So it’s official – neither the Mint nor the Treasury will do the Platinum Coin Option:
The U.S. Treasury Department will not mint a high-value platinum coin to avert the debt ceiling, according to an official statement from the Obama administration obtained by the Huffington Post on Saturday.
“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,” the statement reads.
Well, that settles that. Since using the 14th Amendment gambit was rejected by the White House back in December, this leaves no “easy out” from the debt limit standoff.
I suspect that it was discovered that Billmon et al were right about the political optics of this: The platinum coin is something the GOP can use to mock Obama and the Dems and to perhaps fire up the base for a replay of 2010 next year. In fact, they were already doing so. Removing the Platinum Coin from the picture deprives the GOP of their efforts to repaint the picture from the hostage-taking scenario that will cause the Republicans to lose big in 2014 should they actually pull the trigger.
The Republicans know this and are frantically trying to argue around this by pretending that they really aren’t holding anything hostage. But as David Weigel points out, this isn’t working:
After all, if you nab some 12-year old scion of a millionaire, and threaten to do something bad to them unless you get $1 million, you’re taking a hostage. The fact that the 12-year old will eventually age and die of natural causes doesn’t mean you’re not forcing somebody’s hand. But Republicans realize that they’re blamed when they demand these cuts, so they’re trying to shift the Overton Window and claim that whiny Democrats are just pitching a fit. The reframing is not working so far.
Let’s just hope now that the political wonks are right and the Republicans can be made by their Wall Street patrons to back off. Otherwise, we’re doomed.