Suddenly, Americans are seeing the results of Obmanomics hit their pay checks—even though they aren’t “one percenters!” And there is a certain bitterness in the air—the kind of bitterness that naturally ramifies from being torn away from American Idol or Two and a Half Men by a reality check in the check book, and the fading certitude that all financial unpleasantness is somehow, however inexactly, the fault of George Bush. No, Americans are beginning to wake up and smell the borscht. And to a greater and greater extent, they are suspicious that the responsible cook lives in the White House. And as the tax hikes, the coming gun grab, and overt efforts to dispose of the
constitution through executive orders become more blatant, these millions of newly attentive Americans will begin to sense that things are decidedly wrong, even if the major media marionettes they turn to for information aren’t mentioning the fact. Adding to the disquiet at this point may be the incremental up-tick in how many of our heretofore unfocused countrymen are sensible of a kind of creeping immaturity in a government so constructed that the President is a guy who goes on The View and Pimp With a Limp but can’t be bothered to bestir himself to action while his Ambassador to Libya is raped and butchered and his bodyguards gunned down during a six-hour battle—a President who still hasn’t done a single thing about the attack or the murders four months later. Equally attention-worthy: a heartbeat from replacing this man is a guy who belongs in clown shoes and possesses the intelligence quotient of a gnat. A really dumb gnat. The treasury is still being run by a tax cheat, the Justice Department is in the hands of an outspoken racist who sold guns illegally to Mexican drug Lords for reasons he has yet to explicate while ICE was apparently led by a sex-obsessed blond —and the military is okay with Gays and multiculturalism but not so good with avoiding a decline in readiness decried even by Leon Panetta, the President’s man at defense, and has a demonstrated inability to disrupt nuclear arms development in Iran or North Korea while the President’s pick to run the CIA could not even keep his extramarital dalliance a secret– and the Secretary of State tripped and hit her head and got replaced while she was concussed by a guy with a plaque honoring him in Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, things keep getting goofier on Capital Hill even as politics as usual seem to go on like a leisurely game of shuffleboard on the fantail of the plunging Titanic, and Obama’s chief economic advisers seem either to be Castro and Chavez…or just a bunch of Harvard professors who have exactly the same views on fiscal policy as Castro and Chavez.
But this week brought news that was worthy of a Peter Sellers comedy of the “Mouse that Roared” stamp, conjuring vague recollections of the zany stunts self-elected Generalissimos used to pull in unpronounceable banana republics to everyone’s amusement in the late ‘50s. Yes, dear readers, this week was floated the idea that we could escape our current financial straits, recently exacerbated by such caprices as a“stimulus package” that transferred 8 trillion dollars to the public service sector and did nothing for the economy, an onrushing bevy of medical and social “reforms” that will cost five-to-seven times more than predicted, even though the predicted levels are themselves unaffordable, and fresh taxes. And how will we escape the bite of these self-inflicted financial woes? With a magic talisman. That’s right. Shades of Tom Poston in “Zotz!” (In case you think you might remember Tom Poston but have no idea what “Zotz” was, that’s because “Zotz” was a William Castle film from 1962 that was so stupid, nobody could take it seriously, even as a comedy. In the movie, Poston discovers a magic coin that gives him all sorts of special powers, so that’s two things Castle’s movie has in common with this week’s weirdest news story from Obama Land—a magic coin, and stupid. If you do remember “Zotz!” then you’ll have a slight conceptual advantage in the following discussion).
