I’m in Japan at a hotel with a 480 yen (five bucks fifty or so) all-you-can-drink buffet so I should be otherwise occupied, but…I can’t enough of platinum coin mania.
A colleague of mine sent me the Kevin Drum anti-coin screed and I tried to explain to him about “even the liberal Kevin Drum” but it went over his head. Anywho, it won’t surprise you to learn that Megan McArdle is against it too, for principled Haykekian reasons of some sort.
. @asymmetricinfo @thedailybeast What if they minted it out of pink Himalayan salt and put a hybrid Reagan-Rand face on it?
— Doug Johnson (@DougJBalloon) January 10, 2013
Mint the coin. A constitutional lesson for the ‘thugs. http://reconstitution.us/rcnew/?p=13280&cpage=1#comment-32197
Yeah, it’s nutpicking.
Loving the title already. And if the hype over the coin drowns out the GOP’s steady drumbeat of austerity (character-building for the 99%), so much the better.
Friends who send you links to Kevin Drum are not friends.
If Obama doesn’t use the platinum option, repubs will blame him for tanking the economy.
The ‘principles’ these liberals have when confronting Teahadists is confounding. I mean, the Teahadists actively want to burn down the place if they can’t run it (into the ground) and the liberals completely ignore that part.
They bring rubber bands to a gun fight.
That’s why I don’t like the platinum coin talk. The GOP will blame Obama no matter what, but if Obama doesn’t do the coin, then the Villagers and firebaggers will also focus on Obama and ignore the GOP obstructionism.
To mint or not to mint… By the way, when are those FEMA camps going to be ready? Inquiring crypto-fascists want to know.
Once again, there is a better, more Constitutionally significant (read grown-up) process for the President to use.
And consider, the West Wing, Reid, and Nancy Smash have individually said in effect, “No” to Coin fetishism.
@Baud: Yup..Just like the howling about the lack of new females appointed to cabinet positions without mentioning the treatment they gave Susan Rice.
The unasked question is:
Will (not too bright) counterfeiters begin heisting catalytic converters to recover the platinum in them?
Obama haters of ‘Murica unite! You have nothing to lose but your shite. In a principled both sides do it kind of way, of course.
What would McMegan cook using her trillion dollar pink salt coin?
Did Sully move to Japan?
Not many beards here, FWIW.
I’d add to that: show me a time Obama went for the huge, grandiose, tactic to accomplish anything. The coin is not his style. If it keeps the goopers busy running around like their hair is on fire & gives the rabid dogs on the pundit circuit something to foam about while the real work is being done fine, but we shouldn’t pin any hopes on it.
I hate the coin, politically. I think it’s bad politics. Last week, the whole political world were discussing how Republicans can’t govern. They must be thrilled we threw them a lifeline.
It reminds me of the panicky stunts people pull in campaigns when they’re freaking out over poll numbers. “Do something!”
For such steely-eyed poker-faced negotiating experts we seem to be very reactive and incapable of dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty that one inevitably encounters in these situations.
Doug: how was the flight over?
I have never been on a plane that long.
Enjoy Japan! You sure got some good suggestions from the BJ commentariat. A well traveled bunch they are.
@JPL: Ah yes, the howling about diversity crowd, I’ve half a mind of asking if they thus support forcing those realio-trulio sacred tender-conscienced xian ‘mercans into paying for wages, let alone govt-paid for health care that just might pay for Birth Control ot Abortions for those same wimminz!
Couldn’t we use the coin to pay for training classes for 5 year olds to mass tackle gunmen with assault rifles? Think of the lives it could save.
Piece of cake, I slept for half of it.
Something very rich, with lots and lots of cabbage.
Welcome to Japan, boss. It’s a bit chilly on the Pacific side, super snowy on the Sea of Japan side, and bone-chilling cold in Hokkaido, -30C up there this week in the mountains. It’s supposed to be a bit milder all this coming week though. The forecast for the Kansai area is 10C or more every day next week and lots of sunshine. Fairly decent weather for exploring I reckon.
Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. And don’t forget to have some tonkatsu. It’s a porkalicious treat.
Oh, and fuck the coin. If it comes to it, the president should just defy the Congress and order the Treasury Secretary to issue T-bills not some jury-rigged, cheezy, loophole workaround. Just sack up and tell the the Republicans to pound sand.
