Economics

Congress at Its Finest

|

Start at 2:24 for a nice display of paranoia, classic congressional showboating, and general economic illiteracy. Don't forget to savor the bad grammar and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's exasperation. Wrap it all up with a procedural freakout from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Then, check out the follow up, from the website of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). It's time to amend the Constitution!:

Bachmann Demands Truth: Will Obama Administration Abandon Dollar for a Multi-National Currency?

Asked today about a currency proposal from China at a Council on Foreign Relations event, Secretary Geithner stated he was open to supporting it. Despite attempts to clarify his remarks later in the day, the unguarded initial response calls into question his true intentions.

Although Title 31, Sec. 5103 USC prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., the President has the power to engage foreign governments in treaties, and the President is principally responsible for the interpretations and implementation of those treaties according to the Constitution. As a result, legislation prohibiting the President and Treasury from issuing or agreeing that the U.S. will adopt an international currency would need to come in the form of a Constitutional Amendment differentiating a treaty used to implement an international currency in the U.S. from other types of treaty agreements.

Via commenter domoarrigato and Contributing Editor David Weigel.

Advertisement

NEXT: Whitewashing FDR

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Shut the fuck up lonewacko!

  2. thatGuy,

    Nice preemptive strike.

  3. Is it just me or is she kinda cute?

  4. Is it just me or is she kinda cute?

    If she didn’t *ever* speak, yeah she might be cute in a hideous Ann Coulter sort of way. Otherwise, (and it is most of her job to just talk, and how!), it’s just you.

    I read this latest Bachmann tweak-out at Obsidian Wings and laughed for a good while.

  5. in a hideous Ann Coulter sort of way.

    I disagree with this.

    Ann Coulter has cute potential, but isn’t actually cute. And beleive you me, I’m taking the speaking/personality out of it. I’m more of a “just sit there and look pretty, dear” when it comes to my politicians. That includes the men as well.

  6. Glenn Beckishness is infecting the entire GOP.

    They have become conspiracy loons supping at the trough of fear. Fear of Euro-ism, UN paranoia, non-existent gun-grabbers, World Currency Conspiracy, the Fairness Doctrine “hysteria”, secularism, the Apocalypse, science, etc.

    Ms. Bachmann is just Sarah Palin with media privileges.

    It takes a small mind to succumb to self-inflicted paranoia.

  7. Shrike, isn’t this pretty common for the minority party?

  8. Of course they can’t answer the question. They know damned well that what they’re doing has no constitutional basis.

    -jcr

  9. “Ms. Bachmann is just Sarah Palin with media privileges.”

    I would just point out that Bachmann is doing this sans teleprompter.

  10. Oh, c’mon, she’s way cuter than that desiccated piece of undead bony ass Coulter. And you can’t seriously tell me that Michele’s big flowing head o’ hair doesn’t give you a chubby, even just a little.

  11. Incidentally, there already are any number of world currencies. Gold, platinum and silver coin and bullion bars are liquid just about anywhere in the world.

    -jcr

  12. 1. Is Weigel on that mailing list they were talking about a while back?

    2. Why are the Kochtopus and the Dems on an anti-Bachmann crusade? Just a couple days ago, Reason’s buddies over at TPM made a misleading video about her

  13. Although Title 31, Sec. 5103 USC prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S.,

    If that’s the case, I know of some grocery stores in upstate New York that are flagrantly violating this statute by accepting loonies and the like. They even have a Canadian Currency button on the register, those traitors.

  14. Just in case, from the OW post that LMNOP referred to

    Of course, their question wouldn’t make sense even if China and Russia had called for the adoption of a new global currency. If they did, we’d just answer ‘no’, and that would be the end of it. But that’s not what Russia, China, and “Khazakistan” called for. Somehow, Michele Bachmann and the Fox reporter seem to have missed that little word ‘reserve’. Calling for a new reserve currency is not remotely the same as calling for the US or any other country to abandon the dollar and adopt something else as its currency. It’s just saying: maybe countries should consider holding their reserves in a different currency.

    You can almost hear them thinking: currency, reserve currency: what’s the difference? Sigh.

  15. Can someone explain to me what a currency reserve is? Seriously – I don’t know. I could Wikipedia it, but you guys do a good job of splainin’ this stuff (Pro? Epi? Y’all there)? And then maybe I can understand the pros and cons. My initial – emotional, uninformed, reaction was holy shit! that’s bad news for us! – but I could well be wrong and would like the benefit of ya’ll’s knowledge. I’m too freaking tired to educate myself.

  16. stubby for Congress!

