What was it like to open up a letter announcing that the burden of a large medical debt had been taken away? "I was dumbfounded," replies Terrance Lavalle, referring to a letter he received in November from Occupy Wall Street's working group, "The Rolling Jubilee."
Having spent a lot of time thinking about this problem, I want to offer to you five simple ideas that will suppress the "criminal enterprise", uplift families, protect the safety and soundness of the banking system and ensure a functional credit and debt collection process.
Buying and selling debt has become a big business in the U.S. The FTC found that debt buyers typically purchase portfolios of debt for only four cents on the dollar, on average, and then collect on those debts for the full face value -- which nets them a huge profit.
I suggest putting a freeze on those debt collector lawsuits until unemployment falls to some more reasonable level -- 6 percent. That would give millions of Americans the breathing space to get back to work -- and then they can catch up on all those old past due debts.
A coalition of Occupy groups called StrikeDebt is encouraging people to combat debt by way of popular resistance... up to and including complete default. Occupy hasn't left its "radical" roots, but has evolved as a voice on the subject of banking and finance.
Now don't get me wrong, there are many good, fair, reasonable, and law abiding debt collectors out there who would never think of engaging in such alleged behavior. And while some may feel "all is fair" in order to collect a debt, there are limits.
The American justice system must not be sold to the highest bidder -- not to lobbyists, not to politicians, and certainly not to debt collectors. District attorneys can't continue to demean our institutions by renting out their letterhead.