That consideration is a factor, but governments tend to be long lasting entities, so they could certainly eventually pay off the debt, if they shrunk or even deferred payments for awhile. Something is usually better than nothing for a vendor, as long as the cost of administering the debt is less than what they bring in.
I think you missed my point here.
Greece could default, and replace the old bonds with new bonds at 80% of par. I lose 20% of my value.
Greece could cut the interest payments from 10% to 5%. I lose 20% of my value.
Greece could push out the repayment schedule from 10 years to 15. I lose 20% of my value.
Any way I cut it, I as an investor lose 20%. Psychologically it may be less damaging to my repayment is pushed back by 10 years but the immediate economic damage is the same.
So why is shrinking better than deferment? I think that there are differences but I would like to hear your viewpoint.
Unfortunately, financial solvency doesn't provide for retirement for people directly, although for any realistic social insurance program, you need to have long term financial stability and capacity. That means that even though austerity may actually work, there is clearly not the will to see it through.
We might have the same opinion here, but I will point out that any unfunded pension is a liability. What moral argument can you make that private pension plans that invested in Geek bonds should take a hit while the public plans don't? And I think you can make that argument – but it does make the point that public pensions need to be in the mix of future obligations that need to be cut.
It may be a good idea for Greece to default and deal with it, but that will end their ability to get anything like good loans in the near future. And I don't think the extra money from no longer paying on the debt will fix the quality of life problems that the people in Greece have right now.
I will slightly disagree with you here. I personally think Greece's big problems are structural. Too much bureaucracy, inefficient collecting of taxes, etc. Reforming these items would not cost the government anything, but there would be a painful period of adjustment for the common man. However, the end result would be a stronger, more efficient, rational economy.
However, I would tend to agree with you that a clean bankruptcy is better than a messy partial default. Expect that there is no real mechanism to Greece to default. If I understand correctly, it would be easier for Greece to exit the EU, convert to the Drachma, and devalue the currency.