QUESTION: Hello Marty
I am hoping you will print this in your blog.
Everyone knows that Govt’s/Banks print money out of thin air and then “owe interest” to this invented money. To avoid an interest payment death spiral why can’t all the Govt’s in the world just tell the banks to pound sand? Why can’t we tell them “Sorry….we are no longer going to make interest payments on money you invented out of nothing”.
ANSWER: I actually get this question often. I understand that the sophistry out there makes it sound so easy. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near the mark. The bulk of the lending that leverages the money supply is involved in consumer loans. So this really would create a very unfair arrangement that reminds me of the incident with Mark Antony. Everyone talked about the bankers and assumed that Julius Caesar would rule that all debt was to be forgiven. Mark Anthony believed Caesar would do that so he ran out and bought Pompey estate assuming he would never have to pay for it (see Anatomy of a Debt Crisis it appears, only Julius Caesar ever understood).
To do what you suggest may sound simple but it would produce riots and blood in the streets. Your pension would be gone because most funds invest in debt. What if you were retiring and bought muni bonds to live on because you were told they were tax-free? Perhaps you could not sell your house to retire because the buyer could not get a mortgage so you took the mortgage. That would mean he now gets the house for free.
Trust me – it would be a bloodbath in the streets.