Drum is absolutely around the bend on this issue, so much so that it is obvious that something else is going on with him. I love That even people like Matt Y are saying stuff like “it is obviously legal” and “no serious objections have been raised to its legality”.
My feelings exactly. But as we noted last night, it leads to funny BJ threads.
You seem to be ignoring the possibility, which if Obama ever uses the coin option I would place 100% of my bet on this being the senerio, that he never ever mentions he would use it (but not take it off the table) and then actually lets the “default” situation hit and starts to not pay bills to put pressure on the Republicans. On when they then refuse to raise the ceiling does he “reluctantly” mint the coin. It will make it absolutely clear it was the last option and 100% the result of the Republicans (not that it will stop people from howling for 48 hours about it until the press moves on to some blond girl missing in Fla or something).
Or let Congress hang. This is their bill, they need to pay for it. Let them negotiate with themselves. No platinum coin appearing from behind their ear. No rigging T-bills to cover their malfeasance. Let them reap what they sow. You don’t get to negotiate the same budget twice.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
I’m trying to figure out how I can order a prostitute and send her to DougJ’s room. I’m going to instruct the woman to demand that DougJ “lip” her stocking.
Has he thrown us under the bus or sold us out yet? Have we been slapped in the face? When is this scheduled to happen? Is he still black?
Worse politics? Depends on what the alternatives are.
The Tea Party repubs need some sort of basis to launch the impeachment hearings that will derail Obama’s second term. Obama knows that the coin gives them what they want.
The coin would be silly, but more importantly it turns the optics around the wrong way. The Republicans are the idiotic ones here if they don’t raise the debt ceiling, don’t take the focus off that. So Obama should declare their shenanigans unconstitutional, use an executive order, whatever it takes. They can howl and threaten to take it to the courts, etc., which would probably never happen, and they just look like complete losers. If we actually mint a platinum coin, for one thing it makes it look like — I know that we’re not — but the mental association is that we’re printing money to pay bills. And then on top of that, you’ll get a legal challenge that has, in my view, a little more meat on it. Please remember that in the early stages of the ACA, no legal scholar could come up with a serious legal argument to make against it. They couldn’t even find a law professor to play the role in a mock debate. Why put ourselves in the position of having to defend an absurd coin in court when you can just make a constitutional argument or an executive power argument? TL; DR version: the coin would not only look silly, it would seem to put us on defense rather than offense.
Exactly. To say we absolutely can’t use the coin option is a strange, premature foreclosing of a legal end-run.
Of course, as you allude, the best outcome is we never get to that point.
IMHO the worst outcome is that the Dems fold and the Republicans force the Dems to either own or share cuts to SS/Medicare.
“NOT FUNNY DOUG I DON’T EVEN LIKE AYN RAAAANDDDD,” someone who named herself after a Rand character.
Yes, using adjectives like “grown-up” is a very, very convincing legal argument.
@liberal: Nothing screams purity like making sure you’ve told everyone else in the room that you’re the “grown up”.
There’s no legal theory against the coin option.
There is a legal theory against the ACA. Sure, it’s one that is reactionary and goes completely against most 20th century precedent, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a theory.
I assume you’re alluding to Keith G.
It’s hardly a purity move; it’s rather a “my argument is better, period” move.
Considering how many people the coin seems to drive into a tizzy, I am more and more convinced it’s the best solution if the GOP refuses to just raise the debt ceiling. As an aside, the whole concept of the debt ceiling is fucking stupid, but there is no way we’ll get rid of it, because people are stupid and think it means we can spend as much as we want without the debt ceiling.
The reason Republicans haven’t balanced a budget in 30 years is because they never cut spending. They sometimes move spending around but they never cut it. That’s the leverage. It was always the leverage. Republicans spend like drunken sailors. My entire adult life. I’d bet on that.
Well, she totally got you with this tweet:
Jesus, one can’t pay enough for this form of inciteful commentary.
This is why I don’t think cutting spending that directly or indirectly helps the poors and the blahs is their #1 priority (maybe it’s #2; dunno). Clearly the #1 priority is cutting taxes on rich people.
Those people still talking about the coin option are all a bunch of clowns no better than the teabaggers. There is zero chance of this happening – right, create a trillion dollars of totally fake, unbacked money iand use this to pay our bills. Foreign countries will just say ok, and buy or future treasury notes/bonds still at the ridiculously low rates we currently enjoy.
Hate to tell all the buffoons out there such an action would not only cause serious inflation but totally undermine our financial structure and all just to get around the thugs!? Talking about playing right into their hands! The economy – both ours and the World’s – would take a huge hit if we started creating trillions of dollars worth of fake money – a single coin would not really help solve the issue for long and that precedent would create serious problems for future presidents.
What you clowns are saying is we SHOULD copy the fiscal policies of the old Confederacy and just print worthless money to cover our debts – right?
President Obama and the Treasury Dept will never do such a unbelievably stupid thing – this would just let the teabaggers score the greatest victory possible.
Default is vastly better than such a stupid plan – ask the German Wiener Republic about creating fake money.
@Napoleon: I think this is why the coin thing has taken off as it has.
Bad policy, of course, but not bad politics. Dead-beat GOP image is powerful in the ultimate showdown.
@liberal: Actually, a commenter here yesterday (renato-with-a-euro-sign) gave a good rundown of the legal uncertainties that do exist regarding the platinum-coin gambit. I just don’t see Obama taking a legal risk like that, let alone opting for something that would leave hIm and hIs admInIstraatIon so open to rIdIcule. I’d put my money on him already having decided on his course of action and it being far more technical and legally rigorous than minting a coin.
You don’t understand what the debt ceiling is or what the coin debate is about.
No one is arguing that we mint a coin, proclaim it to be worth a kabillion dollars, and pay all our debts with it. The debt ceiling is the level at which we can no longer borrow money. The coin would allow more money to be borrowed. Given that the government has extremely low borrowing rates right now, yes, there is every reason to believe that people will continue lending us money.
White Trash Liberal
The coin is a political loser.
I have a friend who is teatard sympathetic. Her husband is a wingnut. When I talk to her without him around, she is vulnerable to reason; when he is in earshot, however, she spouts Fox gibberish and plugs her ears with pink salt.
The coin came up in conversation. She thinks it’s insane and will cause the end of the world, and a total overreach of executive power. I retort that threatening to default on budgeted commitments in order to starve the elderly and let them die from treatable illness is evil.
Normally, she would see a glint of reason… Especially having had to care for her mother and the only thing keeping her family solvent was state and federal programs. Instead, she couldn’t get past the science fiction aspect of making a single object of such extraordinary value. There just had to be something wrong.
Then I was forced into typical liberal framing. Her eyes glazed over as I told her about fist currency, social contracts, and relative values. There was just something wrong with that coin and Obama was up to something.
You can’t get past that. And that fundamental unease with the coin is easy to exploit with right wing fear merchandise. All the progressive posturing about how there is really nothing wrong with it arglebargle is met with the fierce resistance of superstition.
And that superstition extends beyond the tribal 27% and into the mainstream.
Even as a last resort, there will be a pervasive backlash against the coin. I would rather it be minted than have a real disaster, but only as the last possible option. This is where erudite individuals like Professor Krugman get lost… And where liberals lose battles.
The trillion dollar coin is only insane until a republican gets in the white house and wants to use it.
No, the coin is more significant because it returns the power to create money to the Federal Government, where it constitutionally belongs. Handing that power to the bankers via the Frankenstein construction of the Federal Reserve (a private bank officially half-controlled by the government but in practice controlled by the banks but still granted important governmental powers) was a mistake.
@liberal: The cool thing is I don’t have to make the legal argument. Google around. You’ll find that many folks with knowledge, gravitas, and actual skin in the game as decision makers ( on our side) are the ones making the case.
One of the most interesting elements of the Coin discussion is that it’s highlighting the fact that all of our money is totally faked and unbacked. It’s like a Modern Monetary Theory seminar taking place in the real world.
IAC, at the zero lower bound, there is no risk of inflation, certainly not any risk of inflation caused by the US continuing to pay out appropriated funds.
Are you kidding, the challenge against the coin is light years weaker then the challenge against ACA. Do you know how the right loves to scream about how Congress exceeded the enumerated powers in passing ACA? Funny thing, those enumerated powers explicitly includes coining money and there is hundreds of years of case law that says by law they can give people like the Treasury Sec the power to exercise this power.
