The blockheadchain

You may wonder why the Democrats are so worried about increasing the debt ceiling since they need no GOP votes to do it. Are they embarrassed about their insistence that spending $3.5 trillion is costless?

Who knows?

The Dems do have a Plan B. There are some ifs:
If mining and refining an ounce of platinum doesn’t release so much CO2 that AOC will be brought to tears.
If Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib don’t associate platinum with Joos.
And if Liz Warren isn’t afraid that platinum jewelry competes with Navaho silver workers.

The proposal is to mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin. Here’s an artist’s conception:

You’ll note it’s a bit composition challenged. Making the font smaller and shrinking the eagle would be even worse.

People wouldn’t understand ‘$1012‘.

The coin artists could always make the coin bigger, of course, so even a relative 4 point font would be legible. More on that later.

When I first became aware of this idea (it’s been mooted since the 2011 debt ceiling kerfuffle), I wondered if I should put my plans to acquire majority control of Apple on hold and just get a trillion dollar coin instead.

There turn out to issues with this. Even aside from the fact that Apple’s market cap has gone from $400 billion to $2 trillion since 2011, and that a 2011 trillion dollar coin would now only be worth $880 million after inflation.

Here are some of those other complications:

The US Mint is currently selling a 1 ounce proof platinum coin with a face value of $100 for $1,545; while, as I write, the market price for an ounce of platinum is around $980. That Mint premium is partly because of numismatic value, but arises mostly from the monopoly the Mint holds. What the market will bear.

At that Mint proof to spot price ratio, the trillion collar coin would cost $1.58 trillion.

For comparison, the Mint wants $2,690 for a 1 ounce gold proof coin when today’s spot price is around $1,760. So, a trillion dollars in gold, at market value, would be about $1.52 trillion if purchased from the Mint. This seems a better deal to me, but there’s a problem with that, too. The United States government does not possess a trillion dollars in gold.

The United States holds 261,498,926 ounces of gold, which it values at $42.222 per ounce (Go figure. They value trans pronouns higher than that.), or a little over $11 billion ($11,041,059,957).

To buy the entirety of US gold reserves at today’s spot (market) price would set you back almost $460 billion ($459,976,611,258). And even marking it up at the Mint’s level, say 150% assuming a volume discount, you only get to $690 billion. (As an aside, can you think of people who could leverage 51% of this? Bezos? Zuckerberg? Soros?)

Anyway, as the Dems figure these things, the United States could sell all its gold reserves and make up the other 30% phantom borrowing in increased taxes… at zero cost. All we have to do is convince the rest of the world we have a ‘trillion dollar’ coin.

One advantage of the trillion dollar proof platinum coin over the equivalent in bullion is that it would be much easier to store. But there’s still a $310 million premium over gold unless you count having to also buy Fort Knox to store the gold.

Counting against the platinum coin is that it probably would not retain its uniqueness for long. I think they won’t be able to stop with just one.

Also, we’ve had platinum coins for a long time and I don’t think they are glamorous enough to command such a premium. I do think some more exotic metal would help the price for the proposed coin. Palladium is out because the Mint already does that.

What about Iridium? The novelty would add value. And it’s in the $5,000 an ounce range. Still, maybe not enough.

For real novelty, something like roentgenium might do. Like platinum, it’s expected to be solid at room temperature. We’ve never had enough atoms to be sure. This would make minting a trillion dollar roentgenium coin as difficult as making change for it.

And… the US Mint personnel might raise an OSHA complaint. Roentgenium decays through spontaneous fission, and its most stable isotope, roentgenium-281, has a half-life of about 26 seconds. I’m not saying that the short half-life doesn’t have some advantage. Any coin that clips itself is a boon to the rate of inflation needed to ‘pay off’ our debt.

So, maybe some transuranium element that’s less deadly and with a longer duration – but still takes a lot of power to produce. For transuranium elements that power usage is “proof of work” (the Bitcoin value proposition) – on the order of millions of dollars per milligram. But opposite to Bitcoin, massive inflation would be built in.

A coin made from fermium-257 would have a half-life of less than 102 days. Mendelevium-256? 77 minutes. The material used would depend on the Fed need to inflate the national debt away.

Maybe the Treasury should create a trillion dollar Non-Fungible Token. A unique picture of the decay of a few roentgenium atoms in the cyclotron. The non-fungible bit might be a problem, however. Money has to be fungible, or it isn’t money.

Since the Dems don’t have my imagination, back to buying one of the trillion dollar coins. Again, I wonder, why stop at $1 trillion?

I think the paper solution is out because the Treasury is prohibited from emulating Zimbabwe. That’s what the debt ceiling means. For a discussion of why the Modern Monetary Theorists are saying the Mint should do it, see here. It discusses why the MMT theorists insist a $1 trillion coin would have to be a proof coin, not bullion. It’s still not legal, but it makes practical sense: Beyond the legal issues, platinum bullion coin(s) would cost a trillion dollars to mint, and would present a bigger storage problem than gold.

I’m thinking the US platinum trillion dollar coin is worth twice the current $985 spot price for a 1 Troy oz platinum ingot. It’s gotta be proof quality and it’s certainly a collectors item, so that adds 50%. And round up to the nearest thousand.

That would still be a smaller percentage premium (some number divided by zero) than I paid for my Zimbabwe $100 trillion dollar bill, and there supposedly is going to be actual platinum in the coin the Democrats are toying with. There’s been inflation since Zimbabwe’s effort, and my bill might be worth nominally more than I paid. I could hope that happens with the US effort.