  17. Reserve currency = whatever floats your boat.

    If you decide yen or braided rags is the shit- go for it.

    However, most of the world prefers the dollar for its stability.

  18. Can someone explain to me what a currency reserve is?

    Wikipedia can explain it a lot better than I could. (Besides, that OW post also linked to the article.)

  19. stubby punked me.

    Good job!

  20. “2. Why are the Kochtopus and the Dems on an anti-Bachmann crusade? Just a couple days ago, Reason’s buddies over at TPM made a misleading video about her”

    Why? Because it’s a vulnerable seat. A Republican in a white, affluent, suburban St. Paul, Minnesota district.

    Think Al Frankin v. Norm Coleman.

    Politics as usual. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  21. I would just point out that Bachmann is doing this sans teleprompter.

    She should look into Google and the “I Feel Lucky” feature.

  22. Why? Because it’s a vulnerable seat. A Republican in a white, affluent, suburban St. Paul, Minnesota district.

    She is a fucking loon theocrat who hates liberty.

    I wager her eyes dilate when she reads ‘Leviticus’.

  23. Okay, got it. Now. Why would it be good for the US if the dollar were no longer the reserve currency of choice?

  24. As long as we have troops stationed in more than 150 countries around the world. The dollar will remain the world reserve currency. As long as it doesn’t become completely worthless through inflation.

  25. “She is a fucking loon theocrat who hates liberty.

    I wager her eyes dilate when she reads ‘Leviticus’.”

    Then yes, let’s do everything we can to make certain the people who elected her are propagandized into never making that mistake again. They need to get their thinking right, man.

  26. “Why would it be good for the US if the dollar were no longer the reserve currency of choice?”

    It wouldn’t.

  27. “It wouldn’t.”

    Isn’t there some old quote akin to “Give me control of a nation’s currency and I care not who governs”? But perhaps my besotted memory is confusing that with old movie dialogue.

  28. It wouldn’t.

    Nominally correct, but the downside is greatly exagerated.

    Diversity in reserve currency is a good thing from an overall structural point of view.

    And it’s basically where we’re already at, pronoucements of Rep Bachman and various Chinese & Russian nothwithstanding.

  29. Kolohe,

    Honestly, I don’t know what would happen if the dollar was no longer the reserve currency. Since the dollar isn’t backed by anything other then the faith that the United States will pay it’s debts. If the world community starts abandoning the dollar to me that says the world community no longer believes the US government can pay off its debt. I’m I thinking correctly about this?

  30. Teleprompter is the new Tire Gauge.

    Boy, we really got a zinger now! Teleprompter teleprompter teleprompter! Man, McCain’s gonna kick his BUTT the debates.

    Hey, why does everyone still loathe the Republicans?

    I would just point out that Bachmann is doing this sans teleprompter. Apparently, it matters a great deal that the notes she is reading while staring down at the desk during her questions were on dead tree. To some people, it matters a great deal.

  31. JP | March 26, 2009, 7:34pm | #
    Oh, c’mon, she’s way cuter than that desiccated piece of undead bony ass Coulter. And you can’t seriously tell me that Michele’s big flowing head o’ hair doesn’t give you a chubby, even just a little.

  32. JP | March 26, 2009, 7:34pm | #
    Oh, c’mon, she’s way cuter than that desiccated piece of undead bony ass Coulter. And you can’t seriously tell me that Michele’s big flowing head o’ hair doesn’t give you a chubby, even just a little.

    I agree. I could see myself doing Bachman and having a lot of fun while I am doing it. Even if Coulter shaved her head, and dressed in a boyscout uniform, I still couldn’t slip it to her boney ass.

    Speaking of Michelles, I think M. Obama should try out for the part of a Klingon in the next Star Trek flick. Yo, dudes, that forehead of hers is massively fucked up looking.

  33. Bark like a dog!

    I’l teach you the meaning of the word respect.

  34. De Vaca-
    The dollar no longer being *the* reserve currency is imo largely a fait accompli.

    The dollar no longer being *a* reserve currency would indeed be very dire, but I doubt that will happen. (a whole lot of shit has to go wrong before then, and much of which can be corrected with some effort – but some pain as well e.g. 1982)

  35. No, she is kinda hot.

  36. joe from Lowell | March 26, 2009, 9:02pm | #

    Is it really you, dare I dream?!

  37. She is a fucking loon theocrat who hates liberty.

    I wager her eyes dilate when she reads ‘Leviticus’.

    How is she any worse than Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters in this way? Oh yeah, she’s a religious nut, right.

