Dan Liljenquist: Trillion-dollar coin idea a disturbing power play

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 10:48 p.m.

    This coin will be a nightmare for the vending industry.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    @VST You are correct that federal spending would immediately have to be cut by 40% if the debt limit is not increased. As domestic discretionary spending is only 20% of the budget we would also have to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Defense. The 20% of the budget that is domestic discretionary also includes many items that simply can't be eliminated: the FBI, Air Traffic Control, safeguarding our nuclear weapons, weather satellites,federal courts and prisons, and dozens more.

    Paying for all of this with current revenue is not only impossible, it would require the President to break the law because every option at his disposal would be illegal. He can't refuse to pay the bills congress has already authorized, yet he would have to. Or he could instruct the treasury to continue selling bonds, which would also be illegal. He could declare the debt limit unconstitutional, which many constitutional scholars agree with, but he does not have authority to do so.

    Maybe the platinum coin is the best option, because there is already a law authorizing it, even though this is not the purpose for which it was intended.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    "The president's last TWO budget proposals were so ridiculous they didn't get a single yea vote from any member of Congress. Zero."
    I know that this is a favorite conservative talking point, but it's not true. What happened is that Senator Sessions, from Mississippi, presented, as an election year stunt, a fake budget, and called it "President Obama's budget." That is the proposal that didn't get a single vote. The Sessions stunt budget was ten pages long--actual federal budgets are over a thousand pages. The Senate never voted on the President's actual proposal, because of a Republican filibuster.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 10, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    Take away.

    Republicans can create a partisan budget that has no chance of passing.

    Democrats can create a partisan budget that has no chance of passing.

    This is not governing. It is gridlock, partisan government.

    And it does the country no good.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    The simple answer is:

    Is this Legal - Yes.

    Is it a Smart Idea - No.


  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    Oh, for Pete's sakes!

    This whole thing started out as a JOKE. A joke!

    Now even Dan Liljenquist is joining the ranks of those who cannot seem to recognize a joke as a joke.

    But maybe that's because the GOP is a joke in itself.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    To "Ernest T. Bass" I don't know where you get your misinformation, but you really should check in with reality. The facts are that under Bush we averaged about $400 billion deficits. Under Obama we have averaged $1.2 Trillion deficits. Obama is spending at unprecidented levels. If you look at it as a strict %GDP, Obama still is outspending Bush.

    To "Roland Kayser" you realize that the Republicans in the House of Representatives has created budgets and sent them to the Democrat controlled Senate where they are not even considered for a vote. You also have amnesia of 2009 and 2010 when the Demcrats controlled congress yet never had the time to set a budget.

  • Cameron Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Liljenquist is absolutely right when he says Congress has delegated its law making responsibility. Two years after Obamacare is passed and we're still figuring out what actual laws, regulations, and taxes it created. Same goes for the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill.

    The fact that Congress won't pass a budget means we're on spending autopilot. It also means no one has to take responsibility for that spending.

  • Cameron Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    I think it interesting to note that the Democratic candidate for US Senate who lost to Orrin Hatch proposed "holding the economy hostage" via the debt ceiling as well. This is not a partisan issue. It's a fiscal responsibility issue. Take your partisan blinders off and look up what the CBO says about the next ten years of federal spending on health care alone and you'll begin to understand why people from every side of politics are demanding we get our fiscal house in order.

    As for those saying the House controls the purse strings - you're right, and ultimately Americans get what we want from Congress, even if it's terrible. And asking for high spending and low taxes is terrible policy. But let's be clear. The president's last TWO budget proposals were so ridiculous they didn't get a single yea vote from any member of Congress. Zero. And the Senate hasn't passed a budget in what, four years now? At what point do you say the Party that controls Washington actually takes blame for what happens in Washington?

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Congress determines what the debt is because they pass the tax rates and the spending. If they want lower debt they can increase taxes or cut spending. The debt ceiling is entirely superfluous and it may well be unconstitutional. It violates the fourteenth amendment provision that the public debt of the U.S. can never be questioned.

    The GOP only controls one half of one branch of the government. They can not achieve their goals through legitimate democratic means. They can only achieve their goals by holding the economy hostage if we don't do what they say. That makes them hostage takers in my book too.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    If House Republicans are going to be so reckless and so irresponsible as to even contemplate not raising the debt ceiling, risking the good faith and credit of the United States solely to make some cheap political point, then they deserve whatever comes to them. Of course, the trillion dollar coin is a sub-optimal solution. But if it enables our country to pay bills already incurred, and is our only recourse, then we should go ahead with it.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    Mr. Liljenquist,

    Congress still has the " power of the purse." The House can refuse to pass new spending can't they?

    But we should never refuse to pay the bills we've already incurred. The fact that some legislators think that is appropriate just illustrates the ignorance and extreme element in the Republican Party.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    I was quite happy and silent when Bush/Cheney spent the country to unprecedented levels of debt. Now that Obama is spending at a slower rate than Bush, I'm really angry.
    Sincerely, the average republican.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 10, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    "(we are now borrowing $100 billion each month). And the President has dared Congress to stop him."

    I really despise articles that promote a false premise.

    The president, this one or previous ones, do not spend money without the approval of congress.
    The debt ceiling debate is about PAYING for the spending that congress has previously approved.

    So, Congress can "stop him" anytime they want by cutting spending.