Thursday, October 3, 2013



Finger pointing in the current Government shutdown accompanied by all the media blabber serves no real purpose. One needs to get down the real internal facts of the struggle to determine fault.

First; the Republican strategy of making The Affordable Health Care Act a chess piece to be toppled as the price for a budget deal is both without precedent and is a strategy destined for humiliating defeat. 

One can site all the statics of support or opposition to the legislation but when clearly evaluated the no-support figures fall off quickly as those who don’t understand the facts are educated on the realities of the legislation as opposed to the fear mongered FOX media fairy tales. Plus there is the overwhelming fact that every American really does need healthcare insurance and those who would argue otherwise as simply not in touch with reality.

The Republican Party is going to take a real hit on this one as The President holds all the trump cards. The Republicans are already feeling the heat from a very ill-advised strategy and President Obama has already made the move to couple any deal with the “Debt Ceiling Issue” that comes up on October 17.  The end run has already been made. America does not need to either go through this piece of Washington nonsense twice or for any duration.

John Boehner is going to take a real hit, as he should, and perhaps it is the last signal that he knows that he is done and is not going to seek re-election and thus feels free to walk away from a responsible budget strategy and exercise, vent all of his real venomous hatred of the President.

But let’s look inside of the Republican Caucus machinations, and yes all the Tea Party bellowing and blame. There are 201 Democrats in The House and 234 Republicans. Of that 234 there are 49 members of “The Tea Party Caucus : Michele Bachmann, Minnesota, Chair ,Joe Barton, Texas, Gus Bilirakis, Florida, Rob Bishop, Utah, Diane, Tennessee, Michael C. Burgess, Texas, Paul Broun, Georgia, John, Texas, Bill, Louisiana, Howard Coble, North Carolina, Ander Crenshaw, Florida, John Culberson, Texas, Jeff Duncan, South Carolina, Blake Farenthold, Texas, Stephen Fincher, Tennessee, John Fleming, Louisiana, Trent Franks, Arizona, Phil Gingrey, Georgia, Louie Gohmert, Texas, Vicky Hartzler, Missouri,Tim Huelskamp, Kansas, Lynn Jenkins, Kansas, Steve King, Iowa, Doug Lamborn, Colorado,Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri, Kenny Marchant, Texas, Tom McClintock, California, David McKinley, West Virginia, Gary Miller, California, Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina, Randy Neugebauer, Texas,Rich Nugent, Florida, Steven Palazzo, Mississippi, Steve Pearce, New Mexico,Ted Poe, Texas,Tom Price, Georgia,Phil Roe, Tennessee,Dennis A. Ross, Florida, Ed Royce, California, Steve Scalise, Louisiana, Pete Sessions, Texas, Adrian Smith, Nebraska, Lamar S. Smith, Texas, Tim Walberg, Michigan, Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia and Joe Wilson, South Carolina.

These people cherish the media spotlight and the pronouncement of their power. In this fray they could be easily ignored and a budget deal could be struck. The deal could do some constructive things like manage expenditures of the government, end sequestration which has like a stilettos wound been a slow but certain hemorrhage on the American Economic Recovery. 

But no; these are the same Tea Party Republicans that rejoiced in the defeat of the Farm Bill in June and embarrassed Republicans on a national level are once again sowing the seeds of discord and threatening to turn a chance of regaining the Senate into a scenario in which the GOP could potentially lose the House in 2014.  The Tea Party may claim that Americans want a government shutdown, but wake up and smell the coffee — your caucus is disillusioned and has lost the PR war on every single front.

