Author Topic: Debtors' Union  (Read 6533 times)

atelierk

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Debtors' Union
« on: October 22, 2012, 08:04:35 AM »
I just stumbled across the latest incarnation of the Occupy movement (or what's left of it, anyway). It's called Strike Debt and in a informational video, one guy says their ultimate goal is a "debt strike" and a debtors' union to "create structures of mutual support for people who are willing to default on their debt".

On an Occupy blog, somebody else had this to say: "Iím in debt, but it is not shame that I feel, it is outrage. I donít buy into the common American debt narrative: you are in debt because you bought something you couldnít afford, because you were living beyond your means, because you are lacking in personal responsibility, because you are lazy, etc. The underlying idea here is that debt is a product of choice. But debt is about much more than choice, it is a deliberate and coercive means of control."

Originally, I thought Occupy had a lot of potential. I didn't agree with everything I heard coming out of it, and was appalled by many of the police actions against the protests but I thought that if Occupy played their cards right, the end result could be positive. Well, they never really got their act together and by late last fall, they mostly stood for camping out in public parks. Then after their winter hibernation they emerged with "demands" (including at least one protest against chem trails) like this.

Thoughts?

dionysiandame

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 08:16:19 AM »
I just stumbled across the latest incarnation of the Occupy movement (or what's left of it, anyway). It's called Strike Debt and in a informational video, one guy says their ultimate goal is a "debt strike" and a debtors' union to "create structures of mutual support for people who are willing to default on their debt".

On an Occupy blog, somebody else had this to say: "Iím in debt, but it is not shame that I feel, it is outrage. I donít buy into the common American debt narrative: you are in debt because you bought something you couldnít afford, because you were living beyond your means, because you are lacking in personal responsibility, because you are lazy, etc. The underlying idea here is that debt is a product of choice. But debt is about much more than choice, it is a deliberate and coercive means of control."

Originally, I thought Occupy had a lot of potential. I didn't agree with everything I heard coming out of it, and was appalled by many of the police actions against the protests but I thought that if Occupy played their cards right, the end result could be positive. Well, they never really got their act together and by late last fall, they mostly stood for camping out in public parks. Then after their winter hibernation they emerged with "demands" (including at least one protest against chem trails) like this.

Thoughts?

This is one of the reasons I left the Occupy Movement. They had great ideas and I thought their approach to mobilizing the people was brilliant, even if it did seem like no one really cared when these "issues" were occurring in poor and/or minority communities. I swallowed the little bit of indignation I felt at the press the issue of income disparity and outrageous financial practices was receiving now that it wasn't just happening to "those people" and decided to join up.

I attended for two days in Washington D.C. and, as I began talking to other people in the movement, the lack of anyone wanting to take personal responsibility was pretty damn appalling. I was questioned, on camera (I never did find out what they did with that footage), about my thoughts surrounding Obama's support of big business, to which I responded that if you want to fight big business; DON'T SPEND YOUR MONEY AT BIG BUSINESSES.

Right? Cause this was a total "duh" to me. You could have heard a pin drop the silence was so awkward. After I walked away from everything (and decided to work within my own social justice networks) I realized that a lot of the people I met didn't want to change anything in their own lives. They did not want to be responsible for the very issues they were "fighting against." If you don't vote in your local elections, don't vote with your dollar, and refuse to observe and correct behaviors that add to the problem? Who are you to "demand" anything?

(Not you you. General you.)


strider3700

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 11:02:33 AM »
I visited our local occupy movement one day.  It might as well have been sponsored by starbucks there was so many people sitting around drinking their coffee.   

grantmeaname

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 10:16:09 AM »
I'm totally stunned by the number of dipshit entitled morons here at my (cheap, publicly-funded-by-taxpayer-dollars) college who think that student loans have been forced upon them by "the man" or something and that we should all have a debt holiday where "the man" or the financial industry or something just forgives all outstanding student loans. Because it's unfair. Right.

I try not to be too much of a grouchy asshole most of the time but when people start with the "I have no responsibility for my actions and the world should bend over backwards for my convenience despite my already luxurious and fortunate life in the richest country in the world" nonsense, I about fly off the handle every time.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 12:30:12 PM »
C'mon guys, the iPhone 5 is really the only way to effectively live-tweet a protest. Wait...that's made by, like, a corporation?

