine it with 16 trillion worth of US treasuries to sell to offset?

Problem Solved?

Creating money by fiat will always have an inflationary effect, whether it is 1 trillion at a time, or 16 trillion at a time.

The consequences that will result are not limited to the balance sheet of the US government. The repercussions across the world of the US devolving into a sophisticated Zimbabwe are universally bad. Defaulting on our debt would have short term repercussions that are minor compared to the loss of faith in the US dollar.

This is all politics aimed at shoring up a welfare state that is impossible to sustain. This is the fact that refuses to penetrate. Tricks and gimmicks only make the inevitable end that much worse.

Bryan C said...

"Unlike with a single $1 trillion coin, QE has not given the Fed sufficient US treasuries to sell to offset the natural inflationary effect of adding $16 trillion to the money supply."

Ok. So we give the Federal Reserve Bank $16 trillion in Treasury securities next Monday. Then we mint the $16 trillion platinum coin on Tuesday.

chickelit said...

Platinum is a lousy choice for a metal for storing so much value. Pt is one of the most useful precious metals out there, unlike gold. To tie it all up would be to deprive industry and humanity of its utility.

I suggest they mint a plutonium coin instead because it can be made de novo from U-238 which is otherwise a waste product. It could be highly symbolic as well because the debt is so radioactive nobody wants to touch it.

purplepenquin said...

I am not willing to spell everything out, beat every point with a sledgehammer, so that supercilious lefties will see what I know

You know, rather than beleive, that nobody really beleives that if we mint this coin it needs to have a trillion dollars worth of platinum in it?

Wow, that's pretty damn clever of ya...or something.

chickelit said...

Plus wealth stored as plutonium could feed the lefty's notions of plutocracy.

garage mahal said...

You need to test out what you are about to say using the theory that that the person you are about to act smarter than doesn't have the jump on you.

So what is the NRCC's "jump" on us dumb lefties? Why shouldn't that statement be mocked? You don't explain, you only state that we shouldn't be doing it.

Brew Master said...

Ann Althouse said...
And obviously, I knew that NRCC thing, garage, because that's what Yglesias links to!

You are falling into the same trap he does. You think you are smart, but you fail to test whether the person you're talking down to is already ahead of you. That is so boring.

I am not willing to spell everything out, beat every point with a sledgehammer, so that supercilious lefties will see what I know.


Trolls will troll, that is what they do. Smug superiority in their beliefs leads them to be unable to question themselves. They deliberately avoid taking their opponents seriously, and they are unable to defend their positions with reason.

Thus always with the 'squirrel', or strawmen, or any number of deflection mechanisms.

Brew Master said...

reductio ad absurdum [rɪˈdʌktɪəʊ æd æbˈsɜːdəm]
n
1. (Philosophy / Logic) a method of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd
2. (Philosophy / Logic) a method of indirectly proving a proposition by assuming its negation to be true and showing that this leads to an absurdity
3. application of a principle or proposed principle to an instance in which it is absurd

Nonapod said...

If there are not enough QE treasuries currently issued then we combine it with 16 trillion worth of US treasuries to sell to offset?

Exactly. As long as we're continuing with these absurd hypotheticals, if there are insufficient U.S. Treasury Securities, what is stopping the government from simply issuing more (QE Infinity).

garage mahal said...

They deliberately avoid taking their opponents seriously, and they are unable to defend their positions with reason.

Hard to take a tweet seriously that has a picture of a giant coin sinking the Titantic. .

Not to mention the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending. Only borrowing.

Balfegor said...

Re: Brew Master:

If there are not enough QE treasuries currently issued then we combine it with 16 trillion worth of US treasuries to sell to offset?

Problem Solved
?

Well, no, because the whole reason they're talking about this weird scheme to mint a $1 trillion coin is because Congress is unwilling to raise the debt limit without some concrete evidence of efforts to restrain spending, which the President is totally unwilling to give. Pretty sure Congress is not going to agree to raise the debt limit by $16 trillion in one go.

Brew Master said...

garage mahal said...

Hard to take a tweet seriously that has a picture of a giant coin sinking the Titantic. .

Not to mention the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending. Only borrowing.


Prime example of 'squirrel' right here.

