This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 489 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via credit card, debit card, PayPal, or check. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current target.
Yves here. As much as we we’ve been vocal supporters of many of the initiatives of the Occupy Wall Street movement, such as the excellent work of Occupy the SEC, the impressive relief efforts of Occupy Sandy, the success of local Occupy Homes groups in combatting foreclosures, the many projects of the Alternative Banking Group (including both a book explaining the crisis and its 52 Shades of Greed card deck, and last but not least, Strike Debt’s Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.
However, Rolling Jubilee is a notable exception.
Rolling Jubilee, with great fanfare, raised over $800,000 to “abolish debt” of individuals who were stuck with high rate loans. Their idea was to buy the debt at a deep discount and “forgive” it.
As noble as this project sounds, as we explained, it was fraught with problems. First, the simple act of buying discounted debt means the money would go to the very same predatory debt collectors that are the thuggish enforcers of this abusive system. Second, the large discounts means that the debt is almost certainly unenforceable. It wouldn’t be sold so cheaply if it were. Third, forgiving debt has the potential to create tax problems for both the borrowers and for Rolling Jubilee itself.
Now this project still could have been useful despite those many apparent issues had the leaders recognized the debt buys as a vehicle for raising visibility about the issue, rather than an end in itself. For instance, Rolling Jubilee did (with difficulty, another problem we anticipated) buy what on its face was millions of dollars of medical debts. Those debt buys could have served to gather and present the stories of the victims. It would have been simple: Rolling Jubilee said they were sending letters to all the people whose debt they were waiving. They could easily have enclosed pre-paid return post cards asking if the recipients would give their permission to be contacted by members of Rolling Jubilee to gather more information. They could then have done both a data compilation, and for those willing, interviews or even video tapings.
Instead, the occasional debt buys led to blips of stories that were about Rolling Jubilee and not about the problem, and those stories had no afterburn. This appears to be happening yet again as Rolling Jubilee, which said it was going to spend its funds on medical debt, recently changed focus to student debt. A misguided program compounded by a self-serving approach to public relations is far from a model of effective social action.
This post is by an activist deeply involved in the effort to fight excessive and sometimes abusive student loans. The critique echoes many of our observations.
By Alan Collinge of the Student Loan Justice Organization, a grass roots group seeking the swift return of standard bankruptcy protections and other consumer protections to all student loans in the U.S.
“We started by going after Sallie Mae debt because Sallie Mae is for my generation sort of the Voldemort, this cosmic level of evil out there,” Gokey said. But after suggesting that Sallie Mae typically sells those debts for 15 cents on the dollar, St. Peters abruptly changed course and refused to deal with Gokey and Debt Collective, he said. (St. Peters did not return a call seeking comment.)
Think Progress, “Debt Activists Just Canceled $4 Million In Student Debt. For Their Next Trick, They Need Your Help”
In recent weeks, much media attention has been focused on a project dubbed the “Rolling Jubilee”- an action whereby people’s defaulted student loans are purchased for “pennies on the dollar” with donated money, and the debt is extinguished. To date, the Jubilee claims to have forgiven some $4 million in defaulted student loan debt at a cost of about $100,000.
Sounds like a great idea, right? After all, who would not want their student loan debt to be paid off for them? Looking at the board members for the Rolling Jubilee (which includes Occupy Wall Street pioneer David Graeber), one could only assume this would be a slam dunk for the 99%; however, Sallie Mae’s Douglas St. Peters believes the forgiveness of debt to be a bad idea. Surprisingly, however, it turns out that this project is, I am sorry to report, a terrible idea with troubling implications. Consider the following and see if you don’t agree:
Putting aside the obvious criticisms- that the project only applies to private loans and does nothing to address the rising cost of college, skyrocketing debt loads, or the uniquely predatory nature of the debt due to the removal of fundamental consumer protections (like bankruptcy) that exist for all other loans, the most troubling aspect of this project lies in the systemic effect of the project- who it helps, and who it really doesn’t. Upon examination from this perspective, the project reveals itself to be, frankly, suspicious.
