The $1 trillion dollar coin “solution” to the debt is gaining steam and even drew some attention at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, when MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pressed Press Secretary Jay Carney on whether minting the coin could be an option. Carney didn’t directly respond, but he didn’t rule out the idea either, which excited some members of the media, such as Business Insiders’ Joe Weisenthal; he’s been aggressively advocating for minting the coin via Twitter.
In the absence of any detailed proposals from political leaders for resolving our looming fiscal predicament, the pundit class is left kicking around only slightly less absurd solutions. The coin idea, advanced in July 2011 by Cullen Roche’s Pragmatic Capitalism and still weirdly titillating to econ geeks, would take advantage of a once-obscure loophole in the law that allows the Treasury to mint legal tender platinum coins in any denomination for collectors. Before he leaves office, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner could order a $1 trillion coin made and then deposit it at the Federal Reserve to temporarily finance government spending. - Read more about the $1 trillion coin idea at The Fiscal Times
CEOS SELL STOCKS VALUED AT $10M As expected, many executives who paid close attention to the fiscal cliff talks in Washington made sure to sell stocks ahead of the anticipated tax rate hikes that hit on New Year’s Eve. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least 58 executives sold stock valued at $10 million or more in December, just before Congress voted to increase taxes on income, capital gains and dividends for high earners. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
PRICETAG FOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT SKYROCKETS The government is spending more than ever before on immigration enforcement, but getting far fewer results.
The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin and Josh Boak report that while the Department of Homeland Security doubled the number of agents patrolling the border to 21,444, in the past seven years, apprehensions of illegal immigrants have actually dropped to a fifth of what they were in 2000.
The average border agent apprehended 16 illegal immigrants in 2011, down from 182 apprehensions per agent in 2000. And while border agents are apprehending significantly less illegal immigrants, the DHS is spending $10, 431 on each apprehension, significantly more than the $630 per apprehension in 2000. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
JACK LEW TO GET TREASURY NOD FROM OBAMA TODAY As almost everyone already knows, President Obama is expected to nominate White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at 1 p.m. today. Obama’s nomination of Lew is sure to upset Congressional Republicans, who aren’t exactly big fans of the White House chief of staff. If Lew is confirmed in time, his first task as Treasury secretary could be navigating a brutal battle with Congressional Republicans over the debt ceiling, something he had the pleasure of doing during the 2011 debt ceiling debate as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Congressional Republicans weren’t happy to deal with him then and they most likely won’t be this time around either. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
BOEHNER TAKES HEAT FOR SEQUESTER THREAT Some defense hawks in the House are not happy with Speaker John Boehner for suggesting in The Wall Street Journal on Monday that the massive sequester cuts could be used as leverage during the upcoming debt ceiling debate.
“You get into dangerous territory when you talk about using national security as a bargaining chip with the president,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, said. - Read more at The Hill