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Open Letter to Wen Jiabo and the
 Chinese Government

By Kyle Bennett

March 16, 2009

You've expressed concern with the safety of the hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasury instruments that you possess. Your concern is well founded.

They will not be paid in full.

First, while I have your attention, let me state that since you are communist thugs who brutalize your people and have no right to run a country, or even to breath the air of this planet, I have no sympathy for your predicament. Its a shame that some in this country are burdened with the belief that they are in debt to the likes of you, but that is their problem. It is not, generally, a problem the American people are saddled with. We never agreed to be in your debt.

Understand one thing, and though I'm sure you already know it, I will spell it out clearly so there is no misunderstanding. That paper you hold is backed by only one thing: the presumed ability now and in the future of our government to rob or extort from the American people the money that will be used to repay you.

I refer to the paper you "hold", rather than own, because you own nothing. What you were promised was not the property of the people you made your deals with. It was not theirs to offer, and it is not now yours. Your deal was with a relatively small handful of United States officials, George Bush, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson, Barak Obama, Tim Geithner, and others. It was not with us. It was with them, and it is with them or their assigns that you will have to deal in the future.

That they have promised you our cooperation, willing or otherwise, should be of little comfort to you. They have no authority to make such promises on our behalf, nor on generations yet unborn. Their promises were based on the assumption that the force of law, or the naked force of arms, will remain at their service to be placed in your service. That is a risky assumption.

I know you are fully aware that this paper your hold is backed only by submission to presumed authority, by threats of extortion, or by naked aggression. That is the way you yourself are accustomed to operating. But it is not how we are accustomed to operating. We are not you, we are free men, and we will only acquiesce to being burdened with these obligations so long as we believe that accepting them is in our interests.

It is not - not anymore. The profligate borrowing and spending of our government in the past decades, vastly accelerated in the last year, has not been in our interests. It is clear to us now that it was in the sole interests of those who have come to believe that we are their servants, rather than they ours. We are not slaves nor servants. We will not work our lives away for the sole benefit of domestic rulers, let alone the foreign "creditors" they would have us believe we owe our blood and sweat and soil to.

One way or another, these promises will not be kept in full. Even if we, and future generations, should agree to accept these obligations, they have far exceeded our ability to ever repay them. But we won't agree. We know they are too high to ever pay, we know the generations of continued, brutal sacrifice that would be required if we tried, and we know that they are not legitimately our obligations.

Many of our most productive workers have already begun to reduce their levels of economic activity, determined to have no, or at least a reduced, part in our new President's grandiose schemes of taxation and other overt and covert means of value extraction. As the demands on the remaining producers rise, as they must to maintain the level of payments you and others (both at home and abroad) have been promised, more will choose this route. In addition, the ripple effects will result in diminished production across the board, in all sectors of the economy. It is a downward spiral that will certainly hurt our own economy, but it will also limit the resources available to be funneled to your coffers, not to mention the effects it will have on your own export economy.

By the way, we call that "shrugging" over here, and you may be very interested to read a book that has become quite influential in our culture. It is called "Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand, an escapee from the same kind of brutal dictatorship that you are running over there. I believe it has been translated into Chinese, for your convenience. If not, I'm sure you can order some hapless translator to do the work for you, then shoot him for having become aware of such subversive ideas.

Worse, for you (though better for us), it is likely that sometime in the future, some among those who see this situation for what it is will come to power - either through election or other means - and may just tell you openly that the pretense of those agreements you made with our rulers of today is thereafter null and void. That would certainly be a drastic action in a geopolitical sense, but those in power now have committed such drastic and egregious violations of the public trust that it may be the less drastic alternative. It would certainly be the right thing to do.

Finally - and this is the alternative you are clearly, by your recent statements, most concerned about - we may actually repay the full nominal value of those bonds. Of course, you realize that the only way to do that would be for that nominal value to represent a far lower real value. If our currency becomes so devalued that we can pay the entire tab off for the equivalent of, say, an order of Peking Duck and some pot stickers, then we would probably be willing to remit payment just to stop having to listen to your whining and strident demands.

I would suggest to you that you sell those bonds now. Ahh, but you're in a bind there, aren't you? The moment you slacken your continuous demand, or go as far as to become a net seller of US Treasuries, the market price of your remaining holdings will plummet. If you tried to sell enough to matter, you'd receive pennies on the dollar from them. I'm not sure what that would do to your balance sheet (do you even have balance sheets? How does accounting work in a communist economy? How do you record assets and liabilities among the muddled fantasy of a labor theory of value?), but it can't be good.

Your only hope is that you continue to let your Washington DC partners in crime keep rolling over the vig they owe to you, and hope you can weather the current storm until they can reduce their borrowing and you no longer have to take up the grossly inflated supply in an attempt to retain most of the value you already have in them. You can keep throwing good money after bad on the vain hope it will all work out in the end.

I think you're already beginning to see the danger in that. Like common addicts, they need a larger and larger fix each time. You must be getting terrified that even you will no longer be able to provide the fix they need, and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down around you.

A prominent American financier once said "If you owe the bank ten thousand dollars and can't pay, it's your problem. If you owe them ten million dollars and can't pay, it's the bank's problem". For you, it's three quarters of a trillion dollars. That makes it your problem.

You've let your Washington friends sell you false promises, and are now at their mercy. That explains this week's feeble plea for restraint, doesn't it? As for we the American people, we don't need you at all. We don't even need you to keep lending us money. Your Washington friends need it, but we don't. In fact, all this spending you've had a hand in enabling, even if we don't ever have to repay it, is killing us. It is freezing in place bloated and inefficient economic structures that must be cleared out if we are ever to prosper again. It is perpetuating reckless practices that stand in the way of true recovery. We would be just as happy if the whole bunch of you just went away and left us alone. I'm sure your people would, too.

You have a real predicament. You are at our mercy. Not only at Washington's mercy, but at the mercy of the American people. And we don't like you very much. You may think you have the upper hand because you control our purse strings as well as the strings of your puppets in Washington. But it is we who control what fills the purse. You poor bastards.

See Also:  The Federal Reserve