Obama administration considered platinum coin option during the debt ceiling fight | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Obama administration considered platinum coin option during the debt ceiling fight

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Even as Congress teetered dangerously close to breaching the debt ceiling earlier this year, the Obama administration was adamant that none of the creative solutions economists had proposed as emergency measures — such as minting a large-denomination platinum coin using an obscure 1996 law — were on the table. 

However, the Huffington Post reports today that the Obama administration had its legal team draw up a memo making the legal case for the maneuver. 

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which functions as a sort of law firm for the president and provides him and executive branch agencies with authoritative legal advice, formally weighed in on the platinum coin option sometime since Obama took office, according to OLC's recent response to HuffPost's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. While the letter acknowledged the existence of memos on the platinum coin option, OLC officials determined they were "not appropriate for discretionary release."

HuffPost submitted the FOIA request when there was increased speculation about the use of the platinum coin option ahead of the debt ceiling crisis this fall. 

I've heard compelling arguments for and against extraordinary tactics, such as platinum coins or invoking the 14th amendment, in the face of national default. I'm just thankful the nation avoided a constitutional crisis and economic disaster. Of course, we'll likely see the same game of chicken played in February, as the next debt ceiling limit approaches. 

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