January 22, 2013

Speaking Of Mark Steyn

This column is spot on.

…Meanwhile, hot from the fiscal-cliff fiasco, the media are already eagerly anticipating the next in the series of monthly capitulations by Republicans, this time on the debt ceiling. While I was abroad, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, a Harvard professor of constitutional law, a prominent congressman and various other American eminencies apparently had a sober and serious discussion on whether the United States Treasury could circumvent the debt constraints by minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin. Although Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider called the trillion-dollar coin “the most important fiscal policy debate you’ll ever see in your life,” most Democratic pundits appeared to favor the idea for the more straightforward joy it affords in sticking it to the House Republicans. No more tedious whining about spending from GOP congressmen. Next time Paul Ryan shows up in committee demanding to know about deficit reduction plans, all the Treasury Secretary has to do is pull out a handful of trillion-dollar coins from down the back of the sofa and tell him to keep the change.

The trillion-dollar groat fever ran a vague bell with me. Way back in 1893, Mark Twain wrote a short story called “The Million Pound Bank Note,” which in the 1950s Ronald Neame made into a rather droll film. A penniless American down and out in London (Gregory Peck) is presented by two eccentric Englishmen (Ronald Squire and Wilfrid Hyde-White) with a million-pound note, which they have persuaded the Bank of England to print in order to settle a wager. One of the English chaps believes that simple possession of the note will allow the destitute Yank to live the high life without ever having to spend a shilling. And so it proves. He goes to the pub for lunch, offers the note, and the innkeeper explains that he’s unable to make change for a million pounds, but is honored to feed him anyway. He then goes to be fitted for a suit, and again the tailor regrets that he can’t provide change for a million pounds but delightedly measures him for dress suits, silk shirts and all the rest. I always liked the line Mark Twain’s protagonist uses on a duke’s niece he’s sweet on: He tells her “I hadn’t a cent in the world but just the million pound note.”

That’s Paul Krugman’s solution for America as it prepares to bust through another laughably named “debt limit”: We’d be a nation that hasn’t a cent in the world but just a trillion-dollar coin – and what more do we need? As with Gregory Peck in the movie, the mere fact of the coin’s existence would ensure we could go on living large. Indeed, aside from inflating a million quid to a trillion bucks, Professor Krugman’s proposal economically prunes the sprawling cast of the film down to an off-Broadway one-man show with Uncle Sam playing every part: A penniless Yank (Uncle Sam) runs into a wealthy benefactor (Uncle Sam) who has persuaded the banking authorities (Uncle Sam) to mint a trillion-dollar coin that will allow Uncle Sam (played by Uncle Sam) to extend an unending line of credit to Uncle Sam (also played by Uncle Sam).

This seems likely to work. As for the love interest, in the final scene, Paul Krugman takes his fake dead girlfriend (played by Barack Obama’s composite girlfriend) to a swank restaurant and buys her the world’s most expensive bottle of champagne (played by Lance Armstrong’s urine sample).

The entire column is here.

by @ 1:25 pm. Filed under Great Commentary
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2 Responses to “Speaking Of Mark Steyn”

  1. The Gray Monk Says:

    A ‘new’ Gold Standard? The “Platinum Standard” perhaps?

    All in a single coin. Nice thought, it could work, but you really wouldn’t want anyone to drop it down the drain by accident …

  2. Mrs Wolf Says:

    Gray Monk


    Obama would probably have these platinum coins minted by the millions as his liberal constituency swooned over how their fearless (feckless?) leader had saved the economy for all time.