I made the mistake of reading McArdle’s article on the coin issue. She condescendingly notes that Obama campaigned on only one issue, raising taxes on rich people, and that he wanted to raise their taxes for no reason whatsoever.
I know we’re all too busy to read the entire newspaper these days, but the word “deficit” made it into the headlines once or twice, didn’t it?
The legal risks are, if anything, with *not* minting the coin. If Obama doesn’t mint, the various entities affected by the $800,000,000,000/year in discretionary cuts will sue to force Obama to pay, using platinum coinage. They’ll have an excellent case, because the plain language of the law doesn’t just *allow* the Secretary of the Treasury to mint platinum coins, it *orders* him to, to meet the needs of the nation. The suing entities will include a fair number of large corporations which will literally go bankrupt due to their federal payments being cut off while assorted private contracts remain in force. The four reasonable Justices are not going to put the country into a debt ceiling depression and Roberts will act to save the corporations. Kennedy (as semi-sane) and Alito (also pro-corporate) might even sign on too.
Moron alert – hey clown, every single dollar in circulation today is fake, unbacked money. People like you are truly stupid, stupid people.
Putting aside the fact I think the coin is clearly legal, and in any event opponents to the idea have a clear standing problem and lets just assume the coin is minted, deposited with the Fed, and by the time a decision is made billions and billions of it have paid federal employees, medicare bills and defense contractors. So what happens if the courts declare the money was bad. Until people who take your position explain how this decision gets handed down in a way that addresses the “closing the barn door after the horses are gone” and the fact that the decision would likely blow up the economy, I just don’t see the courts overturning this unless they feel they are on very solid ground.
By the way, legal risk or not I just don’t see Obama doing it. He lacks the balls to do it. So this is all theoritical until there is a Rep president who does it.
@jayackroyd: That is not how I understand the law – a coin is just debt (a promise to pay) and this creates new debt. Since only congress can raise the debt ceiling to allow that debt the President and the treasury would be creating unbacked debt. Issuing bonds to cover that debt is the exact thing the treasury cannot do by that crazy law.
While I’d be thrilled to be wrong I still do not see how the treasury can issue bonds for a coin and not create debt, which then by law, isn’t allowed until congress ok’s that new debt. The idea you are suggesting does not appear to solve that issue but I may be missing something.
@Napoleon: I see you are the moron here – dollars printed today are unbacked? Really? Since the treasury sells bonds for all ‘printed money’ and these are bought by countries and hence our currency IS backed.
Wait, are you calling the current system for creating money not fake? Because it works like one of those Underpants Gnomes jokes:
1) A bank wants some bonds but doesn’t have money to buy it.
3) Unlimited corporate cash!
And that’s *exactly* how it works, except that there is an explicit step two which is “the bank in question makes an accounting entry into some megabank’s account”.
The simple truth is that money is “fake”, or more precisely it’s something society makes up so that we can coordinate better. It works because the government stands behind it with legal tender laws, taxation, and control of the money supply. It’s a creation of government, and there’s nothing more reasonable than the government creating it.
I guess it remains to be seen what the actual fallback plan is (fuck it, Obama may not have even decided what that is yet, for all we know), but I’m not sure I understand why the mint-a-coin option is bad politics, or not “grown up,” as others have said. I really have not seen a good argument against the coin. As Atrios has been pointing out lately, a lot, The modern concept of money and finance is all pretty much imaginary, anyway. The Fed has done QE on a massive scale for the last few years – that’s pretty much the same thing conceptually, as the coin. I actually think it is worse politics if the Democrats including the President aren’t putting all options on the table. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, “doing something” will actually become really really important. And if Obama is seen as too passive, that is bad news. We aren’t just talking about a few days off-message in a political contest, during election silly season. If we default, we are looking at enormous global chaos.
@Cermet: One thing is that Congress has already played new debt by passing a budget that includes it.
@Omnes Omnibus: Okayed not played fywp and fyac.
No modern republican president would hesitate for a minute to use it. W. is probably kicking himself for not thinking of it himself.
@Schlemizel: The Osama bin Laden hit, for one.