Think about it. The RJ, by purchasing defaulted debt, only “feeds the beast”, and in fact makes defaulted debt more valuable on the market. This rewards the horribly predatory behaviors that the absence of bankruptcy protections and other factors have enabled in the private student loan industry. Since, after exhausting all existing opportunities for collection of these loans, the debt holders know there is a buyer for the “worst of the worst”, this only encourages the lenders and loan holders to inflate this debt as much as possible, with the knowledge that there is a willing buyer for even the worst performing loans! So that is quite a red flag,
Being a long time Zucotti Park resident myself, I’d almost be willing to overlook this distasteful aspect of the project, and instead focus on the suffering that this transaction eased…but there again, we get an unpleasant shock: The loans that the project buys are almost certainly at or past their statutes of limitations(private student loans still have these), and/or were likely never paid on by the borrower much if at all. So while it is impressive to hear of the large amounts of debt being forgiven, the fact is that the people who are finding their debts erased more than likely won’t care much because they are either no longer under any legal obligation to pay the note and have long since forgotten about it, or never intended to pay the note in the first place, and never would! So these borrowers won’t likely be gushing with praise and thanks, and frankly won’t be helped much if at all by the repurchase of the debt. I suspect that people learning of their debt being purchased and erased were, instead of relieved and grateful, were more perplexed as to why anyone would go to the trouble of clearing up debt that they themselves had forgotten about long ago! By far, the happiest participant in these transactions, are the banks/collection companies who are thrilled to get anything for the loans! People with cosigners for their loans (about 90% of private loan borrowers), and people who have been paying at least something for their debts should not hold their breath if they are hoping to one of the lucky few to get their loans absolved- it simply won’t happen.
So this project does very little for the borrowers it affects, and nothing but encourage and exacerbate the predatory underpinnings of the lending system by rewarding instead of resisting it (Resistance being an oft-repeated theme by the folks running this program, and its affiliated organization, dubbed Strike Debt). There is no resistance, here, only paying into a predatory lending system for almost no real benefit. I wouldn’t go so far as to call bullshit on this project, but it is really, extremely tempting to.
Unless there were grand plans to somehow buy off ALL student loans in the country- and I’ve been told that there isn’t, there is almost nothing good to say about this project, and a lot of troubling questions that cry out for answering.
It is surprising to me that the well regarded people (David Graeber, Andrew Ross, and Astra Taylor) who sit on the board for this project would let their names be attached to it upon reflection.
Notes and References:
– Debt Activists Just Canceled $4 Million In Student Debt. For Their Next Trick, They Need Your Help Alan Pyke, “Think Progress”
– “The Argument” Alan Collinge, Student Loan Justice Org.
– Strike Debt is a nationwide movement of debt resisters fighting for economic justice and democratic freedom. You are not a loan.
You know the old saying.. that which can’t be paid won’t get paid. You can send Guido out to take the money from that debtor’s hide, but in the end you won’t get your money. This sort of scenario is playing out across the planet in spades right now. Debtors will be vilafied and sometimes physically abused, but you can’t get blood out of a turnip.. hence the reason why debts were periodically forgiven throughout history when accumulated interest started running away from peoples incomes.
It’s just math, not personal. The sooner the bankers figure this out the sooner we can get on with WWIII and those immense wartime profits.
Interestingly, with private student debt you can get blood from a turnip…as long as the debt isn’t past the statute of limitations, and there is a cosigner on the note (there is for about 90% of loans made in the past 6 years). Not having bankruptcy protections in place makes such debt a license to steal, actually, and the private lenders do not hesitate to do exactly that. For federal student loans, it can be even worse because not only is bankruptcy gone, statutes of limitation don’t exist either thanks to Congress. The entire lending system (ie lenders guarantors, collection companies), up to and INCLUDING the Department of Education are actually profiting handsomely from defaulted loans (The Department was, in fact, making more on defaults than on healthy loans, it turns out….and under the new lending program, they are certainly making even more on defaults…this is a defining hallmark of a predatory lending system, and a situation that Adam Smith himself would declare to be intolerable, indefensible, and bad-faithed.
