There is a strange idea abroad, held by all monetary cranks, that credit is something a banker gives to a man. [Or or government gives to a bank, or to an auto company.] Credit, on the contrary, is something a man already has. He has it, perhaps, because he already has marketable assets of a greater cash value than the loan for which he is asking. Or he has it because his character and past record have earned it. He brings it into the bank with him. That is why the banker gives him the loan. The banker is not giving him something for nothing.
--Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson