Freeman

ANYTHING PEACEFUL

Default ... or Renege?

JULY 30, 2011 by SHELDON RICHMAN

Via Don Boudreaux, Roger Garrison notes that one cannot choose to default.

As he wrote to Boudreaux:

You mention, though, that the government could “choose to default.” Well, if default means that you’re unable to pay, then “choosing to default” must mean that you “choose to be unable to pay.” Hey, that really does sound like government-speak. But I think a more accurate and more revealing term is “renege.”

Speaking for myself, reneging in this case would to some small extent liberate the taxpayers from an unchosen obligation, so it would not carry the moral taint that private reneging on debt obligations does

ABOUT

SHELDON RICHMAN

Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and TheFreemanOnline.org, and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families.

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