Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, November 12, 2012

Occupy Debt

People in media and power may think Occupy Wall Street is irrelevant ever since the Mayor of Money released her personal army on them at Zuccotti Park and many other Occupy camps were dispersed by the coordinated efforts of the Obama administration and municipal police departments around the country.

But this effort by Occupy Debt seems quite relevant to me:

If Occupy Wall Street has its way, your next bill from debt collectors might have a zero balance. Occupy is trying to quietly buy up "distressed debts" from lenders at rock-bottom prices, and then forgive them. Yes it’s legal (they’re coordinating with the IRS) and works: "As a trial run, we spent $466 and successfully bought and abolished $14,000 of medical debt," Occupy said in a statement. A "Rolling Jubilee" telethon will be held next week to raise $50,000, which could erase $1 million in personal debt. "This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy," organizer David Rees said.

As someone who once ran up a lot of credit card and student loan debt when I was in graduate school, I know the importance of learning the lessons of solvency and prudence.

So I'm not in the camp that thinks every person in debt should have those debts bought up and forgiven.

That kind of thing undercuts the lesson that needs to be learned.

That said, I do think that Occupy Debt buying up medical or loan debt of people hopelessly drowning it can go a long way toward helping people regain their lives.

As one commenter at the story put it:

I'm a retired senior citizen living on a very limited income. If I could find a job or if someone came along offering to pay off my $10,000 debt (which will probably take me 15 years and thousands of dollars of interest) I would be thrilled to death. Perhaps then living wouldn't be so difficult!

That's exactly the kind of person I can see Occupy Debt helping with this effort.

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