So the Rolling Jubilee continues! Right on! It’s a great idea, but one wonders, why can’t we all be given the option to do this ourselves? That is, why can’t we buy our own bad debts and thereby extinguish them? Oh right, the “free market” (which is actually known as rent-seeking in the real world)!
“For the [Rolling Jubilee’s] first anniversary, it announced this month that in one fell swoop it had bought up the equivalent of nearly $13.5 million in medical debt that some 2,693 people owed to hospitals and medical offices.
The group purchased the debt for only $400,000 — mainly paid for by small donations made to the organization over the Internet.”
Did you get that? It only cost $400 thousand to get rid of $13 million in debt. This brings a number of thoughts to mind: 1) this debt is all obviously fake to begin with if it can be settled with so little, 2) the entire personal debt of every person in the US could be settled very cheaply, and 3) why aren’t regular people allowed to buy their own “debt” so it can be extinguished? Indeed, the article breaks down for us exactly how many “pennies on the dollar” it cost to extinguish this debt:
“According to Strike Debt member Ann Larson, ‘for every dollar of debt we abolish, we paid only two cents.'”
TWO CENTS?! WTF! As in “putting in my two cents” (or insert any other cliche you can think of involving two pennies)?
So let’s do some quick math…if debt can be extinguished for two cents on the dollar, how much would it cost to extinguish a debt of $10,000? (Checks calculator…checks again…) TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS? Can that be right? (Checks calculator…tries to remember algebra…or is trigonometry more appropriate…no, just .02 X 10,000…) Yep, that’s right–a debt of $10K can be extinguished for $200! So a debt of $100K can be settled for $2,000! A $200K debt can be settled for $4K! And so on…
Why in God’s name isn’t this being done on a mass scale? I mean, I know that the banks and other fake “creditors” want to keep alive the idea that “if we lend you some money, you still owe that full amount, even if we write off that debt as uncollectible.” I know that the idea is to keep us in debt slavery and that even though junk debt buyers buy our “debt” for two cents on the dollar, they expect us to pay the full amount to them, which is of course how they make money. And if we don’t pay, they will take us to court and sue for the full amount even though they were not the person that lent us the money and that the debt has in fact been written off and sold to the junk debt buyer for two cents on the dollar.
Having said that, if any politician wanted to get on our good side, they’d immediately advocate–i.e., write up a bill and try to turn it into law–that the “secondary debt market” be opened to the general public so that the general public could buy up its own debt for two cents on the dollar. That’s how you get consumption back up, fellas! If all household debt could be paid off for two cents on the dollar, the malls would be full again in no time!
The absolute best way to fix the economy is just to have debt forgiveness on a mass scale, i.e., a bailout for the people. And then go the way of the Air Standard. But since–as Michael Hudson points out in the video below–that’s never going to happen, at least we should force the secondary debt market to be opened to the public. It’s either that or eventual bloody revolution, I’m afraid. And nobody wants that.