Refuse to Pay Government Debt Incurred for Unlawful and Oppressive Purposes ... It Is the Personal Debt of Those Who Ordered It to Be Incurred
By Washington's Blog
February 12, 2010 " Washington's Blog" - - 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.
These "odious debts" are considered to be the personal debts of the tyrants who incurred them, rather than the country's debt.
Wikipedia gives a good overview of the principle:
In international law, odious debt is a legal theory which holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, such as wars of aggression, should not be enforceable. Such debts are thus considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.Jubilee USA notes that creditors may lose their rights to repayment of odious debts:
The launch of the Iraq war was an unlawful war of aggression. It was based on false premises (weapons of mass destruction and a connection between Iraq and 9/11; see this, this, this, this, this and this). Therefore, the trillions in debts incurred in fighting that war are odious debts which the people might lawfully refuse to pay for.
The Bush and Obama administrations have also oppressed the American people through spying on us - even before 9/11 (confirmed here and here) - harassment of innocent grandmothers and other patriotic Americans criticizing government action, and other assaults on liberty and the rule of law. See this. The monies borrowed to finance these oppressive activities are also odious debts.
The government has also given trillions in bailouts, loans, guarantees and other perks to the too big to fails. These funds have not helped the American people. For example, the giant banks are still not loaning. They have solely gone into speculative investments and to line the pockets of the muckety-mucks in the form of bonuses. PhD economist Dean Baker said that the true purpose of the bank rescues is "a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives". Two leading IMF officials, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, and the the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City have all said that the United States is controlled by an oligarchy. PhD economist Michael Hudson says that the financial “parasites” have killed the American economy, and they are "sucking as much money out" as they can before "jumping ship". These are odious debts.
Bush, Cheney, Paulson, Geithner, Summers and others who ordered that these debts be incurred must be held personally liable for them. We the American people are not responsible to creditors - such as China, Saudi Arabia - who have knowingly financed these illegal and oppressive activities which have not benefited the American people, but solely the handful of corrupt politicians who authorized them.
Note: Of course, many mom and pop American investors hold U.S. treasury bonds as well. The size of their haircuts on U.S. bonds might - under a strict reading of the principle of odious debt - depend on whether or not they knew of the unlawful and oppressive activities of the U.S. government. Arguably, small individual investors tend to be much less knowledgeable about such matters than other countries such as China or Saudi Arabia.