Mactrader

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 12:57:29 PM »
The occupy Ann Arbor, MI movement was quite hilarious. It started with a bunch of hippies (not hard to find around these parts) setting up a few tents in Liberty Park (public area right on a major downtown street) and just hanging out for about a month. Then the bums started slowly taking over until the hippies left, and for the next 6 months or so the Occupy Movement consisted entirely of our homeless residents.

Before anyone gets upset about my casual reference to the homeless here, Ann Arbor is a major hub for the homeless for the part of the nation. The social programs here are insane and it's truly the end-game for many of the people who live on the street. They have it very well here.

atelierk

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 07:05:20 PM »
My local Occupy lasted about 3 weeks. They jumped through all the hoops, talked to the PD, got permits and what not and then set up their tents in a downtown "park". The park was really more of an alley which became a wind tunnel in any kind of weather. A fair number of Occupiers stayed overnight and the city even kept the lights on for them. So things seemed to go rather smoothly for the first few weeks, with the group having their general assemblies each night and all. The Occupiers were even credited with thwarting a break-in at a nearby store during the wee hours - they called the cops who nabbed the "perps".

Eventually, our intrepid protesters decided that their first official "action" would be to try and persuade the city's common council (like a town board) that they should move the city's bank accounts from a commercial bank to a credit union. So they went down to the meeting prepared to speak, and there was an immediate disagreement as to whether they were even on the agenda (or something). Eventually, they were allowed to make a statement and as one guy (in particular) was doing so, the rest of the CC carried on with the minutiae of their positions, rustling papers, whispering to each other, and generally ignoring the speaker. (The Occupiers put up a video of this the next day and I agree, the common councilors were being quite rude.)

Eventually this speaker had enough of the CC's rudeness and launched into a diatribe, giving them hell. One of the councilors said he felt threatened. Needless to say, the Occupiers were escorted from the meeting pretty quickly and that night, the city literally turned the lights out on them. The next day they were told their Occupation was over (and by then their number had dwindled considerably). Still, they couldn't resist saying nasty stuff about the city, the councilors and the police on their very public FB page so when they asked for a reprieve, of course the city said no.

Last I knew they were still meeting once a month or so in a restaurant somewhere.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 07:09:21 PM by atelierk »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 07:23:56 PM »
I'm totally stunned by the number of dipshit entitled morons here at my (cheap, publicly-funded-by-taxpayer-dollars) college who think that student loans have been forced upon them by "the man" or something and that we should all have a debt holiday where "the man" or the financial industry or something just forgives all outstanding student loans. Because it's unfair. Right.

I try not to be too much of a grouchy asshole most of the time but when people start with the "I have no responsibility for my actions and the world should bend over backwards for my convenience despite my already luxurious and fortunate life in the richest country in the world" nonsense, I about fly off the handle every time.
Oh man, we have a bunch of those at UNC. And then we also have a bunch of stereotypical, heavily republican (or what they think the republican values stand for) trust fund kind of dudes on the other side. Each side thinks the other controls the town and it's highly entertaining to watch each hate on the other. What happened to moderate discourse?

TomTX

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2012, 06:03:35 AM »
I'm totally stunned by the number of dipshit entitled morons here at my (cheap, publicly-funded-by-taxpayer-dollars) college who think that student loans have been forced upon them by "the man" or something and that we should all have a debt holiday where "the man" or the financial industry or something just forgives all outstanding student loans. Because it's unfair. Right.

I try not to be too much of a grouchy asshole most of the time but when people start with the "I have no responsibility for my actions and the world should bend over backwards for my convenience despite my already luxurious and fortunate life in the richest country in the world" nonsense, I about fly off the handle every time.
Oh man, we have a bunch of those at UNC. And then we also have a bunch of stereotypical, heavily republican (or what they think the republican values stand for) trust fund kind of dudes on the other side. Each side thinks the other controls the town and it's highly entertaining to watch each hate on the other. What happened to moderate discourse?

Well, student loans pretty much are a scam. The "no bankrupting out" clause is really shitty - and it's put on the biggest noobs of the indebted: students. Universities have been funded for decades on student loan debt, avoiding actually addressing their out-of-control spending. There is a whole cultural mantra in "financial aid" of getting loans. Students who want aid are practically forced into the loans as part of an "aid package."  If you want the (small) grant, and the on-campus job - you take the package.

Can the savvy student avoid it? Sure. But they have to get their financial education outside of the formal educational system, and have a real backbone to push back HARD at the university culture.