And spending does not = borrowing? Tell that to your credit card company. Or your mortgage company, or the holder of student loans.... OMG, why do I bother.

Balfegor said...

Re: garage:

Hard to take a tweet seriously that has a picture of a giant coin sinking the Titantic.

That might be a signal that the tweet itself is a joke . . .

Balfegor said...

Re: Nonapod:

As long as we're continuing with these absurd hypotheticals, if there are insufficient U.S. Treasury Securities, what is stopping the government from simply issuing more (QE Infinity).

President has to ask Congress pretty please raise the debt limit if he wants to issue more US debt. (We already hit the debt limit on December 31).

AllenS said...

The Titanic can't get more sunk than it already is.

Seeing Red said...

Via ZeroHedge:

As Der Spiegel reports, capital flight from Southern Europe has stopped and even slightly reversed in recent months. This is a belated reaction – so it is surmised – to the 'OMT' announcement effect. However, the move is still quite small at this stage, although we suspect that several officially unconcerned central bankers in the 'core' are letting out a sigh of relief that their TARGET claims haven't just risen even further. However, as Hans-Werner Sinn reminds us, the calming of the situation is entirely due to the risks having been shifted: "The debt crisis is eating its way ever further into the budgets of Europe's core countries," he says. "But policymakers are celebrating the obfuscation of this fact as a success...."

Seeing Red said...

When GM hits his ceiling, Brew, he just goes out and makes more money.


Spending doesn't matter to him.

Brew Master said...

Balfegor said...
Re: Brew Master:

Well, no, because the whole reason they're talking about this weird scheme to mint a $1 trillion coin is because Congress is unwilling to raise the debt limit without some concrete evidence of efforts to restrain spending, which the President is totally unwilling to give. Pretty sure Congress is not going to agree to raise the debt limit by $16 trillion in one go.


But, if there are 16 trillion worth of platinum coins deposited, this reduces the debt limit by the same amount, as they are held as 'assets'. Thus the draw can take place up to as many coins as you can stamp out.

Thats the whole point of putting a fiat 1 trillion extra as an asset is to lower the 'debt' level. If this can be done with a single coin, this can be done with 100 trillion $1 trillion coins. We can eliminate taxes at this point because the government can fund everything by minting coins, lowering our debt level to keep it below the borrowing limit by providing itself assets that can be drawn upon.

Instant Zimbabwe.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

Not to mention the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending. Only borrowing.


How fucking dumb can someone actually be?

Andrew Koenig said...

Once upon a time, I published a magazine article about a purported new software product that could achieve apparently miraculous results in the area of software verification. The product came from a small company that had originally wanted to call itself Veritas ("truth" in Latin) but found that the name was already taken; so they called themselves Eritas instead.

I carefuly described the product in such a way that anyone with a computer-science degree should have known was impossible: To make it work would have required solving a famous problem--the Post Correspondence Problem--for which it had long been proven that no solution was possible.

Nevertheless, I got some earnest requests from readers for more information about the product. To those readers, I pointed out:

1) The company's name spelled backwards is "satire."

2) The first letter of every word in the article's title spelled "April Fool."

3) The first letter of every word of the article's section titles spelled "April Fool."

4) The first letter of every word in the first two paragraphs spelled "April Fool," as did the first letter of every word in the last two paragraphs.

Most readers were satisfied with this installation, but one was so angry at being had that he cancelled his subscription.

Balfegor said...

Re: Brew Master:

But, if there are 16 trillion worth of platinum coins deposited, this reduces the debt limit by the same amount, as they are held as 'assets'. Thus the draw can take place up to as many coins as you can stamp out.

Ah, I see what you are saying. But you can't avoid the inflation if you do that to the tune of $16 trillion. There is a mechanism to avoid inflationary expansion of the money supply if you keep below the amount of US gov't debt the Fed already holds and can sell.

garage mahal said...

How fucking dumb can someone actually be?

You should ask that question of yourself. Daily.

The debt ceiling limit does NOT prevent borrowing for new spending.

That picture of the Obama coin sinking the Titantic is a good microcosm of the right wing cartoon media.

Nonapod said...

Balfegor said...
President has to ask Congress pretty please raise the debt limit if he wants to issue more US debt. (We already hit the debt limit on December 31).