Interestingly, with private student debt you actually can get blood from a turnip…as long as the debt isn’t past the statute of limitations, and there is a cosigner on the note (there is for about 90% of loans made in the past 6 years).The loans that the Rolling Jubilee buys don’t fit this bill, but most do. Not having bankruptcy protections in place makes such debt a license to steal, actually, and the private lenders do not hesitate to do exactly that.
For federal student loans, it can be even worse because not only is bankruptcy gone, statutes of limitation don’t exist either thanks to Congress. The entire lending system (ie lenders guarantors, collection companies), up to and INCLUDING the Department of Education are actually profiting handsomely from defaulted loans (The Department was, in fact, making more on defaults than on healthy loans, it turns out….and under the new lending program, they are certainly making even more on defaults than previously!!)
This is a defining hallmark of a predatory lending system, and a situation that Adam Smith himself would declare to be bad-faithed, intolerable and unacceptable.
Debt must either be paid off, if possible, or written off, if not. The greatest evil is allowing unpayable debt to block any possibility of real economic recovery.
Another troubling aspect of this project is the rather defensive way that they’ve responded to criticism. Add to that the unexplained silences from the group for long periods of time and Rolling Jubilee is definitely not an exemplar of what Occupy orgs should be, imho.
Having spent a good deal of time in consumer advocacy and student debt education, I know for a fact that there are a lot of very legit, very good organizations working to help students deal with education debt, and they’ve been around for a long time. From what I can tell, RJ didn’t really reach out to any of them (or maybe they did and got rejected…who knows?), but just kind of went it alone. I really wish we on the left would learn how to work together, for a change.
And thanks for pointing out that buying more things from Wall Street is not going to fix our economy or solve our financial problems. Rolling Jubilee is to student debt what Obamacare is to health insurance–it helps a few people, many get no benefit at all, and the underlying problems are not addressed one iota.
Graeber, Taylor, et al. we expect more. Work with those who have been in the trenches for years already, and work with your critics–engage in dialogue with them–at least those like Yves who obviously want to help. If you can’t even take a critique from your own allies without getting your panties in a bunch, you should definitely not be face of the movement.
RJ isn’t as BS as the Occupy Card, but they could sure do a lot better. Let’s hope they hear this (and don’t get all pissy about it).
I don’t think this criticism is right-headed.
I actually work every day fighting to help poor and working people get rid of old inflated debts.
Hard to see, given the more than $1 trillion in student debt out there, how these tiny purchases could “hurt” anyone.
Maybe someday (hopefully soon) a movement will arise that will have significant positive impact on all the folks in our country who are unable to pay down their debts. Until then, it seems to me, that exposing, publicizing and discussing the issue of these debts in as wide a variety of ways as possible is the proper course of action.
The more we can push the elites to acknowledge that they are necessarily parasites on the backs of debtors, the better. The efforts of the Rolling Jubilee, while perhaps not something you personally think to be effective, do not prevent you and others from doing your part in this battle.
I’m not sure you read the post. The point it makes are that Rolling Jubilee is actually supporting the corrupt system that hurts borrowers by giving more income to debt collectors, the worst predators in the financial ecosystem. And it also discusses how these debt buys are unlikely to help the intended beneficiaries, since the debt is in most if not all cases uncollectable (that is why it is for sale at such a cheap price).
Moreover, as we discussed in earlier posts, some of Rolling Jubilee’s intended helpful actions are actually damaging. They said they intended to inform credit bureaus of their debt “abolition”. That would appear as a new credit line in a credit bureau report, and therefore increase, and in some cases, restart, the appearance of information considered damaging on a credit bureau report.
