Trillion-Dollar Coin? Insanity!

This is insanity. It’s truly come to this?…serious talk about the feasibility of minting and depositing a coin stamped “ONE TRILLION DOLLARS” to avert a debt-ceiling default? Again, insanity. Perhaps the scheme would work, technically, but it should be prevented from being necessary to even consider!

The national-debt crisis grows ever deeper as the debt vs. GDP swells grotesquely (even before the pandemic!), and even more importantly, interest on the debt cancerously eats up an ever-larger share of the budget, invariably crowding out needful things by slow creep (hence, the growing, already massive, silent debt crisis), and yielding a vicious cycle in which the debt can make itself worse and worse without any assistance from us. Where does this lunacy end?

Read this little primer I posted in January to better relate to our debt. This is the fruits of decades of abject, shortsighted failure of the Republicrat duopoly to rein in their entirely undisciplined fiscal practices with our tax dollars, and instead pander to their ever-bloated lobbies and bases (mainly different entitlements favored by the Ds and Rs, and war spending by both parties).

Don’t dare blame just one party. Democrat presidents with Republican Congresses, Republican Presidents with Democrat Congresses, either with mixed Congresses, either with their own party effectively controlling both chambers (as now)…it hasn’t mattered. The national debt has grown, factually and demonstrably, for decades, under every permutation of those — every single one. Even with record- to near-record-low interest rates, so has the percentage of the budget devoted to debt interest.

What if interest rates double, or worse, approach levels of the early ’80s? That accelerates the vicious cycle much faster than any current projections, introducing upward nonlinear growth of our debt, even with small yearly deficits (which aren’t happening).

tk
Plotted by PGPF from public-domain CBO data.

These Republicrats will drive us straight to economic ruin through their base-pandering shortsightedness and hapless ignorance of the greatest economic crisis our nation ever will face, staring us right in the face. And it’s not just the extremes of D and R either; the so-called “moderates” are ignoring it too. Only a very few outliers (e.g., Justin Amash, Ron then Rand Paul) ever bring serious attention to the debt, and they get swamped in a tsunami of everyone else’s drunken-like spree of profligacy.

Republicrats in Congress have shown they simply won’t behave themselves as they’re supposed to — adults managing a budget — refuse to control federal net spending to zero-deficit yearly levels, and certainly won’t bring about budget surpluses needed to draw down the debt. They’re not going to force themselves to balance the budget. Therefore, they need to be forced to do so externally, by The People.

The only way I see out of this is for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention of States to go around these spineless fiscal children in Congress and enact a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would force Congress to balance the budget yearly. This at least would stop the debt-growth bleeding via ending yearly deficits. [While we’re at it, enact a Congressional term-limits amendment as well.]

Worried about wars or pandemics under a BBA?

From the PPGF:

Most amendment proposals go further than requiring a balanced budget or budget surpluses. Some of the most frequent additional elements are:
* A requirement that the President submit a balanced budget to the Congress;
* Provisions that allow some flexibility in times of war or economic recession provided that a supermajority (typically three-fifths) of the members of the Congress vote in favor of a waiver;
* A provision requiring a supermajority vote of both houses of Congress in order to raise the debt ceiling;
* A cap on total spending (as a percentage of gross domestic product or GDP) unless waived by a supermajority of both houses;
* A limit on the total level of revenues (as a percentage of GDP) unless waived by a supermajority of both houses; * A provision to prevent the courts from enforcing the amendment through tax increases;
* A provision assigning the Congress the responsibility to enforce the amendment through legislation.


Some of these (especially the last item) would water it down to something near uselessness. Others, such as a declared-war provision, might be beneficial in that it would, in effect, enforce what’s already in the Constitution: making sure all wars are formally declared, or they can’t count as BBA exceptions.


A balanced budget needs to be forced on Congress, because it will not come from Congress. Otherwise…disaster! Maybe not this year or next, but in the lifetimes of our children (and maybe us middle-aged people too).



Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.