Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Platinum Coin

I'm not sure where I stand on the platinum coin solution for the debt ceiling issue.

On the one hand, what the GOP is doing is as harmful and pernicious for our country's economy as anything Al Qaeda did since 9/11.  (Obviously there isn't a body count from wrecking the nation's credit rating, unless you count the ruined and even shortened lives caused by economic hard times.)

I certainly support keeping the trillion dollar coin on the table, because the GOP is acting stupid and irrational and sometimes you have to match the crazy.

I do worry though that Obama risks his "only adult in the room" cred if he goes this route.  The coin is a made-up solution to a made-up problem.  So in that sense it works.  But Obama - always playing the longer game - is trying to be the grown-up.  Matching the GOP's childish antics with a get-out-of-jail-free card might ruin that.

But I say might because I think we will see a notable change in discussion about the debt ceiling.  The press did a terrible job explaining the last debt ceiling fiasco, and it was in the middle of summer when few were paying attention to the details of what was happening.  Obama has two very high profile speeches at his inauguration and State of the Union to make the seemingly obvious case that America pays its debts.  I mean, when you're taking responsibility lessons from the Lannisters, it's time to re-think what you're doing.

Obama has a net positive approval rating.  Congress is less popular than head lice.  I think he can make the case.

But ultimately, it will be on all those boring, rich, white "sensible centrist" jerk-offs to step up and say, "This is ridiculous.  You don't play games with the nation's credit rating."  And given the financial incentive for the Wall Street and Main Street Republican machers to lean on the Krazy Kaucus, maybe we will see a replay of the fiscal curb vote.  They can have their fight over the budget when they do the sequester.

Until then, keep the coin on the table.  Prepare to meet crazy with crazy.

And hope there are enough sane Republicans left to do their duty to their country and legislate.

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