Re: the trillion-dollar coin — I imagine there are already Hollywood scripts circulating with variant titles like “The Trillion Dollar Heist”. What would happen if the Executive did in fact produce such a coin and then someone stole it? I mean, it’s the sort of thing trouser pockets were invented for. Alternatively, it gets lost down the side of one of the Oval Office’s sofas or Bo swallows it or…
@Cermet: One critical historical point you are getting wrong here: hyperinflation did not bring the Weimar Republic down – it had been over for years when the Nazis took over. Rather, the rise of fascism was associated with the financial collapse of the great depression, which led to great suffering when austerity measures were undertaken to deal with it.
The widely accepted formula of inflation –> fascism is not supported by history, or at least by that example.
The money is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. That is all. In other words, the money is real because the government says it is. In other words, we say we will always pay our debts on time and in full.
I don’t think you really should be calling anyone a moron on that point.
It’s bad politics because it’s reactive. They created a problem and you’re solving it. It’s bad politics because it’s insider-y and no one will understand it. It’s bad politics because Republicans were flailing at governing and desperately avoiding identifying anything they want to cut, and it changes the focus to what Obama will or will not do.
I don’t think it’s catastrophic bad politics, nothing like that, I just think it’s dumb to change the subject right in the middle of the Tea Party melt-down. They’re tanking. They took a huge hit with the Plan B debacle and then the Sandy funding.
Just deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of what might happen and let it ride for a while. Don’t rush in and hand them an excuse.
Anyway, just my opinion.
Read up a little. There is a lot of history written on this topic. Tons and tons. Currency and how it is backed has always been a major issue in American and global politics.
I love this platinum coin idea for simply the point-and-laugh factor of bringing out armchair economists like Cerment, who apparently don’t even have a 6th grade understanding of how money works.
Seriously, each “where are we gonna get all that Platinum” post on Facebook works great as a marker of fools.
The White House, at least, has very specifically avoided saying no.
The “Constitutional argument” and the “executive powers” arguments seem clearly wrong, and the White House has explicitly rejected the first one. The Constitution very explicitly gives *Congress*, not the president, the power to borrow money.
The platinum coin, on the other hand, appears to be actually legal. And I rather wonder if it’s any sillier than whatever means the Treasury is currently using to avoid going over the debt limit that nobody cares about.
You just can’t help yourself.
Of course the bonds you mention are designated in $s and paid with $s, so not only are you wrong, but you use an example which is basically saying “No $ are real because they are backed by bonds paid in $”. Talk about defining something in terms of itself. Thats like me saying “dog crap is worth something because they are backed by this piece of tolet paper that says I get paid a pile of dog crap on the first of each month”.
You aren’t, by chance, Kevin Drum are you?
@Cermet: I’ve never seen someone so ignorant on a relatively obscure technocratic issue be so aggressively sure of themselves.
Good job forming that circular firing squad. Hope it makes you proud.
See, I know I’m just one of the olds but I remember when crazy people weren’t the ones running the show but were the ones on the outside.
The whole coin issue is a valuable insurance policy. It’s an ace in the hole to call Teahaddists bluff and really, rationalizing or trying to reason with teahaddists…..why? What for? What value is that when clearly they only care about their own fantasy world and think the real one we live in is evil and needs to be eliminated from the face of the world. Don’t bother playing their game. It’s a game. If you are gonna spend any effort on a thing at least make it count. Spinning of wheels is what they are doing.
Kevin Drum is an NPR liberal in that he isn’t a liberal but a reasonable fellow with a delusional idea of what his opponents reasonableness is.
I’m not saying you’re wrong – how would I know? I just think that these idiots are doing everything they can to tank the system because a lot of people in the GOP think the only path back to power for them is to sow as much chaos and economic hardship as possible. They will only be a true governing party again if the world is in crisis perpetually, and they can take advantage of that. I get your point about reactivity vs proactivity, but I guess I also think Obama and Democrars don’t have a choice. We have to react because they still have enough presence in the legislative and judicial branches to cause major harm. I feel like the consequences of doing nothing, even briefly, are probably a lot worse.
@Kay: The contrary view (to fixing their problem rather than showing that they created the problem) is that if it works, no one will care. And if the economy actually gets better, Obama will get the credit.
One can hope that if it is not tried and bad things happen to the economy, then the GOP gets blamed, but that is not guaranteed.
