The best romances are the short ones. The dream of the White House minting a platinum coin worth $1 trillion to avoid a debt ceiling crisis is officially done.
"Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit," Anthony Coley, a Treasury Department spokesperson, told the Washington Post's Ezra Klein on Saturday. As Klein explains, the platinum dream's death blow in the quote is the inclusion of the Federal Reserve not accepting the coin. They would have to acknowledge the coin as legitimate currency for the platinum coin theory to work.
No idea what we're talking about? A quick refresher: led mostly by Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal and Bloomberg's Josh Barro, a crazy idea found in a blog's comments section a few years ago caught fire last week. That the Treasury Secretary could order the minting of a platinum coin worth $1 trillion dollars, walk over the Federal Reserve and throw it in the White House's bank account. This would avert any sort of debt ceiling negotiation, because the President would just threaten to mint the coin if Republicans tried to start a fight over the ceiling. There isn't too much of a financial backlash from the coin, at least compared to letting the government default on its loans and watching global markets burn (what's expected if the debt ceiling isn't raised).
The campaign from Weisenthal and Barro led to reactionary bills trying to ban the coin from Congressmen, and even answers from Press Secretary Jay Carney that seemed to leave the option open. As if the President may -- may! -- be considering it. Jon Stewart thought it was hilarious.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. Jay Carney gave this intense response to the death of the coin to the Huffington Post's Sam Stein. It seems like he might be bitter about its demise:
"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," said Press Secretary Jay Carney. "When Congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time putting us at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation to be downgraded. The President and the American people won't tolerate Congressional Republicans holding the American economy hostage again simply so they can force disastrous cuts to Medicare and other programs the middle class depend on while protecting the wealthy. Congress needs to do its job."
Well, it wasn't meant to be, boys. The idea was ridiculous and straight out of a movie. It couldn't happen, ever. It was a little too...
Treasury confirming they're not minting a trillion dollar coin is like the White House responding to a Death Star petition.— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) January 12, 2013
It was a little too much like that.
Meanwhile, Weisenthal plans to spend the evening mourning:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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