Universities and the financial system are putting on the biggest con game in the world - and it's sanctioned by the Feds, and you cannot even bankrupt out of it.

grantmeaname

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 06:43:02 AM »
Of course you can't bankrupt out of it, it produces no economic asset that secures it. If you could, why wouldn't everybody do so as soon as they graduated? And besides, why is that a bad thing? It dramatically lowers the risk, and thus the cost of lending and the cost of borrowing.

palvar

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2012, 07:08:33 AM »
Well, student loans pretty much are a scam. The "no bankrupting out" clause is really shitty

If you could, there would probably be many fewer student loans offered and requirements for cosigners.

TomTX

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 07:26:29 AM »
Of course you can't bankrupt out of it, it produces no economic asset that secures it. If you could, why wouldn't everybody do so as soon as they graduated? And besides, why is that a bad thing? It dramatically lowers the risk, and thus the cost of lending and the cost of borrowing.

If the rates were actually proportional to the risk, the rates should be LOWER than a prime-credit 10-year mortgage. Instead (absent .gov subsidies) they are 2-4x higher.

I stand by my position that the current student loan system is a con game.

grantmeaname

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 08:01:32 AM »
If the rates were actually proportional to the risk, the rates should be LOWER than a prime-credit 10-year mortgage. Instead (absent .gov subsidies) they are 2-4x higher.
Prime credit mortgages are loans to borrowers with prime credit. I would hope that that would be obvious, but apparently it's not. Student loans are loans to people with little or no credit. Additionally, banks have a productive economic asset (called a "house") which they can foreclose on and sell in the case of a mortgage delinquency. In the case of a student loan delinquency, they have no such recourse-- they can't sell your skills at a bankruptcy auction. Finally, student loans are often for a longer term than 10 years, and longer terms entail higher risk -- and thus a higher risk premium.

Really, you couldn't have picked a less apt comparison.

SwordGuy

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »
Of course you can't bankrupt out of it, it produces no economic asset that secures it. If you could, why wouldn't everybody do so as soon as they graduated? And besides, why is that a bad thing? It dramatically lowers the risk, and thus the cost of lending and the cost of borrowing.

If the rates were actually proportional to the risk, the rates should be LOWER than a prime-credit 10-year mortgage. Instead (absent .gov subsidies) they are 2-4x higher.

I stand by my position that the current student loan system is a con game.

TomTx,

I happen to be old enough to remember why student loans were SPECIFICALLY removed from bankruptcy proceedings.

Care to know why?

Because so damn many of the students who took out big loans were defaulting!

Not only were they defaulting, they were defaulting on US Government backed loans.  Yep, Uncle Sam was their co-signer, which means all us tax paying folks were paying for the deadbeats.

THAT's why you're stuck with the student loans even after bankruptcy.

Because that's how bad the risk was.  (And would be again, if we were stupid enough to allow it.)


noob515

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 02:24:10 PM »
To speak to the student loan digression:

A girl I grew up with, I've known her since we were 4, she went to an expensive culinary school and then proceeded to drop out half way through.  She then complained that she didn't know that she was supposed to be the one to pay the loans back!  I guess she thought her parents were paying them back?   My twin sister (who was friends with the girl) said "didn't you read the paper before you signed it?  And the fact that YOU signed it didn't give you an idea that YOU were the one on the hook?".  The girl later got on disability and had the student loan debt forgiven.  During the process of getting the debt forgiven, she whined that she didn't think it was "fair" that she would have to pay for a degree that she's not even using!!  Again, my sister said "oh, because everyone has jobs that utilize the degrees they have?".  Ugh!! 

I thought the Occupy Movement had some decent ideas, but like other people have said, it seemed like a bunch of lazy 20-somethings with grande mocha lattes from Starbucks complaining that they didn't have any money.  I always wanted to say "well, if you got a JOB, instead of standing here for months on end, you would HAVE money".

strider3700

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Re: Debtors' Union
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2012, 05:12:54 PM »
It's funny,  I have a cousin who is on disability. Her student loans were through a bank not the government.  I don't know why.     She became disabled while in school but because the loans are from the bank they were not written off when she became disabled.   She had to take out insurance to cover that possibility.    The government lady she saw took one look at her medical info said ok not a problem we'll write the loans off and then looked and saw that they weren't her's to write off.   When she talked to the bank they basically said "that's nice. You signed so you pay"