What Would Henry George Say?
Still Relevant, Still Poignant
By Alan Rappeport
February 3, 2023
By Dr. Marty Rowland
On February 2, 2023, Alan Rappeport published an article in the New York Times titled The Trillion-Dollar Question: Could a Coin Save the Day? (found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/02/business/trillion-dollar-coin-debt-ceiling.html). The article discusses the debt limit in the U.S.
What would Henry George say about what Rappeport says?
Minting a trillion-dollar coin is a perfect solution to the debt limit issue and exactly what Henry George would recommend.
The U.S. debt is now limited to $31.4 trillion. Some people liken this to the situation where the U.S. is a lemonade stand and we can’t afford to buy lemons and sugar anymore because we don’t charge enough. That would be a problem were it true.
Sovereignty, however, lets the U.S. make up its own rules, avoiding the drunken sailor theory of economics by always promoting the general welfare. Currency is the oil that allows our economy to churn and the fuel to make it whizz. Congress (per U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, clause 5) has the power to coin money (i.e. print paper currency), regulate the value thereof; Congress can also charter banks. So, it’s ludicrous to borrow that which the nation can create on its own. One way to reduce the U.S. deficit is to stop borrowing and paying unearned interest to dogs in the manger. The solution includes the issuance of money, even platinum quadrillion coins, to direct the economy toward productive ends that promote the general welfare. The drag on the system from taxes on labor and productivity must be simultaneously removed for this scenario to succeed. The key to success is not picking up rentiers on the side of the road disguised as hitch hikers.
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