So, as you said before, the whole trillion dollar coin scheme is effectively an accounting shell game so they can get around the debt limit for another few months... which theoretically wouldn't cause inflation since no new money would really be introduced to the public money supply... but a bunch of U.S. Treasury Securities would be sold to whomever would buy them.

Sorry if I'm simply restating what you already said but it helps me make sense of this nonsense.

Brew Master said...

Balfegor said...

Ah, I see what you are saying. But you can't avoid the inflation if you do that to the tune of $16 trillion. There is a mechanism to avoid inflationary expansion of the money supply if you keep below the amount of US gov't debt the Fed already holds and can sell.


This is do believe is the main problem that is ignored. Who will keep buying, or where will new buyers come from when devaluation is the policy.

Resulting feedback will increase borrowing costs when buyers insist on a better return on their devalued dollars. Debt service payments begin to skyrocket, and with the amount of debt we currently hold, paying an extra 1% to service that debt will destroy the economy of this country.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

The debt ceiling limit does NOT prevent borrowing for new spending.


Apparently you're way, way fucking dumber than first thought.

geokstr said...

Professor:

If you really believe that nobody really believes the "trillion dollar coin" myth, go to your main competitor, the Volokh Conspiracy, with the comment stream populated by supposedly highly intelligent lawyers, law professors, and laymen, tops in their fields. Most of the comments are from leftists who dominate their comment threads, and they, to a man, support this idea, rationalize it, and as usual, blame it all on the Republicans.

The Platinum Coin Ploy

Is the Platinum Coin Ploy Legal?

garage mahal said...

Apparently you're way, way fucking dumber than first thought.

You mean: You weren't aware of that fact because the stupid wingnut drivel you read isn't interested in actual facts. Only rhetoric.

Balfegor said...

Re: Nonapod:

Sorry if I'm simply restating what you already said but it helps me make sense of this nonsense.

Yes, that's my understanding. Could be wrong! But following some of the comments in the previous thread, that's now my understanding.

Re: Brew Master:

This is do believe is the main problem that is ignored. Who will keep buying, or where will new buyers come from when devaluation is the policy.

Resulting feedback will increase borrowing costs when buyers insist on a better return on their devalued dollars. Debt service payments begin to skyrocket, and with the amount of debt we currently hold, paying an extra 1% to service that debt will destroy the economy of this country
.

I do find it difficult to believe that the Fed won't have to sell at a steeper discount, and that it won't produce higher borrowing costs when we do resume issuing new net debt.

bagoh20 said...

You can see here why some smart people are not really much help a lot of the time. Being smart is their goal, outcome be damned.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

You mean: You weren't aware of that fact because the stupid wingnut drivel you read isn't interested in actual facts.


Hysterical.

You actually believe you posted a "fact"

Isn't that cute.

jacksonjay said...

Let's talk about short pants!

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

The debt ceiling limit does NOT prevent borrowing for new spending.


Please stupid shit, then explain why they are raising the debt limit.

I can't not wait to read all about your fact filled explanation.

Really, I can't.

Balfegor said...

Re: Jay:

Please stupid shit, then explain why they are raising the debt limit.

Because he's playing a word game. He doesn't consider spending "new" if it's spending that's previously been authorised under the continuing resolutions or appropriations bills, even if the spending hasn't actually taken place yet.

wyo sis said...

How smart do you have to be to outsmart yourself? And, if you can outsmart yourself with a fiction, how can you be sure you're outsmarting anyone else?

Seeing Red said...

Hmmm, I was going to ask GM what he considers "new" spending. I thought it was an odd word.

OTOH, he never did explain if he ever had debt or not.

Methadras said...

This is one of those glaring examples of the attitude of superiority leading to missing humor and subtlety.

I think you've succinctly described not only Yglesias, but leftists in general.

garage mahal said...

Please stupid shit, then explain why they are raising the debt limit.

To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.

Rusty said...

I really am tired of looking at second rate crap from people who haven't done the reading.


Yes, Ms Althouse.
It won't happen again Ms. Althouse.
Is this going to be on the test Ms Althouse?

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.