I suggest you familiarize yourself with the issues here. Why are feel good programs that help predators and often don’t help and can even hurt the beneficiaries a sound idea? This sounds like you prefer ineffective and potentially harmful solutions over truly beneficial action. On multiple levels, Rolling Jubilee fails the “do no harm” test.
I would invite you to tour the list of topics directly to the right of this reply to you. Scroll down to where you see Student Loans. You will see multiple posts on college loan debt and the Gov, backed legal system in place today which does not allow a student to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy. The servicer of these loans and the Gov will go as far as to attach SS and Disability benefits to get their money back which in the end is more profitable in default than in timely payments. Further more any type of federal program which is offered for training if unemployed, etc. will deny you access to it.
Yves, Lambert, David, Cathy, Alan Collinge (student Loan Justice Org.) and I (on Angry Bear Blog) as well as others have been leading the efforts to expose what has been happening with many students who at 18 years of age sign their way into indentured servitude to banks and student loan servicers. Student Loans are a roach motel. You can sign into them with your signature; but, you can never sign your way out of them until you pay the bill.
The thought behind Rolling Jubilee is good; but, it is in the wrong direction. Buying up student loans at 15 cents on the dollar does nothing to eliminate the issues I have pointed out or fix the problems with student loans. The effort must be towards Congress in getting them to grant relief beyond 20-25 years of Income Based Payments to pay off student loans, to hold nonprofit college accountable for having too many students in default, and to regulate for profit colleges keeping their default rates down and to provide quality and creditable training and courses.
The other action I would propose to you is becoming active with your state. Michigan where I live has seen if support for college funding decrease from ~60% in 1994 to ~20% in 2014. The difference is made up in loans and from retirement funds or what is left of them after banksters trashed Main Street. State government has walked away from supporting its colleges. Nonprofit Colleges too must be held accountable for spending their budgets. To often, they spend because it was budgeted and their is no gatekeeper to recheck the need for the expenditure. Alan has pointed this issue out also.
Those are excellent criticisms of Rolling Jubilee. In the absence of effective legislation to create health care and educational free infrastructure like a lot of other countries have, the best tactic to deal with the debt vultures is a massive debt strike. After all, the financial industry has already delegitimized the notion of paying off debts through its shenanigans with shell companies and strategic bankruptcies to strip workers of their pension funds.
What is striking about the student debt that Rolling Jubilee paid off was that it was for loans that kept a private debt mill college going. In one respect, that doubles down on all the criticisms that this article makes. But as a one-off matter of publicity it re-emphasizes the extent to which so much bad student debt is for sham courses at sham private “technical colleges” that lead to few job opportunities even in good times.
To be fair, the Rolling Jubilee is a project of Strike Debt, which also put out the Debt Resisters Manual, which apparently has Yves’ approval (if that sort of thing sways you). It would seem that things are a bit of a mixed bag at Strike Debt, which is no shock whatsoever.
One would hope that these sorts of critiques are getting through to them, but I fear that Graeber, especially, may have had his ego stroked so much at this point that he’ll have a really hard time admitting that he’s been wrong. I hold out hope, of course, as Graeber, et. al. are sophisticated, intelligent people. Unfortunately, it is humility, and not intelligence or sophistication, that is called for in the case of RJ.
It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. Yes some of the courses may be sham at for profit colleges. I will not go so far as to say ALL for profit colleges are worse than say ALL public colleges but overall the quality control is @#$# at for profit colleges. But it doesn’t matter. Because even if the education was good education, the jobs are still not there. The real scam is the economic system.
How about if everyone just STOPS paying unsecured debt ?……..SIMPLE !!!!!!!!!
Oh, they will, the question is only a matter of when.
That’s the problem with debt-based crony capitalism… at some point you run out of other people’s money.