The Tea Party caucus may point to the 1995-1996 government shutdown  as a precedent that will give Republicans broader electoral possibilities. They are wrong.  Americans are tired of dealing with government shutdowns every six months and are just ready to return to normalcy. A government shutdown at this point in time is sure to cripple any chance Republicans had at capturing the Senate in 2014.
The defeat of the Farm Bill was not a victory to celebrate. It was shameful.
In a time when Republicans are vulnerable after losing the popular vote in the last four out of five presidential elections and are likely to lose the 2016 presidential election, party unity and cohesion are what is needed to carry the conservative message into the 21st century.  In their crazed glazed eyed ideological obsessions; they believe every vote can be an Obama coup d’état and another step in the dismantling of the government to near anarchist levels.
Some of their own GOP colleagues have come to call them “crazy.” Others accused them of being “lemmings” who are leading the Republican Party off a cliff. But on Tuesday, the first day of a government shutdown, members of the Tea Party wing of Congress were by turns combative, defiant, defensive, and resolute; in other words, business as usual for them. They remind me of Pinky and The Brain.
One after another, in front of the bank of television cameras lining a hallway of the Capitol basement on their way into a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, the lawmakers continued their single-minded quest to dismantle “President Obama’s health care law” – even though their 40-plus previous attempts have failed, led to the current impasse, and contributed to a shutdown that furloughed 800,000 federal workers and additional economic and employment collateral damaged being recognized by the hour.
“Conventional Political Wisdom” around here, even in the face of the real plan of these people, is counting on a rebellion is the Republican Caucus that will bring them around to a sane and soon deal. They point hopefully to the polls that now show the Republicans taking the blame this morning to the tune of 72% and the fact that 17 Republican House members seem ready to throw in the towel on “The Boehner Strategy” :
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.): “At this point, I believe it’s time for the House to vote for a clean, short-term funding bill to bring the Senate to the table and negotiate a responsible compromise.” [Press Release, 10/1/13]

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.): “Time for a clean [continuing resolution].” [Official Twitter,10/1/13]

Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.): “Enough is enough. Put a clean [continuing resolution] on the floor and let’s get on with the business we were sent to do." [Burlington County Times, 10/1/13]

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.): A Fitzpatrick aide tells the Philadelphia Inquirer the congressman would support a clean funding bill if it came up for a vote. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/1/13]

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.): Barletta said he would "absolutely" vote for a clean bill in order to avert a shut down of the government. [Bethlehem Morning Call, 10/1/13]

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.): King thinks House Republicans would prefer to avoid a shutdown and said he will only vote for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, according to the National Review Online. [NRO, 9/30/13]

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): The California Republican told The Huffington Post he would ultimately support a clean continuing resolution. [Tweet by The Huffington Post's Sabrina Siddiqui, 9/30/13]

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.): “I'm prepared to vote for a clean [continuing resolution].” [The Huffington Post, 9/29/13]

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.): A Wolf aide told The Hill that he agrees with fellow Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R) that it's time for a clean continuing resolution. [The Hill,10/1/13]

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.): A Grimm aide told The Huffington Post that the congressman supports a clean continuing resolution. [10/1/13].
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.): A local news anchor in Minnesota tweeted that Paulsen told him he would vote for a clean resolution if given the chance. [Blake McCoy Tweet, 10/1/13]

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.): A constituent of Wittman's sent The Huffington Post an email she got from the congressman indicating he would vote for a clean funding bill but hasn't had "an opportunity to do so at this point." [10/1/13]
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.): LoBiondo told The Press of Atlantic City he'll support "whatever gets a successful conclusion" to the shutdown and a clean funding bill "is one of those options." [The Press of Atlantic City, 10/1/13]

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.): Forbes told The Virginian-Pilot that he supports the six-week clean funding bill that passed in the Senate. [The Virginian-Pilot, 10/2/13]

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.): The congressman issued a statement saying he would "vote in favor of a so-called clean budget bill." [Office of Rep. Jim Gerlach, 10/2/13].

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.): Lance's chief of staff confirmed to The Huffington Post that he told a constituent on Wednesday that Lance has voted for clean government funding bills in the past "and would not oppose doing so again should one be brought to the floor." [10/2/13]
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho): Simpson told a Roll Call reporter Tuesday night, "I'd vote for a clean CR because I don't think this is a strategy that works." [Daniel Newhauser Tweet, 10/1/13]

Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.): Young told Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary that he's ready to vote for a clean funding bill. "The politics should be over," he said. "It's time to legislate." [Alex Leary Tweet, 10/2/13]

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.): The congressman told Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo that he would vote for a clean funding bill, provided it has the same funding levels contained in the Senate-passed bill. [The Miami Herald, 10/2/13]

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.): "I would take a clean (continuing resolution)." [Observer-Dispatch, 10/2/13]

