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Defaults only destroy money if the money is debt-based - but America's modern money IS debt based. 

Prior to the mid-1960's, American paper money had the designation "silver certificate" on it - it was directly redeemable in precious metal. 

Since then, it has the designation "Federal Reserve note" on it - which means it is backed by nothing more than confidence in the central bank. 

But that is precisely the problem, the Fed is a bank.  And so when the Fed issues money, it does so by pumping the money into the back of the banks.  The banks are then supposed to lend the money and that increases the money supply (on a borrowed basis - which is why the money is actually debt). 

What is happening this time is that, instead of lending the money out to businesses and individuals (there is some of that still happening, but not as much as before), the banks are lending it back to the government in the form of purchases of Treasury securities (government bonds). 

That is regarded as a safer bet by the banks than lending to (now) in many cases less credit-worthy businesses and individuals.  (Note - large corporations can still borrow through the corporate bond market and stock offerings, they don't need bank loans.  I am talking here about smaller businesses that do not have access to those facilities, but those businesses are where most of the jobs are.) 

And, in fact, many other people and entities still think of the American government as the ultimate safe credit risk - even though the government bond auctions are HUGE in the meantime (because of the huge government deficits these days), the auctions are still heavily over-subscribed (in some cases, several times more bidders want government debt than is actually available at the auction to buy). 

I think that at some point in the not-too-distant future, as the economy deteriorates a lot more (which most people are not expecting right now) and, therefore, tax revenues decline a lot more, demand for Treasury securities will go way down and then much of the rest of what I am predicting for the relatively near future will kick in. 

By the way, one of the things that I am predicting is that there will be severe worldwide disruption because the United States is the leading economy of the world and so when it goes down because its financial system just can't hold up anymore, the rest of the world will be strongly affected by that, too (not that the financial systems of a lot of other first-world countries aren't in really bad shape in the meantime, too - they are, and they will probably directly contribute to the mess).