…”run out of other people’s credit” I should say.
I like the idea of a solidarity debt strike better than the Rolling Jubilee for a couple of reasons
The problem I foresee is actually getting anyone who isn’t already in default, or close to it, to go along. What middle-class individual, I ask you, is going to stop paying their credit card bills or student loans as a show of solidarity with the poor? Not all that likely. A few radicals will go all in, but the individual punishment that our system can threaten all of us with if we dare to engage in this sort of collective protest is too much for many people to overcome. At least when you go to a protest, you get arrested as a group (i.e. in the presence of fellow protesters), but with this sort of action, the repercussions will happen to people throughout their daily lives, without from the comforting and strengthening presence of fellow resisters.
Nonetheless, I think it’s a strategy worth pursuing, but one that will require a good deal of coordination. For instance: preparing in advance to provide for the needs of debt resisters and to compensate for whatever negative outcomes individual protesters can be expected to face. This would be the correlate of collecting a strike-fund for union workers on strike or a legal-defense fund for arrested protesters. Ideally, whatever systems can be cobbled together to help the principled and courageous live outside the credit system–since engaging in debt-resistance will likely get one banished from that system–would morph, over time, into scalable “System D” approaches that will allow people an easier exit from our current system (which is something more and more people will be wanting to do, as we continue with the catabolic collapse of our society).
For student loans, unfortunately, a mass default is exactly what the lending system wants. I was at OWS when Strike Debt did their rollout for the debt strike, and can tell you that well known collection industry reps were ALL OVER IT. I could almost see them drooling at the prospect.
As such, people who participate whose loans aren’t defaulted are pretty much screwing themselves. If they have cosigners, this can be absolutely disastrous, I can say with strong emphasis. It is one of the most horrible outcomes I have seen, short of the suicides.
This is why it is SO critical that bankruptcy protections at a minimum be restored to the debt (statutes of limitations would be nice, but I’m not greedy).
I’m doing my part
In the discussions of RJ, there have been some intimations that the group is suspicious. Suspicious of what?
– Embezzlement? Maybe, but not exactly a subtle way to embezzle.
– Being a corporate front? Nah, they suck too much to be a front.
– Fee skimming (i.e. skimming fat salaries and consulting fees off the top)? Possibly.
– Of being dysfunctional, incompetent, poorly thought out, and more poorly executed? Certainly.
What exactly are people hinting at?
The periods of silence could be explained by ugly infighting and Board coups. Or could be explained by trying to salvage and cover up an act of waste or embezzlement by staff. Or could just be explained as people clinging to a bad idea that they can’t seem to let go of.
My guess is the last one, which is why I wish they wouldn’t be so touchy about constructive criticism from allies–that nonsense just makes the first three possibilities seem more likely. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt though, for now.
My sense it was two things. One was infighting (good guess on your part! They had a big blow-up on their board, including fights over discrimination, which led to resignations. The second was that the project was not well conceived. They made a number of public commitments they found hard to live up to. So they appear to have gotten resentful for being held accountable for making promises they came to regret.
For instance, running a not for profit is demanding from an administrative standpoint, and they had no idea what they were getting into. They also had no idea how hard it would be to buy debt, and particularly to buy debt and not be completely snookered by the debt seller (as in verify that at least a large portion had decent odds of being valid debt). Finally, they committed to spending all the money on debt buys. That left no funds for PR about the issue, which as we suggested, would likely have been a better use of some of the funds.
I’ll just bet that most people suffering under their part of the Trillion dollar burden — the burden everyone thinks can dog then all their lives — have no idea how easy it is to slip out from under. Private loan — as in the article — the usual state statutes of limitations apply. (Wow; I had no idea!) Public loan (90%) — something called Income Based Repayments applies. Owe $40,000 — only earn $20,000 a year = pay less than $35 a month. After 25 years, debt retired (but under current law the IRS will count the forgiven portion as income for that year — hopefully that will change).