HA HA HA HA HA

HA HA HA HA HA


HA HA HA HA HA

You're a fucking moron.

Why don't you tell us when the current "appropriations" expire, dipshit.

And then, when you have that nailed down maybe you can figure out the debt ceiling limit won't be reached until past that point in time.

But of course that would require Not copying and pasting silly bullshit you read on left wing Web sits.

You're dumb.

Rusty said...

purplepenquin said...
I am not willing to spell everything out, beat every point with a sledgehammer, so that supercilious lefties will see what I know

You know, rather than beleive, that nobody really beleives that if we mint this coin it needs to have a trillion dollars worth of platinum in it?

You mean it does?

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.


As a point of fact, "past Presidents and Congresses" can't obligate discrentionary spending.

You're an embarrassing dipshit.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

"I really am tired of looking at second rate crap from people who haven't done the reading."

Professor Althouse bitchslaps Garage in the mug.

Garage reminds me of a special subset of gunners in law school, always running their mouth, but just repeating senseless nonsense and basically wasting both the professor and the rest of the classes time. While in school they had some value in avoiding being cold called when hung over or slacking off, here in Professor Althouse's digital playground you serve only the purpose of being a target for mockery.

Like her repeated digs at your weight problem in the choice of stories she links to.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.


I can't believe someone would comment on the topic and be so ignorant.

I wonder if fat, stupid garagie ever bothered to ask himself why Congress does yearly budgeting.

Nah, that would require not pasting silly drivel from left wing Web sites.

Seeing Red said...

Ahhh, the dirty little secret about those "appropriations."

If the agencies don't spend it by the end of the year, what happens to their funding the next year?

It's not like there haven't been any articles over the years about it.

So Garage is defending all the partying on our dime, eh?

Jay said...

So since silly, fat garagie beclowned himself, let's help him:

Appropriations

The discretionary spending decisions made by the budget resolution are implemented through the annual appropriations process. The Senate and House Appropriations Committees have the jurisdiction of discretionary spending while individual committees of jurisdiction oversee direct spending. The President requests appropriations in his budget request, and federal agencies provide analysis and materials on behalf of the President in support of these requests. However, the appropriations process is exclusively a legislative power. The appropriations process typically starts in the House, although recently this precedent has not always been followed. Before the full House or Senate votes on an appropriations bill, it must be considered by the appropriate Appropriations subcommittee.

The three types of appropriations measures are regular appropriations, supplemental appropriations and continuing appropriations. Regular appropriations provide funding for agencies over the course of the federal fiscal year, from October 1 – September 30. Supplemental appropriations provide budget authority for areas that have insufficient funding during the fiscal year, such as for military expenses or disaster relief. Continuing appropriations provides top-gap funding for agencies that have yet to receive regular appropriations


See garagie "Past Presidents and Congress" don't appropriate discrentionary funds outside of the yearly process.

So you can like shut the fuck up now.

Jay said...

Oh and by the way, the way the federal government spends money is:

Authorization --> Appropriation ---> Obligation ---> Outlay

So you can like shut the fuck up now, stupid shit.

Hagar said...

Not to mention the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending. Only borrowing.

So, Garage, what do you think they are going to do with the money they "borrow"?

EMD said...

Hard to take a tweet seriously that has a picture of a giant coin sinking the Titantic. .

Exactly! Stop trying.

Mark said...

Wow Ann, classy place you run here.

Commenters like Jay really show how 'good faith' commenting is done.

'Shut the fuck up, stupid shit' ... Yep, that encourages conversation.

EMD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

The real question is whether or not Mark will defend Inga when the veracity of her offspring is questioned.

Rich B said...

I love watching garage squirm as he attempts to defend the indefensible. When you are being beaten up, time for a strategic retreat. Alternatively, we you have yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Jay? More venom, less charm (than GM).

Jake Diamond said...

edumbshit is an idiot.

jacksonjay said...

Schoolmarm:

"I really am tired of looking at second rate crap from people who haven't done the reading."

Student:

I did the reading in my sleep, ma'am!

garage mahal said...

When you are being beaten up, time for a strategic retreat.

I guess, if you call someone burping in your face as being "beaten up". I honestly don't even know what his argument even is between the brutal typos and ad hominems.

