Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dear World, We Shall Default

Brain Micklethwait makes another valuable contribution in regard to fixing the economic crisis:

It needs to be said that under certain circumstances easily now imaginable, many Western citizens would argue, strongly and vocally, that those idiot foreigners who are now lending money to Western governments should in due course be told: sorry sunshine, you ain't ever going to get it back. Our governments are bankrupt. Why the hell should we and our descendants in perpetuity be paying tribute to you? You knew that the money to pay you back would have to be stolen from us. You assumed we'd just cough up indefinitely. Well, we damn well won't. You are now a definite part of our problem, and telling you to take a hike is going to be part of our solution. Our thieving class is now "borrowing" money from your thieving class like there is no tomorrow, and we are not responsible for the actions of either gang. A plague on both your houses.

As he mentions elsewhere, Micklethwait is feeling smug about coming up with the pro-default message. I believe smugness is justified in this case. We should not confuse our private, freely entered into obligations, which we do need to repay, with this illegitimate thievery done in the name of the state, contrary even to the very arguments for which the state claims to derive authority. How can an entity for the public good create public debt?

I shall add default to the list of things a politician must profess if he wants me to go vote for him. I realize he could renege, but just having it as a campaign promise would help destablize the current regime.

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