Kevin Drum is really breaking out the heavy ammunition in his Quixotic crusade to convince people who actually know what they are talking about that scuttlebutt re: a trillion dollar coin is
not legal not plausible proof that everyone needs to “get a grip” and stop, like, EMBARRASSING him — you guyz!!1:
Like it or not, the debt ceiling is legal. Congress has the power of the purse. On the other hand, using a ridiculous loophole in a statute about commemorative and bullion coins in order to evade the debt limit isn’t legal. Seriously, folks: just forget it. I know I’ll never have to pay up on a bet over this since it will never be tested, but this would go against Obama 9-0 if it ever made it to the Supreme Court.
It’s time to get a grip and leave the fever swamp thinking to the tea party. This whole thing is embarrassing. It will never happen; it’s an exercise in executive overreach that liberals are supposedly opposed to; and it would never make it past a judge.
And Drum knows this is fait accompli because he is (still) A. not a lawyer and B. not an economist and C. not precognitive (AFAIK), so all you lawyers and Nobel Prize-winning economists (and former heads of the U.S. Mint who, er, co-authored the law in question) who continue to say otherwise are FEVER SWAMPING, just like filthy, uncouth Teabaggers (ewwww).
Maybe we have finally reached the moment when Kevin Drum fully embraces his seemingly career-long destiny to mindlessly binge and purge rote conventional wisdom like a good little Beltway Broder also-ran — hey, it’s a living.
As for the coin idea itself, I’m with Jed Lewison:
[T]he idea of minting a trillion dollar coin is completely absurd. But it’s a heck of a lot less absurd than allowing Republicans to tank the national and global economy over a budget fight.
May it never come to that (and no, of course it won’t — on that front Drum & yrs truly are copacetic).
Update: via MoJo comments:
Note [Drum’s] shift to acknowledging that it is a “loophole”.
I’m pretty sure that if it’s a loophole in the law, then it’s legal. It can’t both be a loophole and illegal. Kevin seems to be saying that it’s illegal because it’s a loophole.
There’s some fever swamp thinking going on, alright.
(And it’s weird. It’s coherent to oppose the coin option and even strongly. But pushing the “plain illegality” is hackery and it’s hackery in the wrong direction!)
Update 2: Flashback — Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School, July 2011:
Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there’s a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time.
Ironically, there’s no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.
But but but FEVER SWAMP.