  38. Intelligent and hot. Run away girly men. That’s scary stuff.

    I think younger guys and those with mother issues would be inclined to have a problem with a woman questioning men in this manner. (not saying nothing about Frank though…)

  39. To some degree she had their asses on the constitutional issue. Timmy in particular is a bumbling fool when it comes to any deviation from the script. Ben is a bit sharper, but Paul has cornered his ass on a number of occasions. I fear she probably doesn’t have the knowledge or oratory ability to drive the point home.

  40. To some degree she had their asses on the constitutional issue

    Which constitution allows the President to unilaterally approve treaties? It’s not the US one.

  41. t I also don’t understand is how the same people who want ‘competing currencies’ are getting their underpants scrunched up at the thought of the federal reserve note no longer being uber alles.

  42. Bernanke was lying when he answered Bachmann’s question about adopting a multinational currency. You could see it in his goddamned eyes – or rather, in the way he averted his eyes. Go back and watch.

  43. To some degree she had their asses on the constitutional issue.

    Why doesn’t she ask herself to explain where in the U.S. Constitution Congress got the power to pass legislation to grant the fed the authority to bailout various investment banks?

  44. Er, someone explain to me exactly what was so . She asked some serious though elementary questions, Bernanke gave some fair though ultimately wrong answers. An above average congressional performance in my view.

  45. Glenn Beckishness is infecting the entire GOP.

    They have become conspiracy loons supping at the trough of fear. Fear of Euro-ism, UN paranoia, non-existent gun-grabbers, World Currency Conspiracy, the Fairness Doctrine “hysteria”, secularism, the Apocalypse, science, etc.

    They should be scared of the real dangers, like being thrown in Gitmo for dissenting against George Bush.

  46. “Everybody” is an especially annoying and amateurish weasel word. It’s as bad as “some people say.”

    shrike,

    Are you graduating from high school this year, or next year?

    ITT: Congresscritters emit hot air, news at 11.

    Barney Frank should consider purchasing carbon offsets.

  47. joe! We all knew you couldn’t stay away.

  48. If your plan was to make Bachmann look bad in this, you failed.

  49. Other than “ka-zak-uh-ston” she pretty much looked like any other house member. Vacant reading of questions without acknowledging the “answer” that’s given, natch. I actually like the constitution question, even though it’s kind of stupidly phrased, but it’s just idiotic to repeat it over and over when clearly she’s not getting the point across. Is it the time limit rule that trains them to act like this?

  50. “Which constitution allows the President to unilaterally approve treaties? It’s not the US one.”

    “Why doesn’t she ask herself to explain where in the U.S. Constitution Congress got the power to pass legislation to grant the fed the authority to bailout various investment banks?”

    GovTack. Learn it, love it, use it.

    She has a relatively solid record for voting down all things TARP starting with HR1424. Now that you have made me defend a politician that could barely form a question about the Constitution I am going to go curl up in the fetal position and cry in the shower.

    Her heart is in the right place. I think she just lacks the ability to foment that ideal into an argument. She needs to hire better aids. She came off looking a bit like a boob.

  51. The other interesting thing is the treatment of this video here and on LRC, two totally different attitudes.

    [conspiracy]Bachman is part of the Liberty Committee, which is run by Ron Paul, who is disliked by the Kochtopus, which funds Reason. We’re through the looking glass here people [/conspiracy]

    On a serious note, at least she’s trying to bring up constitutional issues (although I’m sure she hasn’t been perfect either).

  52. Yes, but it’s a stupid question to ask “Where in the Constitution does it say…”, given that the vast majority of Congressional and Presidential exercises of power are not specifically enumerated, but instead rely on interpretation of those provisions via the Supreme Court.

    And she has to know that. She cosponsored the extension of the USA PATRIOT Act; where is THAT in the Constitution, young lady?

  53. @alan:

    you might not even be able to fit it into ms. coulter. google “androgen insensitivity syndrome.” ais sufferers are essentially males whose androgen receptors are defective, so they develop as females, more or less, and there’s a range of affliction all the way from fully uh, serviceable female to what novelist manuel puig characterized as “pubis angelical”. angels, it is said, have nothing down there, you can’t even hide a book of matches.

  54. Ann Coulter is a man.
    Dana Perino is the obvious choice for best combination of evil/cute.

  55. joe! We all knew you couldn’t stay away.

    Welcome back, joe!

    you might not even be able to fit it into ms. coulter.

    Ooh, sounds like a challenge!

  56. I think the gentle congresswoman from Minnesota did a good job.

    She is obviously a victim of the 5 minute rule imposed by Barney Frank on the committee.

