Every year when I go to my cottage in Canada, I invite a friend along, either at the start of the season (when he helps me open the cottage) or at the end (when he helps me close.) This year, my guest is Robert Anthony Peters, a libertarian friend whom I’ve met at various events over the years.

On the drive on the way to Minaki, we were discussing finances, debt, saving, etc. Robert told me that he had taken on a lot of debt to really commit to being a full-time actor (he has had small speaking roles in some major movies–The Pursuit of Happyness and Steve Jobs–and bigger roles in other less well-known movies). He has paid about half of it down. He told me that one friend suggested that he declare bankruptcy. I told him that I had suggested the same thing in the late 1990s to a friend who was in a similar situation. I had said to this other friend that the bankruptcy laws were made for just this case and that the credit card companies had taken on this risk with their eyes open–he had never lied on a credit card application about his low income, etc. My economist friend had said he knew all that and that he still didn’t feel right going bankrupt. Eventually, when his mother died and left him a small amount of money, he paid down all his credit cards.

Robert, although he is not an economist, “gets” economics. So he knew the same argument I had used with my other friend. But, as with my earlier friend, Robert did not find the case for bankruptcy compelling. He summed it up nicely:

“The credit card companies were there for me when no one else was.”