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.): A Davis constituent tells The Huffington Post that a Davis aide told him Wednesday, "Congressman Davis is prepared to vote 'yes' on a clean CR." Asked for comment, Davis spokesman Andrew Flach told HuffPost that Davis isn't "going to speculate" on what bills may come up in the House and "will continue to vote for proposals brought to the floor that will fund the federal government." [10/2/2013].
But there is more to Boehner’s intransience and very flawed judgment and strategy selection, and one has to question seriously what is going on with this man; is it his last hurrah and hate; is the bottle speaking again or is bereft of any real leadership skills or sense of statesmanship?
It would be hard to believe that he is afraid of moving against his Tea Party faction given the damage they have done to the party and the failure rate of those who have left the caucus for bigger and better things, ie., : 
Rodney Alexander - Resigned from the House in September 2013 to become Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jim DeMint - Resigned from the Senate in January 2013 to become President of the Heritage Foundation.
Todd Akin - Ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2012
Dan Burton - Retired in 2012
Wally Herger - Retired in 2012
Sue Myrick - Retired in 2012
Denny Rehberg - Ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2012
Roscoe Bartlett - Defeated in 2012 general election
Sandy Adams - Lost renomination in 2012
Jeff Landry - Lost renomination in 2012
Cliff Stearns - Lost renomination in 2012
Joe Walsh - Defeated in 2012 general election
Allen West - Defeated in 2012 general election
Pete Hoekstra - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the Michigan gubernatorial election, 2010
John Shadegg - Retired in 2010
Todd Tiahrt - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the Senate in 2010
Zach Wamp - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2010
Parker Griffith - Lost renomination in 2010.

Let us look now behind the scenes at the reality of what has happened and the real culprit who has Boehner’s ear and whose strategy Boehner has embraced with an apparent  “Death Grip”.  The answer?

Mark Meadows, who represents the western part of North Carolina and has wielded his influence behind the bright lights of the television cameras and the hot microphones,. In August, while lawmakers spent time in their districts, Meadows wrote a letter to his Republican leaders suggesting they tie the dismantling of Obamacare to the bill that funds the government for the next year.The man behind the government shutdown

The letter read: "James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58 that 'the power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon... for obtaining a redress of every grievance...'"

Meadows successfully convinced 79 of his colleagues to sign on to his letter. And he went further, leading a group of 40 lawmakers to demand that the continuing resolution, or the short-term government funding bill at issue, zeroes out funding for President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement so far.

In a lengthy interview with CNN, Meadows explained his case.
"Our intent has never been to shut down the government," Meadows said. "It's to stop the [health care] law."

Republican leaders in the House were reluctant and dismissed the plan -- at first. Speaker John Boehner and many Republicans believed the strategy could lead to shutdown as the Democratic-led Senate would never agree to such a plan.

Additionally, leaders believed that Republicans would be blamed for a shut down. Polling backs up their concern. A recent CNN/ORC International Poll indicated that 51% of respondents would blame Republicans. That's a political risk that leadership didn't want to risk.

Even though Meadows' letter doesn't represent a majority of the caucus, it was a factor in persuading Boehner to reverse course and put forward a plan that funds the government but defunds Obamacare.

Meadows said he understands that "leadership has a different responsibility." And that leadership is responsible for thinking about the party. "This type of vote could potentially hurt our long term goals. I understand that," he said.

But he said that's not his concern.

"My job first is to make sure I represent the people back home," Meadows said. "I don't believe that when I get here that people expect me to look at the political implications. That's for somebody else to focus on."

For him, getting rid of Obamacare is priority No. 1. "[T]o ignore that would be to ignore our duty to represent the people back home," he said.

"For me it's about representing the 749,000 people I was elected to represent," Meadows told CNN in his small Capitol Hill office. He said his constituents want him to fight against Obamacare "regardless of consequences."

Meadows represents a conservative constituency. He was elected in 2012 and succeeded Democrat Heath Shuler, who decided not to run for reelection after the latest round of redistricting made the district swing heavily Republican.

Meadows won by 15 percentage points. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the district with 61% of the vote, an impressive outcome in a state he won by 1 point.

But there's more to the story. Meadows works very closely with the tea party groups and he is a conduit to their agenda. In fact, his catapult from local businessman to elected official was launched with the help of local tea party groups. He underwent a vigorous interview process with the North Carolina-aligned tea party groups that included an intense vetting and interviewing process.