Germany scraps tuition fees for all universities
DANGER! Income Based Repayment seems to have a lot of pitfalls that can leave the debtor much worse off in the end — possibly via exploding interest that is suddenly dumped on the debtor depending on very plausible variations in the debtors’ incomes or other conditions. May be pretty hard for most to navigate application process as well.
Tough issue. However the criticism is kind of off kilter a bit. What you are attacking here is the idea of charity. Charity could be said to encourage a corrupt system to survive by offering a safety valve that otherwise could be used to fuel revolution or something. BTW, I’m not saying the criticisms are invalid or is RJ similar to, say, feeding the hungry. What RJ does do is relieve some suffering and, frankly, we have way too much of that in this country. I’ve never seen it so bad–not poverty so much as stress, anxiety and so on. Any smile, gesture of caring is a godsend even if it does reward the bandits to some extent. Once the idea spreads that suffering can be relieved that you can take small steps to relieve suffering we might have a change in attitude which is required.
The current power-elite is not going to give up their power–we have two choices, fight them through major confrontations which will result, in one way or the other, in violence or through opening the heart. I actually don’t know what to think but I prefer the path of heart–and RJ seems to be aiming in that direction.
I’d call it mutual aid. What’s the difference between charity and mutual aid? Class consciousness. Most charities in this country are ultimately funded by the 1%, and the smallest charity groups go begging ultimately to some squillionare donors. Now I have no idea who funds RJ but I rather hope it’s not squillionaires. I think it is trying to support the spirit of mutual aid which is why Graeber etc..
But that still leaves the question does it do any good? If I donate to an organization promising food for the homeless and no needy people get fed I might conclude it’s rather pointless (actually in that case it’s a straight out scam). Does discharging these loans do any good if they weren’t collectible anyway? Less collection agency calls for the borrowers? (that would be A good) Better credit scores for the borrowers? (that would be A good) Or is it WORSE credit scores for the borrowers like Yves seems to be saying?
With all due respect, ill thought out charity, without consent of the recipient, that can leave them worse off (see the above comment on credit scores as well as IRS issues we flagged) is not any kind of charity worth promoting or praising. It’s about making the donor feel good rather than alleviating harm.
Thanks Yves, I will email Alan and let him know you picked his post up.
“more than likely”
“I suspect that”
tsk, tsk… sloppy sloppy pontification.
“makes defaulted debt more valuable on the market” Oh c’mon! This tiny speck of a debt buy? Why, Collinge knows better than anyone how insubstantial this puny stunt is in the big picture of student debt. Damn! He’s swatting at a gnat – just one gnat (albeit one that’s brought attention to his decade long crusade).
“There is no resistance”
No shit. What are YOU doing? Turns out Collinge is trying – has been trying. In fact NC has covered his efforts twice, once in 2012 and once in 2013 that I can find.
All day everyday I can read these articles pointing fingers at big banks and the financial sector’s bad biznas, opinionating on news stories linked.
I find this more interesting – people doing this: http://jubileedebt.org.uk/
In my small town, I can’t get three people to help me begin a citizen debt audit because it’s too daunting. Or perhaps they are too busy reading criticism of bad bank behavior. I get that Collinge is frustrated – he’s written a book about it ferchrissakes! But having to slap at strike debt and the drama and MEDIA coverage that the debt buy got? Maybe joining forces with strike debt and the RJ would be more productive.
What if the Rolling Jubilee is just an overture, a prologue? Who then acts out the full musical? WE DO! Collinge seems to have the score and the libretto in hand.
If the debt collection business is an infection, we have to know that it is the cause of our malaise before we can cure it. If our interest charging and paying system can only work, as Margrit Kennedy exhibited so clearly, with a periodic jubilee, then someone (Michael Hudson might be a bit heady for plain folk) needs to shine a light on it.
