Bruce Bartlett is shocked to discover that a few economists, Murray Rothbard and myself included, are not default alarmists. His latest New York Times column is a strangely disjointed, hackneyed piece that simply lists people who have doubted the conventional wisdom that America Must Not Default at All Costs. Bartlett lumps together serious critics such as Rothbard, Ron Paul, James Buchanan, and Niall Ferguson with less serious people like Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, and Pat Buchanan, hoping to establish guilt by association. Naturally, he doesn’t offer any analysis or commentary. But he does quote Rothbard and, thankfully, his editors made him put in links to the originals so readers can check for themselves.
In 1992, the libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote an essay supporting debt repudiation, saying, “Why should we, struggling American citizens of today, be bound by debts created by a past ruling elite who contracted these debts at our expense?”
Just last year, the Rothbard essay was reprinted on the Web site of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, where Tea Party ideas often originate. A companion Web site run by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., the president of the Mises Institute, often publishes articles advocating debt default by the economist Gary North and others. Just last week, it reprinted a 2011 essay by the University of Missouri economist Peter G. Klein saying that a Treasury default is no big deal.
That’s not exactly what I wrote but hey, at least he spelled my name correctly.