I've been eagerly awaiting The Daily Show's take on the platinum coin, but when it finally came Thursday night, the result was a crushing disappointment. No movie-caper scenarios, no catchphrase punch lines, just a you-so-crazy reaction. What's more, the whole premise of Jon Stewart's reaction was completely uninformed. He seems to think the plan is designed not to prevent massive market dislocations caused by Republicans refusing to lift the debt ceiling, but to cover the budget deficit. Here's his setup:
America’s got a bit of a cash-flow problem these days. We have a $16 trillion debt. Our credit rating actually got downgraded for the first time last year. So I think you can all agree it’s time to get serious and figure out a way to restore the world’s respect for the soundness of our currency ...
No, that's not it. None of those points is relevant. It's not about the deficit at all. The credit downgrade was a pure political statement by S&P, one that had no impact at all on the markets. Respect for our currency remains extremely high, as evidenced by massive demand for it even at rock-bottom interest rates. We have no cash-flow problem at all.
It's hard to say exactly what Jon Stewart and his writers think about economic policy, but there is some odd vein of Hooverism that pops up from time to time. Take his 2009 interview with White House budget director Peter Orszag:
This happened in April of 2009 as the world economy was in a free fall. The whole comedic premise of the entire interview was "Oh my God, the deficit is so big; why don't you solve that?" Stewart compared the U.S. government to a family and asked what would happen if it called up its credit card company and said it was projecting a deficit of uncertain size. (Orszag correctly replied that families run deficits with credit card companies all the time.) He prodded with questions like, "When you say 'we’re cutting that down' — when?"
Orszag tried to gently explain that it wasn't important to cut the deficit right away, but Stewart did not seem to take that premise at all. (He did push back a bit on Über-deficit-hawk Alan Simpson in a more recent interview.)
Now, obviously it's not an economics show, but the premise of a joke is supposed to be reality, and the punch line is the departure from reality. The joke here proceeds as if we all know that Herbert Hoover's views on fiscal policy are obviously correct.
Most Viewed Stories
Daniel Craig Maybe Almost Bankrupted Skyfall With a Pair of Tough Guy Leather Gloves
The Real Reason You’ll Never Be Able to Parent Like a French Mom
What’s New on Netflix: July 2016
How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym
The Bachelor Casting Call Was a Hellish 3-Hour Line to Nowhere
Liberals Need to Stop Writing Off Non–College Educated Workers — Before the White Working Class Writes Off Liberals
Think Gender Is Performance? You Have Judith Butler to Thank for That.
Stoya Speaks Out on James Deen, Consent, and Fixing the Porn Industry
Everything We Know So Far About The Grand Tour, the Top Gear Hosts’ New Amazon Prime Show
With 14 Teen Girls Missing in the Bronx, City Councilman Fears Prostitution Ring
Latest News from Daily IntelligencerDonald Trump Thinks America Must Commit War Crimes As a Matter of Principle
Polling suggests Trump's support for war crimes isn't a political winner, but the presumptive GOP nominee says America must do "unthinkable" things to ISIS, regardless.Scientists Unintentionally Created This Popping New Shade of Blue
They’re calling it “a happy accidental discovery, or serendipity.”Panhandling Fake Monks Have Returned to New York
Would you like to make a donation to a made-up temple? Here's a bogus peace medallion while you think that over.Conservatives Argue for a GOP Platform Vague and Minimalist Enough to Accommodate Trump
Republicans have huge divisions in opinion over issues ranging from trade to torture. Maybe if the party platform is short enough ...Puerto Rico Defaults on Constitutionally Guaranteed Debt
The default comes one day after Obama signed a bill that will allow the island to restructure its debt.Trump Convention Might Be Conventional Snoozefest After All
Many of the grand or weird ideas for the Republican National Convention we heard about earlier seem to be falling by the wayside.Man Who Attacked Two Manhattan Women With Poop Has Been Arrested
He attacked one woman with a bag of feces, and threw excrement at another on the Upper East Side.Donald Trump Used Charity Money to Buy Himself a Helmet Signed by Tim Tebow
The Donald J. Trump foundation is starting to look like the GOP nominee's personal slush fund for failed quarterbacks' memorabilia.Senate Retires Blackberries for Staffers; In Other News, Senate Staffers Were Still Using Blackberries
It’s probably a good time to shut down their MySpace pages, too.Even Republicans on Trump’s VP Short-List Aren’t That Excited About His Candidacy
Christie’s the top contender, as he’s only said that he finds Trump deeply offensive with his eyes.
Our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today.
The Democratic runner-up pushed back on claims that he was ready to stand fully behind his former opponent.Republicans Hope to Give Marco Rubio His Dream Opponent in Florida Senate Race
A scandal involving the Establishment Democrat may help prop up his less-electable primary opponent.Tesla Under Investigation After Fatal Crash Is Linked to Self-Driving System
A Tesla Model S hit a tractor-trailer in Florida while in "Autopilot" mode in May.Liberals Need to Stop Writing Off Non–College Educated Workers — Before the White Working Class Writes Off Liberals
To counter the rising tide of right-wing populism, Democrats need to stop pushing higher education as the one true path to economic security.The House Will Vote on Gun Legislation Next Week, But It’s Probably Not What the Democrats Were Hoping For
The Democrats staged their historic gun-control sit-in last week.Planned Parenthood Is Going After Restrictive Abortion Laws in Eight Other States
Expect a new wave of litigation after the Supreme Court's decision on Texas's abortion law.What We Know So Far About the Istanbul Airport Attackers
Turkish officials believe the three men are from Russia and Central Asia, and may have crossed into Turkey from Syria last month.Trump Subtracts 3 From 5 and Gets 1 in Reaction to SCOTUS Abortion Decision
You'd think he would be careful not to screw up on anything related to the subject of abortion. You'd be wrong.Think America’s Primary System Is Too Closed? Look at Britain’s
In the U.K., the rank and file pay dues to become party members, and letting them choose leaders is a recent innovation.