Who reached across to whom? Did they or didn’t they? Pshaw. Enough of the hand-wringing and public shaming. Pick up the damned phone and schedule a sit down. I look forward to the combined work of StudentLoanJustice and strike debt in the very near future.
This an an emotional reaction that demonstrates ignorance of the issues at hand. And that was the problem with this project from the get-go.
1. RJ said they would inform credit bureaus of their debt “forgiveness”. That actually HURTS the borrower by”restarting” an adverse credit notice (if it has expired) or updating it, extending how long it stays on a credit report. In the US, credit reports are often used by employers in screening prospective hires. And RJ’s average size of debt purchased (as in amount forgiven per individual) was small. So someone gets at best a small benefit, only to have their odds of getting a job impaired?
2. Debt forgiveness is a taxable event per the IRS. So the people who have uncollectable debt now potentially owe the IRS money. Yes, the odds of the IRS pursuing anyone are low, but who needs that risk?
3. You seriously have no problem with hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid to predatory debt collectors so they can go out and abuse more people?
4. As the author of this post stressed, there are FAR more productive approaches to this issue. This is wasting resources and energy on a low payoff, ill-conceived strategy.
Re: #2. The IRS requires that the debtor receive a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt. The IRS has an automated matching system that determines whether or not the amount of debt cancelled is included on the debtor’s tax return. If it is not, the IRS will pursue any deficiency in taxes due to non-reporting. Interest and penalties will be added to the amount due. While the IRS is budget constrained in its collection activities, it will go after the deficiencies that are easy to identify. Any failures to include amounts reported to the IRS on forms such as the 1099 series, W-2’s, etc., are the ones that are easy to identify by the matching system.
Don’t be so quick to pooh pooh the significance of the Strike Debt group or their projects. There are precious few genuine citizens efforts on this issue and Strike debt is probably the most well known among them. As such, when serious concerns arise regarding the public interest and the policies/actions of these groups, it is imperative that they be expressed and debated.
We differ significantly with Strike Debt on two fronts: We are focused almost solely on returning bankruptcy and they don’t even list it among their demands. Secondly, we concentrate on Congress/legislative remedies, whereas they believe legislative remedy is futile. Still and all, we’ve had ok relations with them to this point, and compared to a couple of completely shamefull, disingenuous astroturf groups on this issue, they are pretty good. I talked with Andrew Ross a couple of days ago about this piece and potential future cooperation, and hope that the dialogue continues.
As an aside, my core skills/training/faculty come from the sciences/philosophy. As such, I LOVE being criticized on policy points by fellow citizens with the same motivations, thank people when they prove me wrong, and never hesitate to correct or challenge others if i see something incorrect or troubling from others on this issue. I raised my concerns about this project multiple times with them since way back in the day, but got either no response, or responses meant to intimidate and silence, rather than illuminate the argument. Because the project got blown up in the media recently, and continues to occupy the public discourse, It became necessary to write this piece in the public interest.
I think that is how it has to be if the citizens are to ever come together, and the public interest is to be protected and served…
Hope that makes sense.
ps. As to your (pretty snarky) question about what I have done: I’ve done enough to say I pulled my weight despite having essentially no money (our budget is $1200/month on a good month), and massive, well resourced opposition with huge capabilities to alter public perception, and congressional understanding of the truth. Far more than writing “finger pointing” pieces as you seem to be characterizing our accomplishments.
See our Archives for a pretty good blow by blow since 2006. See the headlines in red on the main page of our website to see some of the news stories we have broken, or uncovered, but not yet been able to get the MSM to corroborate and report. Whether this impresses you or not, I think you’ll agree that its not nothing.
Talking about taxability, how much tax will have to be paid on the proceeds of the NC fundraiser?
Non sequitur remark alert. The topic is not Naked Capitalism and their fund raising. The topic is Rolling Jubilee and feeding TBTF. Do you have a comment on topic or are you going to remain outside of the conversation?