I think that’s probably the crux of the political disagreement. I don’t think Obama and the Democrats lack leverage. To me, you want to buy insurance to guarantee against an unfavorable outcome but you’re betting it won’t cost anything, politically. I think that’s a bad bet. If I had a sense that there was some appreciation that this could backfire or do harm politically (I think it will do harm) then I would be more comfortable with it. Starting from “we don’t have a choice” is not a position of strength. I think we’re in better shape than that on this issue, politically.
I’m just really wary of what seems to be a constant impulse with us to want to shut down risky situations with One Bold Move. That to me doesn’t come off as confidence.
It reminds me of the election jitters, where people say “why aren’t we ten points ahead?”
Because you’re not. You could lose. Just deal with the risk and anxiety :)
Forum Transmitted Disease
@Cermet: Backed by what?
Go read the Wikipedia article on “fiat currency” and get a clue, please.
Paul in KY
@kindness: But, but they are large rubber bands, like on a bowflex.
Paul in KY
@White Trash Liberal: Tell her he’s going to mint more than 1 & then use one of them to buy Idaho & convert it to a muslim free-love hippy commune.
Then stand back & enjoy…
Paul in KY
@Xenos: He’s probably mentally kicking his minions who did the thinking for him.
I think we see these things differently. You see it as “fighting back”. I see it as a mechanism to shut down or stop the fight. They’re not going away once we slam our trump coin down and walk away triumphant. They’ll just be right back at it.
No they are not, but neither are they even if they “win” this one and Obama never so much as raise the possibility of the coin. There is no satisfying them, only beating them.
He should give them the chance to prove him wrong but once we hit the limit and they do nothing after some time (but not enough to do lasting damage) BO should slam the coin down and sent them back to the drawing board on how they next will try and destroy the USA (which they will do regardless of the outcome of this fight).
J R in WV
Yeh, the wingnuts are actually trying to destroy America as it exists, so they can return to the America of 1859 as they “remember” it.
And without a liberal Democratic party to fight with, because they plan to put us all in FEMA camps until we become as crazy as they are. I know this is their plan, because it’s what they accuse President Obama of. They can’t help projecting their fetishes onto their opponents, it’s part of their illness.
The best way to understand their next move is to closely analyze their absurd claims about the plans of the Democratic majority in the Senate.
I guess minting the coin depends on whether or not you believe the insane clown car that is the current GOP will actually blink first. At this point I’m not sure that they just won’t pull a Thelma and Louise and fly off the cliff. And by the way, they will be towing the World Economy behind them. So, you leave the 1T coin on the table as an option, then sit back and see just how far they are willing to go.
I guess you’d have to lay out where the coin gets you to persuade me. Obviously, you think it takes the debt limit off the table thereby increasing leverage. Is that as far as you’ve gotten? Are we still at the “debating legality” part of the plan? Is there a plan past “produce trump card….see what happens?” Are you buying time? If you are, all I’m saying is I think you should consider the potential cost of the time you’re buying. It seems to me you want to make an ultimatum without risk. I don’t really have any problem with an ultimatum at this point, I’d consider the cost-benefit of that, but not if I’m being assured I have “insurance” against any downside at all. I don’t think that’s true. If you want to fight, engage and fight. Stop insisting you don’t have to engage, you’ll just use your coin, and then simultaneously insisting that you’re fighting.
I don’t think actually using the coin will be politically popular. At all. Threatening to use the coin thus comes with risk. If you’re taking that into account I apologize, but I don’t think you are.
Why would you give up the enormous leverage of House Republicans being solely responsible for a crisis by offering them an Obama-initiated out? Congress doesn’t completely abandon their duty enough already? We need to give them cover on this? Or is it a sort of leverage with Obama? There, the argument would be Obama doesn’t have to engage on the sequester because he has this coin option, so if he says he has to engage, you pull out the coin and say “use this”. That at least makes sense to me. I don’t think it makes any sense in terms of leverage with Republicans.
I think I’m going to drop out of the coin discussion because I obviously don’t see the master plan here :)
Reagan is an appropriate face for a trillion-dollar coin, since he, and the idiotic ideology that deifies him, is repsonsible for a big fat proportion of the national debt.
Platinum coin, schmatinum coin — why aren’t we addressing the real problems facing us today, like the lack of a BJ meetup in Tokyo? To reduce the Japanese deficit vs GDP via increased alcohol purchasing?