Okay, well it’s hard even to get a definite lead on who thought up “The Zotz Alternative” (it wasn’t Robert Ludlum, though) and while many are recommending it as brilliant, few are claiming authorship. To make matters stupider still, it appears that the actual person responsible for the idea of a salvific coin—one magic amulet fashioned of platinum designed to make our troubles disappear– is named Beowulf—or at least so he signs himself on the Firedoglake blogsite where the idea first materialized about a year ago. Beowulf’s genius, or comic genius, perhaps, was to point out some moribund laws from the 1990s that permit the Treasury Department to produce platinum coins whenever it feels so inclined, and apparently in any denomination it wishes. You can tell everyone was snoring when that masterpiece of legislative dopiness got gaveled into law, but nobody foresaw Obamanomics…or maybe a few people did! So, anyway, given this law—the original idea being that Treasury might occasionally wish to market novelty coins– it became apparent, at least to Beowulf, that Treasury could just as easily make itself a one-trillion dollar coin. Presto. Then the gang from Treasury takes
the new, shiny platinum, one-trillion dollar coin, very carefully one imagines, down to the Fed, which we all know is just a communist front-entity disguised as a government building, and it deposits it. Ka-ching! And our utterly bankrupt government is suddenly solvent again! So this brainstorm apparently kicked around the blogosphere along with Bigfoot DNA and “chem trails” for a while, and would still be out there, one assumes, orbiting the planetoid Pluto if grown ups ran anything anymore, but alas, two of the most left wing (and media friendly) economists in the entire country, namely Paul Krugman and Mark Thoma found out about the idea. Krugman you probably know because he’s mouthy and obnoxious and likes to be on TV a lot, and tirelessly insists that President Obama is performing economic miracles everyday that are simply too subtle and ingenious for us to notice—and of course he got the 2008 Nobel Prize for this type of analysis, so you may rest assured he’s dismissible. Thoma hangs out at the University of Oregon, looks for green shoots indicative of recovery every summer, and writes editorials blaming the aftermath of the housing collapse on Ronald Reagan. He has yet to win the Nobel Prize, but we predict he’s a shoe-in when his turn comes. So as if these guys weren’t funny enough, they are now enamored of the one-trillion-dollar coin idea, and seriously advocating that Treasury go ahead and mint the sucker!
Now, you are very possibly sane, dear reader, because you are here, reading this, and that fact recommends you highly as somebody with some practical grey matter—and you therefore may be saying to yourself, “but, wait a minute, how could they possibly find enough platinum to make a one-trillion dollar coin out of? That much would be impossible to lay hands on, and impossible to make a coin out of, unless it was the size of that big tire outside Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport. ” And to that we say, yes, that’s true, you are absolutely correct—but you have committed the error of reckoning without liberal ridiculousness, once again asserting itself in this instance. You see, the coin doesn’t have to contain a trillion dollars worth of platinum. In fact, it doesn’t have to contain very much platinum at all to satisfy the law, and the Treasury can stamp any amount it wants on it—like, say—why not a trillion trillion? Zotz!
And another point to be made here is that what this coin is really intended to address is not so much the deficit qua the deficit, but the debt ceiling. See, the Republicans forgot to cave on the debt ceiling while they were caving on everything else last week, and the White House forgot to insist on it—so the debt ceiling, which prohibits spending over a previously specified level, must be raised to accommodate Obama’s continued spending on welfare, bailouts of the solar-panel industry, subsidization of Acorn, Planned Parenthood, properly subversive Banks, the Obamas’ serial vacation junkets, PBS, NPR, and the wind power and Tofu industries. So printing the magic coin would simply give the government “a way forward,” or in this case “upward” through the debt ceiling and would bypass Congress. The debt ceiling could more or less “be deemed” to have been raised, spending could continue at its present, insane pace, and the lapdog media could chant incessantly that it was all the result of Republican intransigence. In a fantasy world of lemon-drop trees and big rock-candy mountains, everything would be okay again. No recovery, really, no economy to speak of, no free enterprise, no small business, but continued spending as far as the eye can see– but this is all too laughably immature to really happen, right? No American administration would be dumb enough to rub that lamp, right? Wrong again, America! Take Josh Barro over at the Bloomberg View who professed indignation at the skepticism of various Republican legislators. Sure, Barro admitted, the idea of creating a wonder coin is “silly/zany/juvenile,” but he added, “Republican intransigence over the debt ceiling is juvenile. There is no particular reason that the president should not use a juvenile strategy in response.” Welll…actually, Josh, there is—but that’s not important now. Anyway, WOOF is working on securing Barro’s home address so our readers can go over and toilet roll his house and ring his doorbell a lot if the coin idea goes through. It may seem silly, zany, and immature, Josh —but you started it, you big dork!
