Debt Wish: Vacations and Magic Coins

Debt Wish: Vacations and Magic Coins

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SHOT: Pentagon Takes “First Tangible Step” In Preparation For Sequester: “Defense SecretaryLeon Panetta directed the military Thursday to begin taking what he called ‘prudent’ cost-saving measures to mitigate the impact of sequestration, including freezing civilian hiring, delaying certain contract awards and curtailing nonessential facility maintenance. The order amounted to the first tangible step by the Pentagon to brace for the impeding cuts, which Mr. Panetta, until recently had hoped to avoid.” (Adam Entous, Panetta Orders First Concrete Sequester Steps,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/10/13)

CHASER:  Sequester Offsets Taking A Back Seat To A Magic Coin: “What if Washington’s next debt clash, widely expected to be as bitter as the ‘fiscal cliff’ fight, could be resolved with the minting of a $1 trillion coin?  That is the idea being pushed by a handful of policy wonks and columnists, and it has caught the attention of lawmakers even though it is an unlikely solution.” (Eric Morath, “‘Joke’ Solution to Debt Clash Gets Serious Study,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/7/13)

Debt Wish: Vacations and Magic Coins

The U.S. could hit the debt ceiling as early as Feb. 15, but Washington doesn’t seem to be too worried.  All that hard work to avoid the fiscal cliff at 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day—two hours after the technical deadline—was tiring. So Congress decided to take the week off. After all, why would anyone worry about the debt ceiling when we’ve just discovered we can make a magic $1 trillion coin to fix all our troubles? 

CONGRESS TAKES WEEK OFF, LEADERS PLAYING WEEKS AWAY FROM DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN

Congress Takes a Week Off. (Daybook, National Journal

  • “We’re not working four or five days a week, like everybody else in America. The fact is, Congress is not governing.” – Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN). (Catalina Camia, “House Democrat Blasts Light Work Schedule,” USA Today, 1/8/13)

Joe Biden Heads to the U.S. Virgin Islands For Four Days. “Vice President Joe Biden, after helping pull the nation off the fiscal cliff, istaking some time off. He and wife, Jill, are headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for four days, the White House announced.”(Donovan Slack, “Biden Heads to the Tropics,” POLITICO, 1/4/13)

Boehner Travels to BCS National Championship. “After a few rough weeks, still-reigning House speaker John Boehner hopped a flight to Miami to catch tonight’s BCS national championship game.” (Joe Coscarelli, “John Boehner Turns to Alcohol, Football in Florida,” New York Magazine, 1/7/13)

Obama Meets with Cast of NBC Series at the White House. “Members of the new NBC sitcom “1600 Penn” will visit the real 1600 Penn on Wednesday, as President Obama will host a private screening for the cast and crew.” (Emily Yahr, “President Obama to Host ‘1600 Penn’ Screening at the White House,” Washington Post, 1/9/13)

MEANWHILE, LAWMAKERS SUGGEST USAGE OF “MAGIC COIN” TO PAY OFF NATIONAL DEBT

Some Lawmakers Spent The Break Arguing The Merits Of A Trillion Dollar Coin That Started As A Joke:

Original Concept Was “A Joke.” “Cullen Roche, founder of Orcam Financial Group in San Diego, was among the first to float the concept [of minting a trillion dollar coin]. … ‘It’s funny that it became as mainstream as it has,’ he said. ‘We were kicking the idea around as a joke.’” (Eric Morath, “’Joke’ Solution to Debt Clash Gets Serious Study,” Wall Street Journal1/7/13)

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY): “I’m Being Absolutely Serious. … It Sounds Silly, But it’s Absolutely Legal.” (Ginger Gibson, “Trillion Dollar Coin: Funny Money or Real Solution?,” POLITICO1/9/13)

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR): “This Scheme To Mint Trillion Dollar Platinum Coins Is Absurd And Dangerous, And Would Be Laughable If The Proponents Weren’t So Serious About It As A Solution.” (Rachel Weiner, “Lawmaker Wants to Ban Trillion-Dollar Coins,” Washington Post, 1/7/13)

“Surprisingly Serious Proposal” … “Political Equivalent of the Nuclear Option.” “The trillion dollar coin is emerging as a surprisingly serious proposal by the political left to avoid the looming fight over the debt ceiling. It’s also the political equivalent of the nuclear option — something that may be technically practical, but would lead to all kinds of unpredictable political fallout.” (Aaron Blake, “Trillion Dollar Coin: The New Nuclear Option,” Washington Post1/9/13)

The New York Times‘ Paul Krugman: “Should President Obama Be Willing To Print A $1 Trillion Platinum Coin If Republicans Try To Force America Into Default? Yes, Absolutely.” (Paul Krugman, Opinion: “The Conscience of a Liberal,” New York Times, 1/7/13)

And The White House Won’t Rule It Out:

National Journal: “@nirajc: Carney Will Not Take The $1 Trillion Coin Off The Table.” (Niraj Chokshi, Twitter1/9/13)

POLITICO: “White House Won’t Rule Out $1 Trillion Coin.” (Jennifer Epstein, “White House won’t rule out $1 trillion coin,” POLITICO, 1/9/13)