Occupy Wall Street Buying Debt and Forgiving It

This is the most amazing thing I've read in a while.

David Rees:

"Now OWS is launching the ROLLING JUBILEE, a program that has been in development for months. OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)"

So what happens now is, if there's a bill that doesn't look likely to get paid, the business will sell it for a song to a debt buyer, often a collection agency. Then these collection agencies hound the debtors, with the idea being that if even just a few pay, it's well worth the risk.

Instead, OWS is going to buy this debt just to get rid of it. It's a pretty amazing idea, and easy to get behind, because you know exactly where the money's going. I can't think of a better way to help families in these tough economic times, and it helps the economy too.

My only fear is that interested parties will move to block OWS from buying the debt. There's too much money at stake to let them disrupt the system. But I'll support it while it's here.

The Rolling Jubliee opens to public donations November 15.