Congresswoman Kristi Noem clearly lives in a fantasy world. Instead of getting her empty head around real problems, South Dakota's lone voice in the House keeps shouting about things that don't exist. Her proudest achievement of her first term was her embarrassing crusade to ban EPA dust regulations that didn't exist.
Now taking up a new quixotic lance, Noem tilts at the windmill of the trillion-dollar coin:
Rep. Kristi Noem announced today that she will co-sponsor the “Stop the Coin Act,” which will prevent the United States Treasury from minting a platinum coin that could be used to pay the federal government’s bills.
"To think that some in Washington believe that minting a trillion dollar coin can solve our nation’s out-of-control spending is embarrassing," said Rep. Noem. "Since coming to Washington in 2010, I have continued to fight for prioritized government spending and the proposal to print magic coins only avoids the tough conversations that need to be had. The time has come for real, common sense solutions to our spending problem and this coin is only playing games with our children’s futures. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Washington to find real solutions to the challenges facing our country" [Rep. Kristi Noem, press release, 2013.01.10].
Rep. Noem cites this Paul Krugman NYT opinion piece and this Josh Barro column in Bloomberg as evidence that the $1T-platinum coin idea has serious support. Once again, Rep. Noem demonstrates her need for remedial reading classes. Krugman says the big coin idea is "silly but benign" compared to the Noem-Boehner debt-ceiling kamikaze act that has provoked ideas like the big coin. Barro also calls the big coin "silly" and advocates it only as a negotiating chip: he says President Obama should offer to sign away his legal authority to mint that coin only in return for a Republican agreement to stop holding the debt ceiling hostage.
Rep. Noem and the Republicans are just scared that some creative economic thinkers have found a way to completely defuse the debt-ceiling bomb the GOP is trying to strap to our economy without causing any collateral damage:
"[The trillion-dollar coin]'s a variation on a theme that many of us have been writing about for a long time," [University of Missouri Kansas City economic professor Stephanie] Kelton said. "If you boil things down to who issues the currency, you can do it via the banks, or you can have the government do it. This goes way back in the academic literature. … Now it’s being referred to as the magic coin and a gimmick, and certainly it has that aspect to it — but this law basically says the U.S. currency can come from the U.S. government. That’s really all the coin is. It doesn’t do anything terribly scary from my perspective. It doesn’t have any danger economically" [emphasis mine; Brian Beutler, "The Wild Origins of the Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin," Talking Points Memo, 2013.01.11].
Rep. Noem claims she wants to focus on real solutions. But she is now grandstanding with opposition to a plan that even the people she thoughtlessly cites as proponents call silly but harmless. She only wants to Stop the Coin because it exposes her own party's complete lack of real policy solutions and its desire to oppose President Obama at all costs, including the destruction of the federal government and the global economy.