Would Somebody Explain To Fox News How Money Works Please (UPDATE)


Updated at bottom.

Some particularly silly people have found a possible way around this upcoming debt-ceiling debacle, a solution that is almost as crazy as the fact that we have a routine that involves regular debt-ceiling debacles. They want to mint a platinum coin worth $1 trillion dollars, and they, of course, have the White House petition to go along with it.

Long story short, the idea is that if the House Republicans won't let the Treasury pay the bills we have already accrued, the secretary of the Treasury can use a legislative loophole to mint a platinum coin, say it's worth a trillion bucks, and deposit it into the bank, for paying bills (and possibly hookers).

And — surprise! — the concept completely eludes Fox News.

During a segment featuring an undoubtedly ingenious guest, Fox News displayed a graphic that said the platinum coin "would weigh 17,773,995 tons," be "equal in weight to 89 blue whales," and "equal to ballistic missile submarine." Hey, Fox News Maker of Graphics: Here's a link to the Wikipedia article on seigniorage. It explains why it doesn't make any damn sense for money to be worth the amount it costs to manufacture, which you probably should have known, on account of 100-dollar bills are the same size as 1-dollar bills instead of giant money-tarps.

So, right. Do not listen to Fox News about this coin thing, because they do not appear have a rudimentary knowledge of what a coin even is. The platinum coin would not weigh a zillionty pounds — it could be the size of, say, a quarter, and would carry with it only the weight of a completely failed fiscal system.

[Part that we now realize uses the wrong number:]

Also, even if we assume that a trillion-dollar coin would cost one trillion dollars, because the Treasury is run by toddlers, the numbers are still wrong. Platinum was trading yesterday at $1,632.40 per troy ounce, so $1 trillion in platinum would weigh about 612,594,952 troy ounces. That's about 42,006,511 pounds, which is 21,000 tons: Fox News was only off by 17,752,995 tons! A literal 99.9 percent error!

It may also surprise you to know that Fox's 17,773,995-ton number is, somehow, not equal to 89 blue whales, on account of a blue whale does not weigh 400 million pounds. Saying a weight is "equal to ballistic missile submarine" is also insanely inaccurate, doubly so because nobody runs around weighing submarines when they aren't floating in the water. (It would take around 1,060 Ohio-class submarines sitting in the water to displace 17,773,995 tons of water, NOT ONE, since we're on a roll with the numbers.)

Update, 1:40 p.m.: We have been snookered, by an insidious Fox News Decimal Point! We thought they wrote "17,773,995 tons," but they actually wrote "17,773.995 tons," with a decimal point, which is far smaller. Turns out when you say something would weigh "17,773.995 tons,” people read that leetle tiny decimal point as a comma, because when a number is that big, there is no conceivable reason to NOT round 0.995 up to the next-largest number unless you want the number to look deceptively large. We thought it was a comma, so sorry, Fox's calculation was not off by an order of a thousand, they just made it look like it was.

In any case, the point about Fox News not knowing how money works still totally stands. Carry on.

[Raw Story]

Check out Wonkette on Facebook and Twitter, and, if you're interested in other things the size of 89 blue whales, Rich Abdill is on Twitter too.

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Fellow Wonkers, this last week of horror has been wearing on us all, because here we are in a world where the "president" of the United States has ordered that migrant children be taken away from their parents at the border, and is simultaneously proud of it (for his base) and cravenly blaming it on Democrats because even he knows it's morally reprehensible. But what the hell can we do about it beyond calling our senators and representatives and posting sadness on Twitter, the latter of which is of dubious utility to anyone, and mostly depressing?

Resist the urge to disappear into a bottle. The kids and the families need you.

Slate has compiled a great list of places to start, which we will liberally summarize for you right now:

The thing these folks need most is LAWYERS. If you're an immigration lawyer, you're probably already swamped. But on the off chance you have time and expertise to spare, the American Immigration Lawyers Association is building a list of volunteers.

Yr Dok Zoom has given money to the fine folks at RAICES, a San Antonio-based group that has two major projects. They're getting lawyers for migrant families (and for the kids when possible) and raising money to pay migrant parents' bond so they can be out of jail and with their families. If you're in Texas, then click here to volunteer!

Update: RAICES is also holding a "what you can do" webinar this Thursday:

Also for folks who are in Texas:

The Texas Civil Rights Project is seeking "volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q'eqchi' or K'iche' and have paralegal or legal assistant experience."

There's also CARA -- an umbrella organization for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Together, they provide legal services at immigration detention centers.

To help kids who are already in immigration detention, there's Kids in Need of Defense, which provides children with representation in immigration court and also lobbies for children's legal interests. Donate here.

If you're not quite sure where to give, ActBlue has bundled several immigrant rights groups into a single donation button -- see the list and donate here.

Remember, there's always the ACLU, which is fighting family separation with a federal class action lawsuit.

You want to march? Former top government ethics lawyer Walter Shaub, who gave up trying to tell the Trump administration what ethics even are, will be announcing the details of a national march (think DC and local affiliated marches) tonight on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes." We'll make noise here, too.

Good people are coming together to put an end to this cruelty. EVERY Democrat in the Senate is now co-sponsoring Dianne Feinstein's bill to stop family separation.

And hell, we'll even give the last word to Jennifer Rubin, who seems to have reassessed some of her previous political views. She has a reminder for all of us:

Damn straight. Remember it every damn day between now and then.

It's your open thread. Don't boo -- organize. Time to RESIST.

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter

Don't take for granted that the institutions you love will always be there, like democracy, and Wonkette. Click to save at least one of them!


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There are perks to being the only Harvard professor willing to shill for the Bush League Mussolini. Everyone else has to haul ass to the Fox studio and sit for hair and makeup. Not Alan Dershowitz! He just parks his laptop in Pee Wee's playhouse and Skypes in that rant. Is he even wearing pants? We hope never to find out!

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