    Ron Paul used his time to speechify and then ask Geithner one question.

    She is an ex federal tax attorney, and acted like she was cross examining a witness.

    People have reason to fear a World Central Bank, more than a new world currency.

    The Fed is bailing out European banks now, so we almost have one.

    Why isn’t it good to be a bit paranoid of the NWO one world government crowd. Do you deny that these guys do want one world government at some point?

    BTW, gold is money, not currency. Currency is NOT money, but a promise to pay money. (or with debt based fiat money, a promise to pay the debt)

    Yes, I can fantasize her. Nice lips, IMHO.

    She is a hawk, though. I would tatoo a peace sign on her butt.

    BTW, GOLD

  57. They have become conspiracy loons supping at the trough of fear.

    Fear of Euro-ism, UN paranoia,

    I don’t even know what Euro-ism is, and I can’t remember the last time anti-UN sentiment showed up on the radar.

    non-existent gun-grabbers,

    Well, except for the ones telling lies about how the Mexican drug cartels get their guns from the US, and the trial balloon banning sale of used military brass for civilian reloading, and the very real chatter amongst the Dems on reviving the assault weapon ban, of course.

    World Currency Conspiracy,

    When major economic powers are openly discussing dumping the dollar as the reserve and going with an IMF derivative as the reserve “currency”, its not a fairy tale. Of course, calling these discussions a “conspiracy” may attempt to remove them from polite discussion, but it doesn’t make them non-existent.

    the Fairness Doctrine “hysteria”,

    Again, using derogatory terms doesn’t negate the fact that Dems, the FCC, and the administration are on record as seeking to revive content control over broadcast media under another name.

    secularism, the Apocalypse, science, etc.

    blah, blah, blah.

  58. And she has to know that. She cosponsored the extension of the USA PATRIOT Act; where is THAT in the Constitution, young lady?

    So, the new rule is, you can’t question any extension of federal power unless you question every extension of federal power?

  59. Boohoo- god forbid someone should actually bring a little fairness to proceedings and prevent the waste of valuable time. Calling Frank’s adherence to the rules of the proceedings a “procedural freakout” is just a little over the top.

    Time limits serve a purpose, they prevent people from getting too preachy and straying from constructive discourse.

  60. I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories (well, other than what Karl Hess called “The Conspiracy of Dumb”).

    However, when Bernanke responds, he looks like the control chip in his head just kicked in, and now The Dark Powers are dictating his response directly to his brain. I think that’s just because he’s annoyed, but I found it entertaining — and, it will be more fuel for the black helicopters crowd.

    Leviticus — ha! Now Samuel and Kings, those are some page-turners…

  61. Oh, and if joe really is back, could Hit ‘n Run order a heavier door, so that when it hits people’s asses on the way out, they stay out?

  62. The reason that we don’t want to stop being the reserve currency is that everyone else owns so many dollars that we have their nut in a vice. If they talk badly about us, they lose many many billions of dollars. If we inflate away our debt, they are out billions of dollars of purchasing power. As long as we are the reserve currency, some key products like oil are denominated in our cash, protecting us from some fluxuations in price due to other people’s currency moving relative to ours and screwing with our oil pricing accidentally and adding risk to our investments in infrastructure, etc. Higher risk means less investment means slower growth and prosperity.

    Being the world’s reserve currency is what is protecting us from economic war from Asia – right now they have too much to lose if our currency tanks – if they can reduce their exposure to it, the restraint isn’t there and we are exposed.

  63. So, the new rule is, you can’t question any extension of federal power unless you question every extension of federal power?

    No, the new rule is, “Don’t ask stupid questions”. Distinguish between the powers and demonstrate why one is constitutional and the other not; or one a good idea or one a bad idea.

    DON’T ask “Where in the Constitution does it say (X Power)” because IT’S NOT THERE, for either side.

  64. As far as the world currency matter, China bringing it up was just a hedge to prevent us from fucking them over by monetizing our debt to them any more than we already have. So, I wouldn’t sweat it. Unless we monetize our debt to them any more than we already have.

  65. Did anyone on this post read the link to Wiki that explains reserve currency? It doesn’t seem like it….there is a difference between currency and reserve currency. Follow the nifty link and you will see a graph that shows that the US Dollar makes up about 64% of world reserve currency and has gone up and down over the years with the Euro and other currency making up the rest.

    Reserve currency has historically been in flux based on the most dominate economy, hence since WWII it turned to the dollar….. “For example, it took many years after the United States overtook the UK as the world’s largest economy before the dollar overtook Sterling as the dominant global reserve currency.” Read, learn, then comment 😉

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.