March 9, 2011
According to this Christian Science Monitor article, the U.S. national debt ceiling was raised more than 40 times since 1980! Meanwhile, the usual mealy-mouthed “centrist” Republicans in Washington are not giving clear answers on whether they will vote to raise the debt ceiling. They will vote to raise the debt ceiling, like all the other irresponsible, mealy-mouthed hacks in Washington who really live in some far-out loony-land of free money, or, “funny-money,” and the pretend money that doesn’t really exist to them because future generations will handle it. That is the thinking of selfish, self-centered parasites who live at the expense of others: Demand that their — really our – grandchildren pay for their selfishness and greed.
America has become a Third World banana republic (or, more accurately, a banana democracy), in which short-sightedness and immediate gratification are the rule and responsibility and frugality are the exception. Those clueless oinkers in Washington are really like infants who haven’t had their diapers changed in a while as they roll around in their own…whatever. Sorry to be so obnoxious here, but I am so sick of the utter irresponsibility and criminality in Washington, as those dirty kleptocrats continue to further chisel away at our Liberty and throw us into economic ruin in the name of feathering their own messy nests.
These are thoroughly disgusting simians there in Washington, and they give further and further reason to completely abolish the federal government and let the states have their independence and sovereignty, and I’m going to continue to repeat that until someone starts to agree with me.
One myth about “debtors’” relief is that debtors are habitually poor and creditors rich, so that intervening to save debtors is merely a requirement of egalitarian “fairness.” But this assumption was never true: in business, the wealthier the businessman the more likely he is to be a large debtor. It is the Donald Trumps and Robert Maxwells of this world whose debts spectacularly exceed their assets. Intervention on behalf of debtors has generally been lobbied for by large businesses with large debts….
In a free-market economy that respects property rights, the volume of private debt is self-policed by the necessity to repay the creditor, since no Papa Government is letting you off the hook. In addition, the interest rate a debtor must pay depends not only on the general rate of time preference but on the degree of risk he as a debtor poses to the creditor. A good credit risk will be a “prime borrower,” who will pay relatively low interest; on the other hand, an improvident person or a transient who has been bankrupt before, will have to pay a much higher interest rate, commensurate with the degree of risk on the loan.
Most people, unfortunately, apply the same analysis to public debt as they do to private. If sanctity of contracts should rule in the world of private debt, shouldn’t they be equally as sacrosanct in public debt? Shouldn’t public debt be governed by the same principles as private? The answer is no, even though such an answer may shock the sensibilities of most people. The reason is that the two forms of debt-transaction are totally different. If I borrow money from a mortgage bank, I have made a contract to transfer my money to a creditor at a future date; in a deep sense, he is the true owner of the money at that point, and if I don’t pay I am robbing him of his just property. But when government borrows money, it does not pledge its own money; its own resources are not liable. Government commits not its own life, fortune, and sacred honor to repay the debt, but ours. This is a horse, and a transaction, of a very different color…
The public debt transaction, then, is very different from private debt. Instead of a low-time preference creditor exchanging money for an IOU from a high-time preference debtor, the government now receives money from creditors, both parties realizing that the money will be paid back not out of the pockets or the hides of the politicians and bureaucrats, but out of the looted wallets and purses of the hapless taxpayers, the subjects of the state. The government gets the money by tax-coercion; and the public creditors, far from being innocents, know full well that their proceeds will come out of that selfsame coercion. In short, public creditors are willing to hand over money to the government now in order to receive a share of tax loot in the future. This is the opposite of a free market, or a genuinely voluntary transaction. Both parties are immorally contracting to participate in the violation of the property rights of citizens in the future. Both parties, therefore, are making agreements about other people’s property, and both deserve the back of our hand. The public credit transaction is not a genuine contract that need be considered sacrosanct, any more than robbers parceling out their shares of loot in advance should be treated as some sort of sanctified contract…
In reality, however, government spending only qualifies as “investment” in an Orwellian sense; government actually spends on behalf of the “consumer goods” and desires of bureaucrats, politicians, and their dependent client groups. Government spending, therefore, rather than being “investment,” is consumer spending of a peculiarly wasteful and unproductive sort, since it is indulged not by producers but by a parasitic class that is living off, and increasingly weakening, the productive private sector. Thus, we see that statistics are not in the least “scientific” or “value-free”; how data are classified – whether, for example, government spending is “consumption” or “investment” – depends upon the political philosophy and insights of the classifier.
Deficits and a mounting debt, therefore, are a growing and intolerable burden on the society and economy, both because they raise the tax burden and increasingly drain resources from the productive to the parasitic, counterproductive, “public” sector. Moreover, whenever deficits are financed by expanding bank credit – in other words, by creating new money – matters become still worse, since credit inflation creates permanent and rising price inflation as well as waves of boom-bust “business cycles.”…
I propose, then, a seemingly drastic but actually far less destructive way of paying off the public debt at a single blow: out-right debt repudiation. Consider this question: why should the poor, battered citizens of Russia or Poland or the other ex-Communist countries be bound by the debts contracted by their former Communist masters? In the Communist situation, the injustice is clear: that citizens struggling for freedom and for a free-market economy should be taxed to pay for debts contracted by the monstrous former ruling class. But this injustice only differs by degree from “normal” public debt. For, conversely, why should the Communist government of the Soviet Union have been bound by debts contracted by the Czarist government they hated and overthrew? And why should we, struggling American citizens of today, be bound by debts created by a past ruling elite who contracted these debts at our expense? One of the cogent arguments against paying blacks “reparations” for past slavery is that we, the living, were not slaveholders. Similarly, we the living did not contract for either the past or the present debts incurred by the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington….
But if this scheme is considered too Draconian, why not treat the federal government as any private bankrupt is treated (forgetting about Chapter 11)? The government is an organization, so why not liquidate the assets of that organization and pay the creditors (the government bondholders) a pro-rata share of those assets? This solution would cost the taxpayer nothing, and, once again, relieve him of $200 billion in annual interest payments. The United States government should be forced to disgorge its assets, sell them at auction, and then pay off the creditors accordingly. What government assets? There are a great deal of assets, from TVA to the national lands to various structures such as the Post Office. The massive CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, should raise a pretty penny for enough condominium housing for the entire work force inside the Beltway. Perhaps we could eject the United Nations from the United States, reclaim the land and buildings, and sell them for luxury housing for the East Side gliterati. Another serendipity out of this process would be a massive privatization of the socialized land of the Western United States and of the rest of America as well. This combination of repudiation and privatization would go a long way to reducing the tax burden, establishing fiscal soundness, and desocializing the United States.