Jane Bilello, head of the Asheville, North Carolina, tea party group and its separate political action committee, said it is to ensure candidates "truly represents who we are and what we want them to do." Bilello is pleased with Meadows' job performance so far. She said Meadows is "turning out to be our poster boy."

On the issue of Obamacare, "he truly represents us," Bilello said.
Well-funded national tea party-aligned organizations, such Freedom Works, are also watching closely.

Like Bilello's organization, they hold lawmakers accountable. Not only do they keep scorecards of how lawmakers vote on legislation, they are keeping track of what letters they sign on to and their role in every step of the legislative process.

Republican leaders are well aware of the influence of these organizations.
Republican Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, who was elected in 1998 and finds himself between the new generation of tea party-aligned groups and the more traditional Republican leadership, said the tea party groups "impacts everybody."

Billelo said that Meadows hosts conference calls with the groups' members to explain what's happening in Congress, including the challenges that he faces promoting their agenda.

She said he told them he's "persona non grata" around the halls of Congress. Bilello said she and her members remind him: "They don't elect you. We do." They also offer assurance: "We have your back. We will support you," Bilello said she tells him.

Meadows relayed a similar sentiment. "There's nobody in Washington, D.C., who ever voted for me and there's no one in Washington, D.C., who will ever vote for me," Meadows said. "So it's about representing the people back home."

"I think everybody wants me to pick a fight with leadership," Meadows said. But he contended that he isn't about playing the rebel, but finding results.
Are his tactics working? Meadows said yes.

"The Senate for the first time is having to vote ... on Obamacare," Meadows said. "That's why we had to do this." The House has now voted 42 times on either defunding or repealing all or parts of Obamacare.

Many Republicans in the Senate thought the idea was a lost cause, including Texas Republican John Cornyn, who said Friday that the strategy "won't work."

The Senate eliminated the health care portion of the bill on Friday before sending a revised spending plan back to the House for consideration over the weekend. A shutdown would occur Tuesday, if there is no spending plan in place.

But Meadows successfully convinced a reluctant Boehner to go along with his plan. And then after it became clear the Senate wasn't going to play ball, the speaker hoped to move past the fight and pass a funding bill that would be able to pass the Senate, meaning it wouldn't defund health care.
But Boehner's Republican caucus, once again with Meadows in the forefront, rejected that plan.

Boehner's now worked on a plan that will appease members such as Meadows. What do shutdown and debt limit have to do with Obamacare?
Meanwhile, Meadows vowed to hold his ground.

"If there is a real plan to make sure we can accomplish it through some other means, I'm willing to look at that," he said. But he said it must involve "at least delaying" the implementation of Obamacare.

If it doesn't, he is willing to buck his leadership and oppose any bill he doesn't think goes far enough. He admits some will have to take "some tough votes" to take. But for him he's right where his constituents want him to be. "It's a safe place for me to be," Meadows said.

Meadows rejected the idea that he is adding to the gridlock in Washington. He said Washington politicians have lost their way, but it's not because of their inability to compromise. "Pragmatism has been at the cost of principle and principle has been at the cost of pragmatism," he said.
Still, Meadows asserted that he is willing to compromise with the Democrats. "My ultimate success will be viewed by whether there is something we can accomplish," he said.

Many on the political center and left look at the Republican Party and think that this is insane, but it can’t possibly last. With the Republican Party being driven almost entirely by its most Tea Party wing, which insists on an ever-more conservative agenda, one figures that more and more voters will determine that the Republican Party has gone off the rails.
Maybe, but we’d be mistaken to doubt the malleability of the Republican Party and its voters. Both parties are adept at steering their voters toward the agenda determined by the party leaders, but the Republican Party is especially good at it.

Personality tests show that conservatives are more likely to get behind their team and support them, and are more willing to look beyond their faults, while liberals are more critical, both of the other side and themselves.

Think about how long it took liberals to start sniping at President Obama (when he made his first cabinet appointments) compared to how long it took the Republican Party to get sick of President Bush (after his second election when he tried to privatize social security). When liberals say that the Republican Party is going to burn out on Tea Party rage within a few years, they are thinking like liberals, not conservatives.

Boehner lacked the courage to pursue a rational solution and bowed in appeasement to the extreme right; a nation suffers while we await the failure of the strategy, one way or another.

