Forward Thinking

The $1 Trillion Debt Ceiling Solution

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wants the government to mint a platinum coin worth…a cool $1 trillion..

Nadler, a Jewish Upper West Sider, thinks the minting of a ridiculously valuable coin could foil GOP attempts to hold Democrats hostage in debt ceiling negotiations. It would allow the government to pay its debts without going through Congress, which seems intent on dragging its feet on anything President Obama wants, especially after the bruising fiscal cliff drama.

“It sounds silly but it’s absolutely legal,” Nadler told the website Capital New York last week.

The idea’s gained some traction recent days. Economist Paul Krugman endorsed the trillion dollar coin on Monday, as have others.

So here comes the backlash.

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Debt Ceiling: How Jewish Lawmakers Voted

By J.J. Goldberg

Getty Images
Eric Cantor: A Yes Vote

House of Representatives: Of 25 Jewish members, 16 voted Yes on the final debt ceiling compromise and nine voted No. (Democratic votes overall: 95 Yes, 95 No.)

Yes. Democrats: Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Howard Berman (Cal.), David Cicilline (R.I.), Susan Davis (Cal.), Ted Deutch (Fla.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Sander Levin (Mich.), Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Jared Polis (Colo.), Steve Rothman (N.J.), Adam Schiff (Cal.), Brad Sherman (Cal.), Allyson Schwartz (Pa.), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla.). Republicans: Eric Cantor (Va.)

No. Democrats: Gary Ackerman (N.Y.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.), Bob Filner (Cal.), Barney Frank (Mass.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Henry Waxman (Cal.), John Yarmuth (Ky.).

Senate: Of 12 Jewish members, 10 voted Yes and two voted No. (Democratic votes overall: 45 Yes, 6 No. The two Independents split.)

Yes. Democrats: Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Barbara Boxer (Cal.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Dianne Feinstein (Cal.), Al Franken (Minn.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Ron Wyden (Ore.). Independent: Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)

No. Democrat: Frank Lautenberg (N.J.). Independent: Bernie Sanders (Vt.)

I know some of you are going to ask why bother making such a list, so let’s get it out of the way: No, it’s not antisemitism, obsessive ethnocentrism or atavistic parochialism. What it is, is one of the metrics that help us gauge the current condition of Jews and Judaism in the world.

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