Let’s Make Some Money
The President has the legal right to mint platinum coins with a face value of his choice. People have been talking about this for years. The current conversation is for a $1 trillion coin which could be deposited with the Federal Reserve and used to avoid the ‘debt ceiling crisis’ that replaced the ‘fiscal bluff’ as the apocalypse du jour in Washington and the Village.
Why limit him to a single coin? Make several in different denominations to cover other possibilities. We could have a $1 trillion with Reagan on it, then a $5 trillion with George H.W. Bush, a $10 trillion featuring George W. Bush, and finally a two-headed $20 trillion coin with Ayn Rand on one side and Alan Greenspan on the other to celebrate their contributions to the national debt.
In normal times such coins would be inflationary if deposited with the Fed, but thanks to the financial blow-out and all of the assets lost as a result, the economy has a lot of room to spare at the moment.
Actually, the Treasury could just mint the coins and put them on display without actually depositing them as a reminder to Congress that they have a work-around for stupid Congresscritter tricks.
Update: The CBC has a piece featuring Krugman up today. I would note that the Congresscritter from Oregon who thinks he’s going to stop this with a new law had better be able to round up two-thirds of the House and Senate to back his bill, because there is no way a President is going to voluntarily give up any power, so a veto is a given. It is also important to note that the President has no legal or Constitutional way of spending money that isn’t appropriated by Congress. We aren’t talking about the Executive branch choices when it comes to the budget – Congress controls spending. The deficit spending is the fault of Congress. If Congress wants to trim the budget, they need to stop handing out money to their friends and supporters. The President can prevent spending by vetoing appropriations bills, but has no power to spend more than what Congress appropriates.