Levi Starks said...

I must be missing something,
Because I thought that yesterday was the day we discussed the relative merit of the trillion dollar coin.
Today I thought the point of the discussion was whether there was any merit in our having had the discussion.

Michael said...

Garage: You are kidding, right? You are asserting that the debt ceiling is a concept independent of borrowing?

Michael said...

Garage: You are kidding, right? You are asserting that the debt ceiling is a concept independent of borrowing?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Garage:

The reason yor gotcha on the RNCC doesn't work is that -- if you follow Professor Althouse's rule, you will see that GOP's point was not, you MUST have all that platinum in the coin to do it (which is what Matt Iglesias' citation implies they mean)' but that they were emphasizing, vivdly, the wide disparity between the coin's face and intrinsic value, in order to make the point about the problem of that.

Get it?

Maybe you don't think such a disparity matters, but you can allow that others do, and their thinking so doesn't make them idiots?

Balfegor said...

Hmm. As I read more about this, I am coming around to the view that the "bullion" argument may be correct.

Levi Starks said...

'Wow Ann, classy place you run here "

Well Mark I guess someone needs to let you in on a little secret, Ann really doesn't run the place. I'm not saying it's impossible to get banned, but we're all adults, and capable of walking away anytime we want.

damikesc said...

Wow Ann, classy place you run here.

Commenters like Jay really show how 'good faith' commenting is done.

'Shut the fuck up, stupid shit' ... Yep, that encourages conversation.


Ah, passive-aggressive troll is unhappy.

Garage is a moron. People need to stop coddling him on it.


garage mahal said...

You are asserting that the debt ceiling is a concept independent of borrowing?

It is borrowing. [raising the debt limit allows the Treasury to borrow for past spending. Not raising would prevent the borrowing]. The debt ceiling is independent of future spending and revenue legislation.

Brew Master said...

Balfegor said...
Hmm. As I read more about this, I am coming around to the view that the "bullion" argument may be correct.


I hadn't read the new updates on the Volokh piece. Interesting distinction between commemorative, and circulating. If what is laid out in the links to the report from former US Mint official the platinum con is not legal, and in fact utterly pointless to attempt.

garage mahal said...

Get it?

I get your argument, but I'm not buying that was the intent of that tweet/pic.

"The amount of platinum needed to mint a coin worth 1 trillion dollars would sink the Titanic".

Chip S. said...

raising the debt limit allows the Treasury to borrow for past spending

You were doing ok yesterday. Not so much now.

Past spending already got paid for by past taxes and past borrowing. New borrowing is necessary to pay for new spending, including servicing that old debt.

That's "new" as in, "not yet having been spent," not "not yet having been dreamed of".

Brew Master said...

Correction to my above, it is 'legal' per se, just not worth doing as the US Mint must be given the cash to make the coin legal tender. Until the Mint is paid the face value of the coin, it is nothing more than shiny metal.

Seeing Red said...

Who needs a debt ceiling? It worked for sub-prime mortgages.

Oh, wait.

X said...

garage mahal said...

Hard to take a tweet seriously that has a picture of a giant coin sinking the Titantic.


it wouldn't need that much platinum to sink it. it had a huge hole in the side.

Levi Starks said...

"It is borrowing. [raising the debt limit allows the Treasury to borrow for past spending. Not raising would prevent the borrowing]. The debt ceiling is independent of future spending and revenue legislation."

I must say that I really love the argument that we're only asking congress to pay for the bills they've all ready agreed to pay. it almost works.

I just have one simple question, since everything congress does has a price tag attached to it, and we are already in debt beyond our means to pay, wouldn't the logical thing be to dissolve congress?
Does it make sense to allow congress to obligate us for further future debt?

Chip S. said...

garage, assuming that you do understand why the magic coin trick can only be done once, why do you think it's worth the appearance of absurdity?

Why do you think it's such a great idea to kick the can one year further down the road?

It's not like Obama won't still be prez then, thereby having evaded any gutsy calls.

Seeing Red said...

GM pulls the victim card.

This is brutal? Next thing ya know, he'll be wagging the finger of shame.

Michael said...

