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Debt Ceiling Shenanigans

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November 4, 2022 1:07 p.m.

One question that comes up a lot when we talk about the debt ceiling is whether there might be some extraordinary executive branch action to get around the problem. These range from outlandish theories about minting trillion dollar platinum coins to much more reasonable things like simply declaring that under the 14th amendment the whole debt ceiling law is unconstitutional. On the merits, I think this latter argument is valid, indeed almost unquestionably valid. But I think this is largely besides the point. The point of the “full faith and credit” is that United States debt obligations are beyond any question. That is why the US is able to borrow money freely and at very low rates of interest. Indeed, the whole global monetary system is significantly underpinned by that commitment.

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