Quick Debt Ceiling Fix: $1T Coin

Or, Obama could just raise limit himself

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 7, 2013 12:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Think the whole debt-ceiling debate is silly? Paul Krugman does, too, and he's been pushing an admittedly "silly" way out of it. A legal loophole intended for making commemorative coins, he writes in the New York Times, could come in handy: Thanks to the rule, the US Treasury is legally allowed to mint coins of any denomination. And "by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling—while doing no economic harm at all."

Sure, it's a "gimmick," but it makes as much sense as the debt ceiling, which lets Congress "tell the president to spend money, then tell him that he can’t raise the money he’s supposed to spend." Over at Slate, Eric Posner offers another option: President Obama can just raise the debt ceiling himself. After all, as Krugman notes, Congress is giving Obama two different instructions. It's the president's responsibility to choose which one to follow. Then there's the argument that the 14th Amendment "says that the debt of the United States will always be paid," an argument that the Huffington Post notes Nancy Pelosi likes. Obama should "just go do it," she told Bob Schieffer yesterday.

In this Jan. 1, 2013 photo, President Obama and Joe Biden make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff.
In this Jan. 1, 2013 photo, President Obama and Joe Biden make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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