Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of personal debt for $400k and write it off

For those that say Occupy didn’t achieve anything.


Interesting to note how cheap that debt is sold on for. Good to know when the collectors come calling pretending to take the moral high ground.


There was an article here on Boing Boing about that campaign when it started and I think it is a MOST EXCELLENT “abuse” of the collection system and a MOST EXCELLENT very tangible way for the Occupy movement to manifest. Take that people who say it is too pie in the sky. I hope they build into it a little Pay it Forward action so the people who get the surprise debt paid off maybe pay a bit into the next round of debt buy up.

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So there was!

Lottery tickets. Sell lottery tickets that cancel out people’s debt. Is that brilliant or horrible? I honestly can’t tell.


No worse than the more common use of lottery to support the educational system. Yes, it’s a tax on the less educated and/or more desperate and/or stupid. Yes, the earmarking doesn’t work because the rest of the tax system adjusts to spend more of the normal tax income elsewhere. But if you’re going to have a lottery, at least it tries to send money that would be spent anyway in a useful direction.

It’s awful, but kinda Gibson, isn’t it?

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Given that the name suggests this was intended to be an ongoing program… Can someone point me to an ongoing website, rather than the kick-off party linked to here?

It’s not an unreasonable idea.

On the other hand, if precisely the same thing was done using tax money many people would be screaming about bailouts and lack-of-moral-hazard and so on. It’s easy to endorse the idea of someone else volunteering to try to address a mess that, realistically, we all share…

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Hm. Charity Navigator hasn’t audited them yet. Nor has CharityWatch, though I find that less surprising since their coverage is more narrow.

I’m interested, but I’d really like to have a better sense of how much of the donation goes to overhead.

Their FAQ says they aren’t a charity:

The Rolling Jubilee Fund is a non-profit 501c4 (“an organization whose primary activity is the promotion of social welfare”), not a charity

Although I don’t understand the difference.

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I reckon you can potentially make a lot more money with a charity than a non-profit.

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501©4 is a slightly different category of organization. (Next section of the lawbooks, obviously) . I don’t know the details, but I do I know some very legitimate educational nonprofits fall in that group.

I presume that what RJ does, and what they wanted to be able to do, fit better into this category than into 501©3.

Doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t legit, or even that they aren’t as efficient as if they were a charity. It does mean they don’t have some of the tax advantages (for themselves or for their donors) but they’re also under a different set of legal constraints.

Doesn’t necessarily mean they are efficient either (beyond the obvious efficiency of buying the debt at a discount).

I’m not competent to analyze them; I’m just barely competent enough to want someone who does know what would and wouldn’t be reasonable to do so and reassure me. Being a great idea doesn’t always mean it’s being done respectably.

Yep. That’s whad bad charities do.




Donations aren’t tax-deductible. But it’s an easier organization to set up and maintain. Also, lobbying and other political action is legal.

I think maybe a charity can’t have overly political overtones? Which Occupy obviously has…

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