Garage: but you assert that the debt ceiling does not stop the government from borrowing did you not? Is that not what you meant when you wrote:"The debt ceiling limit does NOT prevent borrowing for new spending." Can the "new spending" be used to pay old debts with the newly borrowed funds? Does the new debt not count toward the "debt ceiling?" If it does not then why does the old borrowing count against the "debt ceiling?"

You should really read the very short article at the link. It is not complicated.

AJ Lynch said...

Smug, fat & almost effeminate is no way to go through like Matt.

AJ Lynch said...

That goes for you too Ezra except for the fat part.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
I honestly don't even know what his argument even is between the brutal typos and ad hominems.


As I made quite clear, you're silly and full of shit.

This statement:
garage mahal said...

To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.


Is abjectly false.

False.

Get it, dumbass.

Jay said...

And since you're obviously border line retarded. This statement:

garage mahal said...
The debt ceiling is independent of future spending and revenue legislation.


Is complete and utter bullshit.

The debt ceiling is being raised so Congress can continue spending in the future.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
[raising the debt limit allows the Treasury to borrow for past spending.


Bullshit.

"past spending" has already happened.

You're either so dumb you can't comprehend the federal budget process or you're so dumb that you simply past stupid bullshit from left wing blogs.

I already provided the appropriations process as a reference for you, yet you pasted the same stupid bullshit.

What do you think that says about you?

Rich B said...

X-

Pretty funny. I guess it only takes an Obama to sink the US - it has a hole in it. Two holes will do the trick.

garage mahal said...

Can the "new spending" be used to pay old debts with the newly borrowed funds?

New spending [new legislation] that hasn't happened yet? I don't think so.

MayBee said...

Surely, our president is not seriously considering this option.

We would be a laughingstock.

garage mahal said...

garage, assuming that you do understand why the magic coin trick can only be done once, why do you think it's worth the appearance of absurdity?

I've already said the coin was absurd. Not anymore absurd than not raising the debt ceiling though, which we've done over 70+ times. Which would come as quite a shock to Jay, who I think is claiming we don't have any bills or debt to pay?

Anthony said...

Yglesias' biggest mistake is his last sentence: "Even under the gold standard the value of coins was a pure legal convention."

No, no it wasn't. Back in the 1870s, U.S. paper notes traded at a discount to gold coinage - I've seen magazines with the price in gold and "paper money at the current exchange rate". A gold eagle was worth something because it contained a specific amount of gold at a specific fineness. A $10 bill was only worth something because people believed that banks or the treasury would give them gold in exchange for it, and in the 1870s, that confidence, damaged by the Civil War inflation, wasn't fully restored.

Strelnikov said...

I don't know. That process could make some things Joe Biden has said incorrectly appear sensible or, even less likely, humorous.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Garage:

Ok, but the key word in the NRCC's tweet was "worth."

Now it may be they are so dumb That they think the whole $1 T coin was supposed to have that much intrinsic worth; but I don't buy that. It may be they were trying sleight of hand--changing the terms of the proposal and hoping no one catch it, in which case they were dumb to think they could get away with it-- but I do believe the tweeter could be that dumb. The third option is they actually intended to make the argument they accidentally made.

Now, the curious thing is, by using the word "worth," they did make a real argument--even accidentally; and they even got dopey Matt Yglesias to take the bait. So if they were dumb, they were "dumb like a fox."

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Since the debt ceiling has been raised over 70x, who really thinks it won't be raised again?

Just remember, the financial markets consist of people who hold wide range of beliefs and fears. They aren’t all partisan hacks looking to make political statements. They have been through these negotiations before. They know what to expect. The magic coin gimmick opens a whole new frontier of potentially negative surprises that would likely entail enormous unintended consequences. I can’t see Obama being dumb enough to bite on this.

garage mahal said...

Ok, but the key word in the NRCC's tweet was "worth."

I bet the person that wrote that tweet would gladly accept large denomination currency from the federal government, and wouldn't question its "worth". They would spend or invest it without thinking about it. Anyways, not a big deal either way. Was just a tweet.

damikesc said...

Not anymore absurd than not raising the debt ceiling though, which we've done over 70+ times. Which would come as quite a shock to Jay, who I think is claiming we don't have any bills or debt to pay?

The President opposed raising it.

