Former Mint Director Who Wrote 'Trillion-Dollar Coin' Law Explains Why the Coin Isn't a Bad Idea

Max Read · 01/08/13 02:30PM

It's not every day you get an email from a former director of the U.S. Mint (unless you're married to one, probably) — but it's also not every day that you write about the very real possibility that the U.S. Treasury might mint a platinum coin worth one trillion dollars. Either way, it was an excellent surprise to hear from Philip Diehl, the former Mint director and Treasury chief of staff who drafted Sec. 5112 of title 31, United States Code with Rep. Mike Castle — in other words, the guy who wrote the "trillion-dollar coin" law. His take? Not only does the law clearly allow for the coin to be minted, it also would have "no negative macroeconomic effects."

Your Guide to the Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin That Obama Can Mint to Save the World

Max Read · 01/07/13 01:30PM

Today, New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that President Obama should be "absolutely" prepared to mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin and use it to pay the government's bills. It wasn't a typo: a lot of people are discussing the trillion-dollar coin as a way to avoid a fight over the debt ceiling. But what is it? And why? And whose face will be on it? Here's our guide.

Jack Welch Is a Jobs Truther: the Birth of a Conspiracy Theory

Max Read · 10/05/12 09:56AM

The unemployment rate has dipped below 8 percent for the first time since 2009 — evidence of a slow, but steady recovery? Or evidence that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Democrats gathered together to lie about being employed?

We've Reached the 'Braveheart' Phase of Congress' Latest Apocalyptic Tango

Jim Newell · 12/19/11 04:10PM

We've been trying something different, as Congress has been pretending to nearly shut down the government or arbitrarily destroy the global economic system for the fourth time this year: Not biting! They'll always reach an agreement, after acting out a months-long scripted fight that we've seen before. But now we're at the stage when children lawmakers begin channeling action movies for inspiration, so we'll take that as our cue.

Police Now Ignoring Crime Because Gas is Too Expensive

Seth Abramovitch · 11/01/11 01:41AM

Police Chief Michael Scott of Smithfield, N.C., has seen his 2012 gas budget cut by $10,000. He's about to ask the town council if he can reallocate some of his $30,000 office supply budget to pay for gas. If they don't allow it, do you know what he is going to do? That's right! He is going to let crime fester in the streets of Smithfield, like Gotham City before the Batman.

1 in 100 Americans Made Suicide Plans

Seth Abramovitch · 10/20/11 09:45PM

If you're the kind of person who likes to casually drop Debbie Downer statistics into your holiday party conversations, here's some new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will certainly be of interest to you: 8 million adults reported considering suicide at some point between 2008 and 2009, and 2 million actually made plans to do it.

Should a 25 Percent Tip Become the National Standard?

Seth Abramovitch · 10/14/11 12:33AM

No! There. That was easy. But the San Jose Mercury News reports on a growing movement among San Francisco restaurant workers to make the addition of a 25 percent gratuity to high-end dining bills mandatory. (What's with San Francisco's obsession with tips legislation? First the circumcision ban, now this.)

Florida Lawmaker Wants to Repeal Dwarf-Tossing Ban

Lauri Apple · 10/06/11 05:20AM

Citing his "quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people," a Republican state legislator has submitted a bill that would repeal Florida's 22-year-old ban on tossing little people for sport at bars. He's doing it for job creation!

Friendly's Faces an Unhappy Ending

Seth Abramovitch · 09/29/11 11:35PM

If you grew up on the East Coast of the U.S., you've likely dined at a Friendly's restaurant in your lifetime, and very possibly more than once. It was the depressing, suburban chain restaurant that was a little less depressing than the others, mainly because the promise of an ice cream sundae — the "Happy Ending," as their menu dubbed it, sweetly oblivious to any vulgar connotations such a term might imply — awaited you after every overcooked hamburger and soggy tuna melt.

Condolence Cards For That Special, Jobless Person in Your Life

Seth Abramovitch · 09/29/11 12:58AM

Looking for just the right sentiment to hand a recently sacked executive assistant this Used-To-Be-My-Secretary's Day? Perhaps Hallmark's new line of unemployment sympathy cards will fit the bill. As Derek McCracken, creative director with the Hallmark Greeting Card Company, told NPR, "A job, like any loss, is a grieving process. We offer more ['you'll get through this' cards], versus dwelling on the loss of the job itself."

Lawyer Strips to Survive, Maintains Positive Attitude

Lauri Apple · 09/14/11 06:47AM

Meet "Carla," who earned her law degree a decade ago and actually used it, unlike some people we know. In 2009 she was laid off and couldn't find another law job, because they've all been outsourced or backsourced or stolen by the Olds. So she found what her law school's Office of Career Services might call "an alternative career."

Bank of America Allegedly Called Grieving Widow '48 Times' a Day

Lauri Apple · 09/03/11 01:36PM

They say you can't take your money with you when you die—and you can't take your debt, either. When people move on to that great air-conditioned lobby in the sky, their banks sometimes ask—and ask, and ask—their grieving families to pay off remaining debts.

'Moderate' Jon Huntsman Is a Very Conservative Business Republican

Jim Newell · 09/01/11 12:18PM

One-percent presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is playing a sneaky game in his desperate quest to remain a viable presidential candidate throughout the fall. He's trying to preserve his media image as a "moderate" alternative by letting it be known that he believes in evolution and climate change. Since we have such low standards for "moderation" now, this makes him appear serious. But then he sneaks off and delivers the Republican base a radically conservative plan for the economy, a.k.a. the thing that matters. Do not fall for this seemingly nice man!

120,000 Postal Workers Facing Layoffs

Seth Abramovitch · 08/11/11 11:52PM

The US Postal Service is now faced with a tough decision: raise the price of a single stamp to $179, or fire 120,000 employees. Scenario B would require congressional approval, so as to get around postal union labor laws — but desperate times, etc. etc.