Occupy Wall Street – Occupying Debt

If you knew that with $50 you could eliminate $500, or even $1,000 of someone else’s debt, would you? Occupy Wall Street is launching a new project to do just that. They are raising money to buy distressed debt and then simply make it disappear.

We have all heard of Occupy Wall Street. You might think of them as that group of radical trouble makers who held a months-long camp-in in New York, with copy-cats around the country. You might think of them as the originators of the phrase “The other 99%.” You may find them inspiring, or ridiculous. If you haven’t been paying attention to them lately you might be surprised to learn that they are still around. But they are, and they are doing some really great things.

Occupy Wall Street has been evolving into an effective grassroots vehicle not only for protest and direct political action, but also for taking direct action to help people out. They still plan protests and such, but they aren’t relying on fighting the machine, so to speak, to make a difference. Yes, the radical rhetoric is still there. But they are also walking their talk, and putting people first through relief efforts such as “Occupy Sandy,” organizing volunteers and supplies to help those displaced by the super storm.

Their latest idea is brilliant, in my humble opinion. They have a website – Strike Debt – will all sorts of information about debt, how you get into it, how you get stuck in it, and how to get out of it. The Strike Debt project is now launching this new project, called “The People’s Bailout” to eliminate some of the most distressed debt.

‘Distressed debt’ is debt that has already been written off by banks, because the people who owe that money have no ability to pay it off. But they still owe it. The normal course of events is that the distressed debt is bought as an investment, for pennies on the dollar. The purchaser then proceeds to use all means available to try to get the full amount of the debt paid back by the debtors, including added interest and fees.

“The People’s Bailout” is hoping to turn that story on its head – buying the distressed debt and then simply forgiving it. They can’t target who’s debt they will relieve, but some lucky souls are about to get a huge break thanks to this project.

On November 15th the project will launch with a big fundraising variety show and telethon. Even if you can’t be there in New York City, you can watch it online, and, of course, send in a donation. Who knows what kind of difference this can make?

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