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We owe it to ourselves

I guess Rick Santelli didn’t get the memo that we don’t have to worry about debt because we owe it to ourselves. (HT: Tom Tomb)

If as some claim, we owe it to ourselves, if all of the $15.6 trillion was held by Americans, shouldn’t it be OK to just repudiate the debt at any time? But that is clearly not OK. So what is the significance of the phrase “we owe it to ourselves”? More here on the topic from Don.