Boston Tea Party resolution: Repudiate the debt

POC Thomas L. Knapp


DATELINE – As the US government’s debt creeps past the $10.5 trillion mark and President-elect Barack Obama warns Americans to expect trillion-dollar deficits in coming years, the Boston Tea Party
modestly proposes a new approach: Repudiate the debt and yank
Congress’s borrowing privileges.

“Dump it,” says the party’s national chairman, Douglass Gaking. “Throw it in the harbor. Tell the bond speculators who plunked down money in the expectation that we’d milk our children and grandchildren to pad their portfolios that they lost their bets.”

On Friday, the party’s national committee unanimously adopted a
resolution calling for a constitutional amendment repealing Section 4
of the 14th Amendment (which states that the debt “shall not be
questioned”), repudiating the existing debt, and forbidding future
deficit spending.

“Since the birth of the republic, our government has operated on the
assumption that it can borrow money and place the burden of repayment on future generations,” says Gaking. “The last time it got its books into the black was 1835. Continually growing debt is not sustainable, and attempting to stick Americans with the check for the purchases of spendthrift politicians isn’t right.”

The presumptive personal debt burden of each and every American —
man, woman and child — for past US government expenditures now
exceeds $35,000 and is growing at a rate of more than $3,000 per year.

The committee’s resolution was prompted by the activities of libertarian activists. Last week, an Arizona-based group launched an Internet video campaign encouraging children to make “it’s not my debt” videos; earlier this week, a BTP committee member launched an Internet petition calling for the constitutional amendment.

The Boston Tea Party, a new libertarian party which ran its first presidential slate in 2008, campaigns on a one-sentence platform: “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”

Boston Tea Party Web Site:

“It’s Not My Debt” video campaign:

Petition to Repudiate the National Debt:

Posted to IPR by Paulie

3 thoughts on “Boston Tea Party resolution: Repudiate the debt

  1. Prospective Advertiser

    Excerpt below …

    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.

    Any melding of public debt into a private transaction must rest on the common but absurd notion that taxation is really “voluntary,” and that whenever the government does anything, “we” are willingly doing it. This convenient myth was wittily and trenchantly disposed of by the great economist Joseph Schumpeter: “The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or of the purchases of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social sciences is from scientific habits of mind.” Morality and economic utility generally go hand in hand. Contrary to Alexander Hamilton, who spoke for a small but powerful clique of New York and Philadelphia public creditors, the national debt is not a “national blessing.” The annual government deficit, plus the annual interest payment that keeps rising as the total debt accumulates, increasingly channels scarce and precious private savings into wasteful government boondoggles, which “crowd out” productive investments. Establishment economists, including Reaganomists, cleverly fudge the issue by arbitrarily labeling virtually all government spending as “investments,” making it sound as if everything is fine and dandy because savings are being productively “invested.” 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 “valuefree”; 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 boombust “business cycles.”

    It is for all these reasons that the Jeffersonians and Jacksonians (who, contrary to the myths of historians, were extraordinarily knowledgeable in economic and monetary theory) hated and reviled the public debt. Indeed, the national debt was paid off twice in American history, the first time by Thomas Jefferson and the second, and undoubtedly the last time, by Andrew Jackson.

    / excerpt ends

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