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Coupon-clipping demystified

   by a beguiling defense of public debt

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Weary of reading play-by-play stories about  the Treasury Department’s efforts to manage in light of the hold-up by right-wing Republicans over reaching the federal debt ceiling – impoundment decisions, discharge petitions, and various accounting maneuvers – I took down my copy of Barry Eichengreen’s In Defense of Public Debt (Oxford, 2021) to remind me of what, at bottom, the fracas is all about. Eichengreen, an economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley, is still not yet a household word in homes wherein economics is dinner-tables conversation, though earlier this month he was named (with four others) a distinguished