Representative Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, thinks the idea of the trillion-dollar platinum coin — which has gone from conspiracy theory to mint-worthy meme already this year — is "absurd and dangerous," and that anyone stupid enough to think it might save our economy is just that: stupid. Which is why on Monday afternoon he introduced an actual bill to ban the Treasury Department from making these expensive coins. "Some people are in denial about the need to reduce spending and balance the budget. This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren't so serious about it as a solution. I'm introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks," Walden says in release from his office.
Wait, huh? People were actually serious about this thing? We knew Congressman Jerrold Nadler liked the concept, but we thought the point of a trillion-dollar coin wasn't about the coin itself so much as what an idea that crazy said about Republicans' idea of compromise these days. "Given the realities of our political situation, and in particular the mixture of ruthlessness and craziness that now characterizes House Republicans, it’s just ridiculous — far more ridiculous than the notion of the coin," Paul Krugman wrote on his blog today.
All of this was somehow lost on Walden, who all too willingly bit the troll bait, and drives home the concept of the GOP holding Congress hostage even more now that he's outlawing trillion dollar coins and whatnot. "My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt. We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order," Walden said.