So what could possibly go wrong with this idea? (The coin idea that is, not toilet rolling Josh’s house.) Why not print up a magic coin that allows spending to continue—and why not print up a bunch of them, or one great big super one, and we can all get millions of dollars from the government and be happy forever? Well, because in the real world, WOOFketeers, when our nation makes a mockery of its own laws, as well as all the standard rules of economics, it loses credibility. The currency is devalued, our debt is demanded due from abroad, our credit rating (which used to matter to us) goes even further into the toilet, and if subsection 31 USC 5112 (the law in question) can be warped into allowing this phantasmagorical “solution” to our problems, we are collectively living in La-La Land and we can all book tickets for the happy cruise on the Good Ship Lollypop. What conceivable budgetary discussion could ever be conducted again with any air of seriousness or maturity? What conceivable standard of valuation could ever again be plausibly applied to our currency? We would have the opposite of a currency secured by gold—we would have a currency secured by the fantasies of a childish president, his childish economists, and his childish supporters in the Senate, House, and media. Keynesianism on steroids? No, this is Keynesianism on LSD.
Advocates of the magic coin are all over the Internet insisting that there is no way its creation could conceivably cause inflation. Are they on crack? Besides the fact that the Fed is not even constitutionally permitted to issue currency, and the fact that such an issuance would shred the separation of powers, the creation of a trillion dollars with no perceptible backing of any substantive nature, whether issued illegally by the Federal Reserve or injudiciously by the Treasury would precurse massive inflation. Manufacturing such a coin, no matter how dissembled semantically, would be equivalent to making money out of thin air, so that the laws of supply and demand would take a decisively violent swing in the excruciatingly obvious direction of
the debasement of the American dollar. The argument that runaway inflation will not ensue is based on the fact that the magic coin won’t be in circulation—but this is a ridiculous argument. Liberals have spent decades trying to argue against monetarism by pointing out that currency issuance is increasingly pointless as a touchstone for inflation in a credit-based, electronically manipulated economy—so now all of a sudden we’ll be okay with insanely expanded assets if we don’t try to get change for the coin down at the 7/11? Then there is the argument that inflation won’t ensue because the Federal Reserve will offset the impact of the trillion dollar infusion by selling off trillions in Treasury securities it has on hand. Your ten year old, provided you have one, can tell you why that plan is self-defeating. And that’s assuming the Fed elects to do anything at all. The funniest line WOOF has read in the inflation debate is from a FORBES contributor (et tu, Forbes?) who takes comfort in the knowledge that all will be well, “as long as the Fed does its job…” and if that supposition seems sanguine in the extreme, consider the country’s emotional condition once the idea of “Obama’s stash” no longer belongs to the febrile imaginings of a nutty Detroit welfare lady, but exists in actuality, infinitely expandable, infinitely convenient, infinitely available. NO more paying taxes. No more National Debt. No more working. No more competition for wealth. And if you really want to scare yourself, take a look at the web, fellow patriots, and get a load of how widely, almost uniformly, bloggers, economists, and all the paid and unpaid amplifiers of Liberal opinion are supportive of this magic bullet—and damnatory of those stupid Republicans who won’t do what the President wants!
So WOOF, assuming that this insanity may well result in the issuance of the coin, and assuming that Congress, having been robbed of its constitutional role of issuing currency may nevertheless retain its role of determining who goes onto the currency issued, has gotten into the spirit of things and submitted a design for the platinum goose egg that will save us all [at top]. What do you think, fellow WOOFians? What do you think, Congress? C’mon, it exactly captures the spirit of the epoch! Oh, and we can’t close here without telling you something else. Do you know who ramrodded these laws through that are now being massaged into permitting the Great Platinum Bank Deposit? None other than Rep. Mike Castle, (R-Del). Ring a bell? Yes, Castle was the RINO who was resoundingly defeated in the 2010 Republican primary by the magnificently brilliant and beautiful Christine O’Donnell, (WOOF’s nominee for the presidency in 2012) and who would also have defeated her revoltingly inadequate opponent in the general election and saved us from all this by now, if only there weren’t so many stupid voters in Delaware! But what do you expect from a state that proudly sent Joe Biden to the Senate term after term? But we digress. Get ready for the Obama Bank Job, America! It may not be long now, and we’ll all be cashing in for keeps!