I think he was onto something.

Called somebody unpatriotic for adding 4T to the debt.

Think he had something with that, too.

AllenS said...

Why doesn't Obama just write (on behalf of the United States) an IOU? Wouldn't that be the same thing?

AllenS said...

From a while ago...

Freder Frederson said...
Why emphasize "bullion" and not proof.

I answered you, you dumb fool. Where did you go? Have nothing more to say? You opened your mouth and inserted your typing fingers.

AllenS said...

When this platinum coin is minted, how much will it weigh? What will be stamped on it? Will only one be issued? If so, who will be allowed to bid on it?

jr565 said...

Garage mahal wrote:

Not to mention the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending. Only borrowing.

why are we borrowing again? Isn't it because we've spent money? So how does it not have to do with spending? If we don't spend more than we took in we wouldn't need to borrow.

jr565 said...

Jay wrote;
I wonder if fat, stupid garagie ever bothered to ask himself why Congress does yearly budgeting.

Nah, that would require not pasting silly drivel from left wing Web sites.

NOT THIS CONGRESS! not in four years. Maybe the reason garage isn't asking about it is because they haven't done it in so long.

Revenant said...

buy weapons, hoard gold.

If you plan on buying weapons you're a little late to the party. Stores are pretty nearly sold out.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
Which would come as quite a shock to Jay, who I think is claiming we don't have any bills or debt to pay?


I've said no such thing.

The fact that you can't grasp what an appropriation actually is, and don't know the difference between an appropriation, budget, and outlay speaks volumes about you intellect.

So why are you commenting, stupid shit?

Revenant said...

Just picture it -- a trillion dollars and you can fit it in your pocket.

Where would you ever be able to keep it? What guards could you possibly hire, when the simple act of (for example) pocketing a coin and hopping a plane to China would instantly make any one of them the richest man in the history of Earth?

When you say "well, they could never deposit it" -- sure they could. It is legal tender; that's the whole basis of this weird end-run around the debt ceiling. The US government would be legally obligated to exchange $1 trillion in cash for it.

Sam L. said...

Well, if I print my own $10 bills, and 10 will get me a $100 at the bank, I'm good!. Until the T-Men come for me

Lyle said...

Matthew Yglesius has gotten too far ahead in life for anyone's good.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Please stupid shit, then explain why they are raising the debt limit.

To allow the Treasury to borrow the funds to finance spending that past Congresses and presidents have already appropriated.


That is no longer necessary in the face that the treasury has been printing money ad naseum regardless of what the debt ceiling has been.

miss j said...

This shows a rare insight into a repeated problem of yours. Bravo.

betamax3000 said...

It'll end up in a Treasury Department vending machine on some lunch break, and -- BAM! -- we will now have a trillion dollar bag of Cheetos.

Jack said...

I recommend a working assumption that other people are smart, and when you think you're reading something ridiculously stupid, go through the exercise of reading it with the thought that the writer is wonderfully clever.

Um, Ann, I hate to tell you, but if you took your own advice and thought your readers were smart (or "clever"), you would not have destroyed your own reputation (except among the howling tea party base) by making up all your lies about Hillary Clinton, about onion rings, about Benghazi, about NIG on pajamas, about Obama leering at a teen girl with Sarkozy, and so on -- to say nothing of your own supposed moderation.

The fact that you think you can make up bullshit and sell it to reasonable people is what has distinguished your entire blogging career, and marked you as little more than a wingnut, Limbaugh wanna-be.

betamax3000 said...

It seems a waste to set up the minting press to strike one single solitary coin.

Perhaps we can follow up with 100,000 Limited Edition zinc commemorative coins: for the bargain price of $250 one can have a replica of the only trillion-dollar coin in existence, right there on the mantle. It'll even come with a Certificate of Authenticity robo-signed by the Head of Treasury himself! If you hurry now we will toss in an acrylic display case for only $50!!

Seerak said...

But when someone advances this exact same argument against a return to the gold standard (the idea that there isn't enough gold in the world), I bet Yglesias nods sagely.

Seerak said...

It's basically a one-off stopgap measure

Like the income tax.

EMD said...

pocketing a coin and hopping a plane

The TSA would grope it out of you.

Jum said...