When the ultimate showdown comes over The Debt Ceiling Boehner will be faced with a “Greater Loyalty Choice”; loyalty to his caucus or loyalty to the nation.
President Obama, should the Republicans permit this nation to default on its debts as of October will be faced with challenges no other President has ever had to deal with. He may elect to pay what bills we can with the money the government has, but there is an end to that road.
Should the Republicans be truly sucidial in their current ideological madness and this nation is thrust into the economic abyss; two ideas have been floated as options for President Obama. Neither are without confrontational elements.  The 1st is the utilization of the 14th Amendment to simply by pass Congressional failure of duty and responsibility and assume the power to pay our debts without Congressional approval.  There is a dearth of legal opinion on both sides of this issue.
Just to refresh your memory from your bygone civics class, the 14th Amendment discussion centers around Section IV. That’s the one which says the public debt of the United States “shall not be questioned.” As we get closer to that ‘X date’ for destroying the full faith and credit of the United States.
Most people stop at a section of the 14th amendment and wrongly conclude it only referred to President Lincoln using it to pay the civil war debt. But it doesn't say raising the debt to pay for the war was the ONLY reason a president can justify using the 14th amendment. The civil war debt was simply one of the reasons used at the time. It can be used for any reason when the country defaults on it's debt and the president raising the debt ceiling shall not be questioned.

The framers made sure their intent was to make clear no reason was left out when they made clear by this language, "INCLUDING debt incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection, or rebellion" (civil war). In President's Obama case, it would be to prevent a radical unhinged and most obstructionist party in history bent on defaulting on the debt at all cost, regardless of the consequences, or the harm it does to the UNITED STATES. But the president doesn't have to tell them shit, because it's not to be questioned.

It could also be argued, that the actions of the Republican Party is a rebellion by people with motives to stop our government from functioning. They have actually stated, they want a "government so small it can be drown in a bath tub". There actions when the country was on the brink of a second great depression, when they did all they could to "make Obama fail” including the country. Add to that, this would actually be the third time republican will have shut the government down. But regardless, the president doesn't have to tell them sh*t, because it's not to be questioned

The framers didn't list what reasons, or conditions other than a default on the debt to give the president the right to raise the debt ceiling. But the framers didn't have to, because the president doesn't have to give them a reason, because his decision is not to be questioned.

This confirms the president can do it for any reason. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by LAW...Shall not be questioned. If the presidents actions in raising the debt ceiling is not to be questioned, how could anyone know the reason?

Right now, Obama should  maintain his steadfast refusal to negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. But if (okay, might as well say “when” given all the players involved) we’re still in this mess two weeks from now, I could see myself urging the president to go down the constitutionally questionable route of doing whatever is necessary to save the republic, even if it means opening himself up to impeachment.

“The President of the United States cannot allow [the nation to default on its debts]. Therefore, it is possible that the president, using the language of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, would order payment of our bills on time and in full,” He might be taken to [the Supreme Court] and we would have an existential moment for the entire question of a debt ceiling legislative vehicle.

As The Post noted yesterday, when the nation flirted with default two years ago, consumer confidence fell, hiring stalled and markets fell. The constant flirtation with default might have numbed folks to potential negative market reaction if the national borrowing limit isn’t raised by Oct. 17. But this much we do know will happen if the debt ceiling isn’t raised in 18 days: The White House and the Treasury will have the politically explosive task of picking winners and losers as it decides which bills to pay. So, as bad as a government shutdown tomorrow might be, your worries should be off the charts if the Treasury doesn’t pay its bills on time and in full. Politically; The White House position at the moment is that the 14th Amendment route is not an option for them. That could change in the blink of an eye!
Nevertheless, many top Democrats believed that the White House needed some kind of fallback option. Former president Bill Clinton said that if he were in office, he would invoke the 14th Amendment to call the debt ceiling unconstitutional "without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me." 
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his leadership team sent President Obama a letter urging him to "to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global crisis — without congressional approval, if necessary." 

Then there is “The Platinum Coin” option.  Let’s explore that interesting option.

In minting a $1 trillion platinum coin, the Treasury Secretary would be exercising authority that Congress has granted routinely for more than 220 years. The Secretary’s authority is derived from an Act of Congress (in fact, a GOP Congress) under power expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8). What is unusual about the law is that it gives the Secretary discretion regarding all specifications of the coin, including denominations.

