We, the people

I Facebooked about this earlier in the week, but I haven’t been this excited about an idea in as long as I can remember.  A bail out of the people, by… the people?

Rolling Jubilee works in the same way as huge corporations are bailed out and forgiven massive debts.  The “Rolling Jubilee” organization buys back real people’s debt at pennies on the dollar and “forgives” meaning “abolishes” it.  It is genius.

That means for every dollar you donate, $20 of debt can be abolished.  My $50 donation abolished $1000 of a PERSON’s debt.  (Not a multinational company.  A real struggling person.  It could be student loans, home repossession  you name it.)  Not only that, as a registered charity, my company will match my donation to Rolling Jubilee.  Now they are abolishing $2000 debt for my $50.  Oh, and of course my gift is tax-deductible, so it really only cost me $35 – to reprieve $2000 of debt from someone I, or you, might even know.  How cool is that?

Maybe consider donating ?

Someone on my Facebook page replied that they couldn’t believe I was “indulging freeloaders”.  I am choosing to believe they were joking.  My response is always that not all people that sleep on the street are drunkards and meth-heads.  If you haven’t noticed, some people really are down on their luck right now.   Want to go to college?  What happens if your parents don’t have a college fund?  Hmm, now where does some of this debt come from?

It isn’t just America… England is at it now, too.  When I went to Oxford, my education was free.  Not any more.  Now you have to pay tuition fees starting at £9000/year (and of course that is before books, accommodation and food).  Since when did only the rich get to be educated.  Okay \\rant off for the day 🙂  .

RollingJubilee.org has a live stream starting at 8pm tonight.  Spread the word 🙂 .

7 thoughts on “We, the people

  1. Here’s my concern about this:

    Presumably, RJ is buying the cheapest debt possible to get the maximum value for their dollars. This debt is cheap because there’s effectively zero chance that it will be paid back – it’s probably already been sold and resold by debt brokers for multiple years, slowly withering in “value” until someone like RJ can pick it up for pennies on the dollar.

    So this debt wasn’t going to be paid back ever, anyways. Annoying robocalls from agencies are probably a distant memory for the debtor. In another year or two it will roll off their credit record. The debt is, for all practical purposes, already gone.

    Consequently, the net practical result of activity is to give money to the collections agencies who hold this already-worthless debt. The only people getting bailed out are debt speculators – hardly sympathetic characters.

    • Yeah, I thought about this so I emailed them to find out what kind of consolidated debt they were buying. They said mid range. You might still be right, of course. You know a lot more about it than I do. Why don’t you email them and find out? They answered my email in less than 24 hours. It would be good to know.

      • It doesn’t really allay my concerns – it actually raises new ones, since I hadn’t considered the possibility that some of this debt might be illegitimate. Also, statements like “So the symbolism here is in some ways more important than the actual results, which pretty much by definition are unknown and unknowable” make me automatically recoil. I only care about results, and they don’t seem that unpredictable.

        The immediate results, as far as I can tell:

        * Debtors (the people we ostensibly want to help) probably won’t know their debt is forgiven. Not sure if this is good or bad.
        * Maybe collections agencies will stop hounding the debtor – which seems like a good outcome. But given this is old and distressed debt, it probably isn’t getting much action anyways – and the debtors have probably long ago changed their phone numbers.
        * Possible tiny improvement in credit rating of debtor. It still shows up as a partial payment on their record. The bad credit items roll off in 7 years anyways, which is probably approaching since this is 10-cents-on-the-dollar debt. At any rate, I’m not sure that this is a positive result.
        * Money is given to debt speculators (the people we ostensibly hate). This seems like the most clear, obvious result – and the least desirable.

        Put it this way: If you hate used car dealers, going out and buying their worst unsellable clunkers seems like a really strange way of trying to hurt them. “Stick it to the man by giving him money.” Eh? I strongly suspect that the credit-industrial-complex is totally on-board with this plan.

        As far as the grade of debt, I think of it this way:

        * At one extreme (buying “100%” debt), you’re just paying off someone’s loan. Hard to know if this is a worthy goal or not; paying for someone’s student loans might be cool, but paying for someone’s flat screen tv doesn’t seem so cool.

        * At the other extreme (buying near-dead debt), you’re just helping the debt speculator unload their worst inventory.

        * Grades of debt in between are just finding a tradeoff in the continuum between these two ends. Maybe there’s something more to it, but it’s not clear to me why a compromise between two undesirable outcomes should somehow produce a desirable outcome.

        Alternatively, what else could be done with that money that will have proven, positive results?

  2. Here’s my concern about this:

    Presumably, RJ is buying the cheapest debt possible to get the maximum value for their dollars. This debt is cheap because there’s effectively zero chance that it will be paid back – it’s probably already been sold and resold by debt brokers for multiple years, slowly withering in “value” until someone like RJ can pick it up for pennies on the dollar.

    So this debt wasn’t going to be paid back ever, anyways. Annoying robocalls from agencies are probably a distant memory for the debtor. In another year or two it will roll off their credit record. The debt is, for all practical purposes, already gone.

    Consequently, the net practical result of activity is to give money to the collections agencies who hold this already-worthless debt. The only people getting bailed out are debt speculators – hardly sympathetic characters.

  3. Sorry to disagree sis but actually the biggest fall in student numbers this year is the well off. Most students with lower income get bursarys or other financial help. No repayments are made until you earn a minimum of £21k and can be written off if you work abroad for 4 years. Oh and you only pay back 7% of your income over £21k. It is completely written off after 30 years.

    • That’s interesting, bro! I should have thought to ask you and Kim. Dana told me the other day what fees were over here for Ivy League schools and I was shocked!

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