But it's an article of liberal faith (if I might use that term which is offensive to so many of them) that each is the smartest person in the room. As well as the most sensitive, noble and honorable.

Just accomplishing a little ego-reduction for many on the left would greatly reduce the acrimony and snark of so much of their commentary.

Jum said...

But it's an article of liberal faith (if I might use that term which is offensive to so many of them) that each is the smartest person in the room. As well as the most sensitive, noble and honorable.

Just accomplishing a little ego-reduction for many on the left would greatly reduce the acrimony and snark of so much of their commentary.

JustOneMinute said...

From the prof herself:

"I am not willing to spell everything out, beat every point with a sledgehammer, so that supercilious lefties will see what I know. "

Which is where we differ - I am more of the No Dead Horse Left Behind, Unbeaten school. To coin a trillion dollar phrase.

So when Matt Yglesias himself enlightened us yesterday with two new silly posts, I relied on two hundred sentences to accomplish what could have been done in two.

His first effort explained that the goal of the platinum coin program (part of the bullion program) was to exploit the seigniorage associated with stamping coins.

Oops - when one takes 3 cents worth of bronze and copper and stamps it into a quarter with a legal tender value of 25 cents, the Mint profit by fiat since the coin can now be sold for 25 cents.

But in the bullion coin program, the Mint takes an ounce of gold worth $1,6000, stamps it into a coin with a face value of $50, and... sells it for $0 to collect the seigniorage? Hardly - they sell it for the gold bullion value plus a mark-up for production, marketing and admin costs. No seigniorage, but Matt is still learning while educating the rest of us.

His next effort reprised the theme of his "Myth" post, but this time the target was the sillies at Fox News who think a bullion coin has to be valued by the weight of its bullion. If only they understood that a law that calls for a "bullion coin" means whatever Matt in his ignorance thinks it means.

Henry said...

Is there any reason the treasury can't print a coin that just says "more"

Skookum John said...

@bpm: Interestingly, the people WILL pay for it as their money is devalued, but as every dollar is devalued by the same amount, this is effectively a FLAT TAX (percentage) on everyone so it is fair and more economically efficient.

True.

As democrats are opposed to flat tax systems, they should be opposed to the platinum coin scheme.

Not exactly. The Democratic Party is composed primarily of government employees, transfer payment recipients, and urban professionals who spend every dollar they make to maintain a suitable Manhattan/Malibu lifestyle. Their incomes will by and large rise in lockstep with the inflation rates via COLAs.

This platinum coin trickery, like the planned inflation the Fed has been inflicting on us since we went off the gold standard back in 1970 or so, is intended to loot wealth already saved by those who lived within their means, large or small, so they could be independent of the statists in their twilight years.

The Democrats are the party of Grasshoppers, and the Republicans at least claim to be the party of Ants. Who benefits more from this Zimbabwean cluster fuck?

A. Dumas said...

I have a real problem with the idea of a $1 trillion coin: do you have any idea how long you would have to wait at the coke machine for your change?

If the machine could spit out 1 quarter every second, you would still be there for over 126,000 years...your coke would be warm by then.

no, bad idea, definitely a bad idea, that coin...yeah...

David said...

I have a quantum coin.
When I look at it, it appears to be a U.S. quarter.
However, when you observe it, it will look like a trillion-dollar coin.
For sale, cheap.

David said...

I have a quantum coin.
When I look at it, it appears to be a U.S. quarter.
However, when you observe it, it will look like a trillion-dollar coin.
For sale, cheap.

Don M said...

Also note that as the platinum coins or quantitative easing XXVI take hold, more people will be subject to the millionaires tax. You know the one that only affects the millionaires? well, millionaires are the new middle class. Congratulations, School teachers are now millionaires. Truck drivers are now millionaires.

But gas is now 40 dollars a gallon and subcompact cars are 500,000 dollars dollars each.

Eric said...

I don’t think it makes sense to think about this as some sort of “loophole” issue. Using the statute this way doesn’t entail exploiting a loophole; it entails just reading the plain language that Congress used. The statute clearly does authorize the issuance of trillion-dollar coins

Sure, as long as you wish away the word "bullion". Unfortunately, it's right there in the text of the law.