The accounting treatment of the coin is identical to the treatment of all other coins. The Mint strikes the coin, ships it to the Fed, books $1 trillion, and transfers $1 trillion to the Treasury’s general fund where it is available to finance government operations just like with proceeds of bond sales or additional tax revenues. The same applies for a quarter dollar.

 Once the debt limit is raised, the Fed could ship the coin back to the Mint where the accounting treatment would be reversed and the coin melted. The coin would never be “issued” or circulated and bonds would not be needed to back the coin.

 There are no negative macroeconomic effects. This works just like additional tax revenue or borrowing under a higher debt limit. In fact, when the debt limit is raised, Treasury would sell more bonds, the $1 trillion dollars would be taken off the books, and the coin would be melted.

 This does not raise the debt limit so it can’t be characterized as circumventing congressional authority over the debt limit. Rather, it delays when the debt limit is reached. Those who claim otherwise are misinformed or pursuing an agenda.

This preserves congressional authority over the debt limit in a way that reliance on the 14th Amendment would not. It also avoids the protracted court battles the 14th Amendment option would entail and avoids another confrontation with the Roberts Court.

 Any court challenge is likely to be quickly dismissed since (1) authority to mint the coin is firmly rooted in law that itself is grounded in the expressed constitutional powers of Congress, (2) Treasury has routinely exercised this authority since the birth of the republic, and (3) the accounting treatment of the coin is entirely routine.

However, for the platinum coin idea to work, the Federal Reserve would have to treat it as a legal way for the Treasury Department to create currency. If they don't believe it's legal and would not credit the Treasury Department's deposit, the platinum coin would be worthless. 

The idea of minting a platinum coin to invalidate the debt ceiling comes from a few key sentences tacked onto the 1997 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act. "Notwithstanding any other provision of law," it reads, "the Secretary of the Treasury may mint and issue platinum coins in such quantity and of such variety as the Secretary determines to be appropriate."

The author of those sentences was Mike Castle, a Republican congressman from Delaware. The intent was to help coin collectors who wanted the Treasury Department to mint cheaper platinum coins. “People couldn’t afford the $600 investment, so they wanted the flexibility to put in smaller coinage so that people could collect them," Castletold Wonkblog this month. But in giving the Treasury Department the flexibility to mint platinum coins of little value, Castle accidentally gave them the flexibility to mint platinum coins of unlimited value. “That was never the intent of anything that I drafted or that anyone who worked with me drafted," Castle continued.

The idea of minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin was first floated in May 2010, in the comment section of "The Center of the Universe," a blog devoted to Modern Monetary Theory. The author was a lawyer writing under the pseudonym Beowulf. "Curiously enough Congress has already delegated to [Treasury] all the seignorage power authority it needs to mint a $1 trillion coin (even numismatic coins are legal tender at their face value and must be accepted by the Federal Reserve) -- the catch is, it's gotta be made of platinum."

The platinum coin idea gained some powerful adherents during the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011, but it really developed traction following the 2012 fiscal cliff deal, as politicians and economics writers realized that the country would, indeed, be facing another debt-ceiling crisis in a matter of months. A Twitter campaign by Joe Weisenthal, of Business Insider, and Josh Barro, of Bloomberg View, forced it into the conversation, and subsequent endorsements by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and former U.S. Mint director Philip Diehl gave it further legitimacy.

To be sure Republicans would see that  coin as an unprecedented power grab by the president, leading to a far more bitter standoff over the debt ceiling, a possible panic in the financial markets and a showdown in the courts. There is also the simple fact that it would, indeed, represent an admission that the government's executive and legislative branches could no longer be trusted to come together and effectively manage the country's finances.

The crisis is not about The Affordable Health Care Act; it about a Congress that has forgotten that it is the servant of the people. The issue however, has an ugly frame with totally ugly options for solution.

The administration's position is that raising the debt limit is Congress's responsibility until the day that Congress votes to make it the White House's responsibility, which is a resolution the Obama administration would happily accept. Until then, White House officials say, they will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, and if congressional Republicans attempt to use it as leverage, then the consequences will be theirs to bear.

As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it, "there are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or they can fail to act and put the nation into default,."

No comments: