John Boehner Not Entirely Convinced by "Platinum Coin" Solution

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 4 2013 3:47 PM

John Boehner Not Entirely Convinced by "Platinum Coin" Solution

The "Platinum Coin option," an insane-sounding end-run around the debt limit crisis, was mooted in summer 2011, discussed, and largely dismissed. As my future colleague Matthew Yglesias would explain, a little-noticed series of laws, passed by Republican Congresses, gave the Treasury authority to mint "platinum bullion coins" of any denomination. A coin that cost little to mint could be denominated at $1 trillion, and put in the Treasury -- voila, no more debt ceiling crisis.

Like I said, it sounds insane, and very few Republicans have even been asked what they thought of this. I checked with Michael Steel, John Boehner's spokesman. "Wasn’t that the plot of a ‘Simpsons’ episode?" he asked.

Indeed, it was. In "The Trouble With Trillions," an episode from the show's difficult second decade, Homer Simpon is given a special assigment: Tracking down the $1 trillion bill printed by Harry Truman's Treasury during the rebuilding of Europe. The Feds believe -- correctly -- that the bill was stolen by C. Montgomery Burns, who had been given it for safe-keeping as "America's wealthiest, and therefore most trustworthy, man." Anyway: Steel continued by saying that "There’s no magic coin to duck the tough choices our nation faces, and the only way to stop spending money we don’t have is to stop spending money we don’t have."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.