Correa was invoking the concept of "Odious Debt", which is to a certain extent applicable to many Latin American countries who were ravaged by coups, revolutions and military dictatorships in the past decades. Defaulting on such debts may enjoy popular support to the chagrin of the creditors.
Dougloid, I know you're joking when you said "be like Ecuador and just don't pay your bills." But allow me to explain to everyone why the US never needs to or cannot resort to that route.
However appealing it may sound to a debt-over-eyeball country, unfortunately, the US does not have that option. First off, it's hard to make a convincing argument the US national debt is "odious". The presidents have been democratically elected by the people; and the government should have been representing the best interest of country and it's people all along. Therefore, there's no odious debt to speak about as far as the US is concerned.
Second, the debt owed by the US is almost entirely in US dollars. So really, the US does not need to default. In the worse case senario, the Federal Reserve would just crank up the printing machine and there you have freshly printed greenbacks for whoever owns the Treasury IOUs. Of course, there would most likely be a massive inflation, but it's a surefire why to wipe out the government debt. The parties taking a loss will be whoever owns US dollars and dollar denominated bonds. Thee invividual debtor would also be able to take adavantage and settle his/her debt with inflated dollars as well, all thanks to the Fed.
So, sorry, Ecuador is Ecuador; the US is no Ecuador.
FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!