Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another way out of the blackmail scenario

Scrip in lieu of bonds or cash, this time courtesy of Ed Kleinbard in the NYT.

The key market question here is whether the scrip would generally be accepted as cash-equivalent, and my guess is that it would.

I agree with the Administration's unwillingness to say in advance that it will actually do any of these things to avoid disaster, since that would reduce the pressure on the blackmailers to act honorably and responsibly.  But when the crunch comes, it would be horribly negligent to permit disaster.

The judgment of which escape route to use, among the various alternatives, is quite a tricky one.  It involves not just straight-up legal analysis, but also prediction of what politically motivated courts might do, along with forecasting how the markets would react and war-gaming the political playout.  Better to have many options than one or none, however, at least if they can make a good call.

1 comment:

Werner Haslehner said...

From all the different possibilities I've read so far, simply ignoring the debt ceiling for constitutional reasons (ie choosing the least unconstitutional route) appears politically favourable to me, while the "platinum coin" or other options may be easier to uphold from a purely legal perspective. The consequences of choosing the latter seem rather unpredictable and would probably expose the administration to ridicule, which I would deem more politically harmful than a stand-off over the constitutionality of the president's action.
What do you think? Is it imaginable that the Supreme Court would eventually invalidate debt issued in spite of the ceiling? If that is highly unlikely, is there any other danger than maybe impeachment (which could never be successful and may thus also unlikely to be employed by the GOP since it would deal them another defeat)