A trillion dollar bullion platinum coin should sell at a steep discount for storage difficulties. That new coin would weigh around twice as much as all the US gold reserves, claimed to be around 8,000 tons.

A platinum bullion coin could be like several dozen of the largest Yap Island Rai stones. The Yap money has collectible value, here’s a small (40 pounder) for $14,000. That’s about $22 an ounce. The largest Rai stone weighs about 4.5 tons and is around 12 feet in diameter.

A trillion dollar bullion platinum coin would weigh… a lot more.

Maybe I should stick with the plan to acquire Apple.

Seeing like a State

From our friends at the International Monetary Fund comes this innovation.

“Credit scoring using so-called hard information (income, employment time, assets and debts) is nothing new. Typically, the more data is available, the more accurate is the assessment. But this method has two problems. First, hard information tends to be “procyclical”: it boosts credit expansion in good times but exacerbates contraction during downturns.

The second and most complex problem is that certain kinds of people, like new entrepreneurs, innovators and many informal workers might not have enough hard data available…

Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases. Recent research documents that, once powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, these alternative data sources are often superior than [sic] traditional credit assessment methods, and can advance financial inclusion, by, for example, enabling more credit to informal workers and households and firms in rural areas.”

“[C]an advance financial inclusion…” By definition, then, it can advance credit exclusion.

Websites, Twitter accounts, YouTube videos, hosting platforms, and credit card processing are all already being cancelled, shadowbanned, disappeared and denied for political reasons. Now they propose to use your computer model, search history, and the sites you visit to determine your credit score.

If you visit the Southern Poverty Law Center too often, or QAnon more frequently than you “should” according to some algorithm; if you search for “All Lives Matter” or “Green Nude Eel;” if you use a Chromebook or an obscure brand tablet – then your credit score may suffer. That could turn out to be the least of your problems.

I can’t count the number of times people have told me they aren’t worried about such corporate espionage when I point out what Facebook really is, or tell them why to use Duck-Duck-Go instead of Google search. “I’m not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide.” The problem, I explain, is that they aren’t the ones who decide that.

“The old cliché is often mocked though basically true: there’s no reason to worry about surveillance if you have nothing to hide. That mindset creates the incentive to be as compliant and inconspicuous as possible: those who think that way decide it’s in their best interests to provide authorities with as little reason as possible to care about them. That’s accomplished by never stepping out of line. Those willing to live their lives that way will be indifferent to the loss of privacy because they feel that they lose nothing from it. Above all else, that’s what a Surveillance State does: it breeds fear of doing anything out of the ordinary by creating a class of meek citizens who know they are being constantly watched.”

~ Glenn Greenwald

Mau-mauing the swamp dwellers

Facebook and YouTube continue to bury, or outright ban, well founded commentary on CCP virus public policy and the myriad election irregularities of which the Uniparty disapproves.

They aren’t alone. Amazon has banned books. Twitter banned all mention of Hunter Biden’s laptop, including suspending the New York Post‘s account.

That ban arguably lasted long enough to affect the election, and now that we know Hunter Biden has been under Federal criminal investigation since 2019 for his foreign business dealings, it seems like Twitter, et. al., should have some accountability.

The article slice below is behind a paywall. I think Glenn Greenwald is worth the less than a buck a week as an honest liberal entrepreneur. You pay as much for the CNN/MSNBC/CBS/PBS/ABC/NBC channels on your cable.

Some of what he writes is public. A link appears in TOC’s blogroll under Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald left The Intercept (he was a founder) because they spiked an article he wrote about Hunter Biden before the election. That’s when I checked out his independent gig on Substack.

Greenwald (this one is paywalled) provides a gimlet eyed view:

The revelation that Hunter Biden is being criminally investigated for his business activities in China came on Monday from the investigative target himself, and he predictably and self-servingly depicted it as just a narrow probe about his “tax affairs” by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. As I wrote last night, that by itself would be significant enough — the documents published in the weeks before the election by The New York Post contained ample information about exactly that matter, yet were widely repressed by a union of mainstream news outlets, the intelligence community and Silicon Valley based on propaganda and lies. But new reporting suggest the investigation has been far broader.

“The federal investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been more extensive than a statement from Hunter Biden indicates,” Politico reported Monday night. Specifically, “the securities fraud unit in the Southern District of New York also scrutinized Hunter Biden’s finances”; “investigators in Delaware and Washington were also probing potential money laundering and Hunter Biden’s foreign ties”; and “federal authorities in the Western District of Pennsylvania are conducting a criminal investigation of a hospital business in which Joe Biden’s brother James was involved.” CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz added that “at least one of the matters investigators have examined is a 2017 gift of a 2.8-carat diamond that Hunter Biden received from CEFC [China Energy’]’s founder and former chairman Ye Jianming after a Miami business meeting.”

We’re slipping into fascism backwards. One normally thinks of the formal government (Mussolini comes to mind) as the instigator of fascism*, but in the current case it’s most certainly rent-seeking large corporations leading the charge. And that goes far beyond our cybernetic overlords. It’s also Maim Scream Media™, academiots, and corporate whores mau-mauing the swamp dwellers.

Of course, Antifa and the present cadre of BLM have raised mau-mauing to an actually dangerous level with arson, looting, assault, and murder. They would be the brownshirts.

Then, there’s this:
Hunter Biden Email Reportedly Names Kamala Harris, Others as Key Contacts for ‘Joint Venture’ With China Energy Co

Perhaps Eric Swalwell could do with a serious “debriefing.”

*That definition is fatally flawed because it includes a mention of capitalism, but the misunderstanding is pervasive. Free markets are required under capitalism. Fascism precludes free markets.