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Is Momentum Growing for Debt Repudiation?

As I noted in November:

Debtors are revolting against exorbitant interest rates and fees and other aggressive tactics by the too big to fail banks. See this, this, and this.

Portfolio manager and investment advisor Marshall Auerback argues that a debtor’s revolt would be a good thing.

And even popular personal finance advisor Suze Orman is highlighting the debtors revolt phenomenon on her national tv show.

As I pointed out in February:

There is an established legal principle that people should not have to repay their government’s debt to the extent that it is incurred to launch aggressive wars or to oppress the people.

Matt Taibbi wrote Monday:

As powerful as these Wall Street banks may seem, they are also exquisitely vulnerable. Right now virtually all of them are dependent upon the government keeping accounting standards lax enough for all of them to claim to be functional businesses. It is generally accepted that if the major banks on Wall Street were forced to mark all of their assets to market tomorrow, they would all be either insolvent or close to it.

Thus their “healthy” financial status is already illusory. So imagine what would happen if large numbers of those dubious loans on their balance sheets that they have marked down as “performing” were suddenly pushed ahead of time into the default column. What if Greece, and the Pennsylvania school system, and Jefferson County, Alabama, and the countless other municipalities and states that are wrapped up in these corrupt deals just decided to declare their debts illegitimate and back out?

I think it”s an interesting question and would like to hear what knowledgeable people in the field have to say about it. But the big picture, to me, is that these companies are almost totally dependent not only upon the continued good faith of aggrieved debtors, but upon the government recognizing the (sometimes fraudulent) loans made to those debtors as fully performing.

Former Managing Director and board member of Wall Street investment bank Dillon Read, president of Hamilton Securities Group, Inc., an investment bank, and former government servant Catherin Austin Fitts wrote Tuesday:

Look up “fraudulent inducement.” My position as the former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner and then as lead financial advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is that the majority of the mortgages originated in the United States after 1996 were fraudulently induced.

The way to deal with criminals is to treat our contracts with them in a manner reciprocal to how they have treated their contracts with us.

Will a growing movement to abrogate contracts with institutions who have broken the law be disruptive? Yes. Will that require painful adjustments? Yes. That is the price we pay to deal with the challenges we face. This includes the fact that the banks have sold criminally originated debts to our pension funds and retirement accounts as well as to allies and institutions around the world.

It is much less painful, however, than the price we will pay if we continue to operate by a double standard whereby large institutions and a small group of people are permitted to live and operate above the law. So let”s address the lawlessness in the financial sector, face the national security issues involved in using our financial markets for economic warfare and begin the transformation.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in 2009:

In the end, the only way out of all this global debt may prove to be a Biblical debt Jubilee.

And Michael Hudson – who also calls for a debt jubiliee – wrote yesterday:

The only way to resolve the [European debt crisis] is to negotiate a debt write-off…

Is momentum growing for debt repudiation?

The most cynical (but not necessarily inaccurate) view of debt I’ve seen is that banks loan out imaginary money they don’t really have, which was “collateralized” by capital they did not really have, based upon central bank printing presses which create money out of thin air which they don’t really have. But then when debtors have trouble repaying onerous loans, the bankers seize real assets. See this and this.

In other words, according to the most cynical view, the entire debt-money system is a scam … and should be repudiated.

View the original article at Washingtons Blog

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