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Telethon Will Raise Funds to Buy, Then Cancel, Consumer Debt

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  • Telethon Will Raise Funds to Buy, Then Cancel, Consumer Debt

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    First there was a bailout for many of the nation’s banks. Now comes one for some of their customers.
    Strike Debt, a movement that emerged from the Occupy Wall Street movement, announced plans Friday to stage a variety show and telethon to raise money to buy and cancel consumer debt.
    The event, which is slated for Nov. 15, will benefit “The Rolling Jubilee,” a project that organizers say can raise awareness of what the group describes as predatory debt practices, debt resistance and mutual aid.

    “We buy debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, we abolish it,” Strike Debt says on its website. “We cannot buy specific individuals' debt – instead, we help liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.”

    Organizers are billing the telethon, which will originate from Le Poisson Rouge, a bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, as a “wild night of music, comedy, magic, education and the unexpected,” according to the event’s website.

    Actor and comedian Janeane Garofalo, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead, author and political scientist Frances Fox Piven of the City University of New York, guitarist Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and other performers and activists from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street will gather to raise money to buy debt so they can forgive it.

    For its part, Strike Debt, which did not respond immediately to a request for comment, works to educate consumers about the perils of debt in varied forms.

    “Debt is the tie that binds the 99%, from recent graduates paying hundreds of dollars in interest every month on their student loans, to elderly homeowners underwater to the banks, to teachers and firefighters forced to take pay cuts because their cities are broke, to countries that that have to slash school and hospital budgets to pay back bondholders,” the group writes on the telethon’s website.
    In September, Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street published a “The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual,” which “aims to provide specific tactics for understanding and fighting against the debt system so that we can all reclaim our lives and our communities,” according to the preface.

    The manual “contains practical information, resources and insider tips for individuals dealing with the dilemma of indebtedness in the United States today and also introduces ideas for those who have made the decision to take collective action.”

    Though Strike Debt has not detailed how it goes about buying or cancelling debt, the group says it is making progress. “Just two hours since launch and we're already halfway to our goal of $1M debt abolished,” Strike Debt tweeted Friday.

    By Brian Browdie
    Last edited by frogger; 11-25-2012, 08:03 AM.
    All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
    Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......

  • #2
    Sort of funny. I hope they're prepared to issue a bunch of 1099's for forgiven debt

    Sample Letter from Strike Debt

    Great news Ms. Jones. We bought your $12,000 account from Chase and we have forgiven 100% of that debt. That's right, you do not need to pay us a penny. The banks received their bail-out at the expense of taxpayers, Strike-Debt has marshaled the resources of individuals to buy debt form this banks and forgive it.

    Thank you for your support and best wishes.

    P.S. The IRS treats forgiven debt as income, so we have attached your 1099 and you may have to pay income tax on the $12,000 that we forgave. Good luck.

    Joe Shmoe
    Strike Debt.
    Last edited by HHM; 11-16-2012, 06:08 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by HHM View Post
      Sort of funny. I hope they're prepared to issue a bunch of 1099's for forgiven debt
      That's the problem with this well intentioned scheme. Maybe they should contact people before they forgive the debt and replace a dischargeable debt with non-dischargeable tax liability. That could be a pretty depressing letter for somebody who is about to file bankruptcy and can't prove insolvency to exempt the forgiven debt from income.
      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


      • #4
        This brings up an interesting question. Can someone decline this debt forgiveness?


        • #5
          Originally posted by joshuagraham View Post
          This brings up an interesting question. Can someone decline this debt forgiveness?
          Good question. But, one thing Strike Debt could do is contact the debtor and say we'll give you a choice: We'll either forgive the debt in which case you may have tax liability, or you can start making payments to us at a very low interest interest rate over whatever period of time is needed to make payments affordable. Then they can use the money they bring in for administrative expenses and to buy more debt.
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


          • #6
            I would bet that they will not file a 1099 or anything else with the IRS whether it is legal or not. They consider the debt to be unjust and/or illegal and they will have nothing to do with helping the government collect taxes on such a debt.
            Lawyer - $3000
            Filing fee - $299
            Fresh Start - Priceless


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