The hashtag #mintthecoin is currently white-hot in the Twitterverse. In case you’re not following the discussion, it has to do with the idea that one option President Obama has, should House Republicans be determined to deny the necessary rise in the debt ceiling so as to force the US government to default on many of its financial obligations sometime around mid-February, is to take advantage of the statute allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins of any denomination to fashion a, say, $1 trillion coin and present it to the New York Federal Reserve to, in effect, create that money to spend.
This is the idea advanced particularly vehemently these days by Nobel Prize-winning economist and NYT blogger Paul Krugman, who notes that while it might seem a silly idea on its face, any notion that the Republicans can be persuaded to stop holding the credit-worthiness of the US Federal Government hostage is “just ridiculous – far more ridiculous than the notion of the coin.”
Some do not agree, so that a full-fledged debate on the advisability of #mintthecoin has erupted among the American punditocracy. But don’t think no one outside American borders has also noticed:
This includes the prominent Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as picked up by Dirk Elsner on his @blicklog feed.
The piece, by Jannis Brühl, is entitled “Heads or Tails,” and its essential function is to describe to German readers what is going on – or, rather, just what the heck is going on over there in the USA with this crazy-sounding coin-minting plan that, as Brühl puts it, beflügelt die Phantasie – basically, is mind-blowing. (more…)