Occupy Wall Street is back in the news with tonight’s launch of Rolling Jubilee, the group’s brilliant new idea to buy up millions in defaulted consumer debt for pennies on the dollar and then forgive the debtors outright.
Think Occupy Wall Street has faded away? Think again. Tonight, the group invites you to the launch party for “Rolling Jubilee” a new OWS mission to strike the debt of random Americans who have defaulted on their financial obligations. The party begins at 8:00 this evening at Le Poisson Rouge cabaret in New York City, but will be live streamed on the group’s website. The variety show/fundraiser, co-hosted by Jeanine Garofalo and Liz Winstead, will officially launch the group’s Rolling Jubilee campaign. The group explains their idea in the video below.
If we learned nothing else from Mitt Romney, it is that the rich play by different rules than the rest of the 99%. Take the case of David Siegel CEO of the world’s largest time share corporation, Westgate Resorts. You may remember him for his recent threat to fire workers if President Obama was reelected. When Siegel’s personal financial empire crashed in 2008 along with the real estate market, he found himself owing the bank almost $20 million dollars on his many high-end properties that he was unable to repay. When debtors don’t meet their obligations, the banks that hold those “distressed” loans sell them for pennies on the dollar, usually to collection agencies, but Siegel was able to have a another of his 1% friends buy up his bad debts for $3.5 million. He then reimbursed the friend, with a little thank you bonus, and was able to keep all of his properties that would otherwise have been foreclosed.
It’s nice to have friends like the one David Siegel found, and now some random American debtors are about to discover how that feels. Rolling Jubilee plans to use the very same method David Siegel used to help himself, to relieve thousands of Americans of their crushing debt load. They have already conducted a pilot program, using $500 to buy up $14,000 worth of debt, and then instead of demanding payment, they forgave the lucky debtors outright. OWS says they have reviewed the pilot program with their attorneys, the IRS, and their “moles” in the debt collection world, and have green lighted the next phase of Rolling Jubilee, to raise money and begin to buy up debt nationally.
The launch party tonight will help raise that seed money. The group has already raised almost $200,000, which they expect will purchase about four million dollars worth of bad debt, which they will then forgive. They call it “A bailout of the people, by the people.”
“Debt resistance is just the beginning.” Rolling Jubilee website promises. “Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.” Since 77% of American households are in debt, and 1 in every 7 Americans is being pursued by a debt collector, my bet is Rolling Jubilee won’t be lacking for regular Americans hoping they can change the world – or at least the odds – for the 99%.
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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