Saturday, January 12, 2013

Last Call

The "trillion-dollar platinum coin" idea is officially dead, and good riddance.  Ezra Klein has the autopsy:

The Treasury Department will not mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling. If they did, the Federal Reserve would not accept it.

That’s the bottom line of the statement that Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, gave me today. “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,” he said.

So why should we all be glad this didn't happen?

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.

But others, including myself, worried that the coin would be seen 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 was 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.

And furthermore from a purely political standpoint, minting the coin would have been a response that was a tacit admission that the GOP had the right to default on our already appropriated obligations.  The debt ceiling isn't to stop further spending, it's to block our existing financial obligations.   That means we would be in default.  And that would destroy our economy:

The Treasury may have some ability to choose which payments to default on, and when to default on them, but the bottom line will be the same: The Treasury will only be able to pay about 60% of the bills that are owed.

In relatively short order, therefore, the United States will stiff about 40% of the people and companies it owes money to.

Importantly, this default is different from the "government shutdowns" that have happened from time to time (in the 1990s, for example). In those cases, Congress had yet to authorize government spending. This time, the spending has been authorized: Congress has already promised to pay these bills. This time, in other words, we will be choosing not to pay people and companies we have already promised to pay.

This has never happened before in the history of the United States.

The full faith and credit of the United States would disintegrate overnight.  The GOP would be responsible for destroying our economy.  This statement by the Treasury and Fed make it unequivocally clear that if Republicans in Congress plunge us into default, they will take the full blame for the recession (if not depression) it would trigger.

Republicans know this.  They are bluffing.  President Obama has already said he will not negotiate with these terrorists.  So please proceed, congressional Republicans.

I'd love to have the House back in 2014.

Legitimate Rape Repeat


I really thought we were past this, folks.  But here we are again, with Phil Gingrey saying Todd Akin really did sort of kind of if you really work it over through a few hoops know what he was talking about when he brought up legitimate rape.

“In Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”
“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

Got it.  Women can't be trusted.

The next bit is the priceless stupidity that only Akin and his intellectual brethren can accomplish.  When facts won't hold up, the next thing to do is run it through some ass backwards logic to try to confuse folks.   That wasn't what he said, guys. That wasn't really what he meant, you know.  It's the public's fault for believing it and it's the media's fault for putting his direct quote out there for people to read.  But hey, now that we're on that subject, let's read it one more time just for giggles:
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."
Akin says it's really rare that legitimate rape creates babies.  Funny, there's no mention of ovulation.  Kind of like how our doctor friend doesn't mention that his deep understanding of Todd Akin's remark would only matter if you were being raped within hours of ovulation. Never mind this comes from a physician and a man who sits on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology.  Don't concern yourself with the fact that Gingrey is repeating this nonsense for no reason except to try to make a point.  That is medically proven to be false.  Through science.

The silver lining is that we are adding quotes to the library for the next round.  Let these twits run at the mouth and commit political suicide, I'll just document it.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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