Skip to comments.Occupy Wall Street's Latest Plan: Refuse to Repay Student Loan Debt
Posted on 11/22/2011 2:49:48 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Occupy Wall Streets latest grievance centers on student loan programs and higher education reform, and the groups most recent campaign involves a movement-wide boycott on student loan debt repayment. Early Monday afternoon, a crowd of faculty and student organizers assembled at the southeast corner of New York City's Zuccotti Park to announce Occupy Student Debt, a national initiative directed at recruiting student loan borrowers and requesting that they willfully default on their loan payments. The campaign consists of three pledges:
1. A refusal to make loan payments. This pledge will take effect after a million debtors have signed on to the campaign. 2. A faculty pledge of support for the "refusers." 3. A general, non-debtors' pledge of support for parents, the students and other public sympathizers.
"Since the first days of the Occupy movement, the agony of student debt has been a constant refrain," New York University professor Andrew Ross announced to a crowd of more than 100 people. "Weve heard the harrowing personal testimony about the suffering and humiliation of people who believe their debts will be unpayable in their lifetime."
Chronicled on the movements unofficial "We Are the 99 Percent" Tumblr blog, recent graduates hold handwritten signs detailing their personal stories on student loan debt, with signs with statements such as, "I have $50,000 in student loan debt and my B.A. is useless." In response to rising tuition costs, and driven by the movements virulent disdain for profitable institutions, OWS protesters plan to accomplish the following goal:
Under the campaign which grew from the original Occupy Wall Street protest and is now known, inevitably, as Occupy Student Debt borrowers will pledge to stop repaying their student loans once 1 million people vow to do so as well. The campaign is calling for several reforms of higher education, including free public colleges, no-interest loans, greater transparency at private and for-profit colleges and complete forgiveness of all existing student debt.
The strategy behind the campaign is that if one million students refuse to pay back their student loan debt, the group will suffer minimal consequences due to safety in numbers. But also incorporated in the student-debt refusal pledge is a willingness to help draw attention to the progressive rise in tuition costs, and the calamitous effect such inflationary maneuvers have had on student debt loads.
However, even supporters of the movement perceive the protesters demands as too far-reaching, as it is highly unlikely that there will be free public colleges and that all private universities will disclose their internal finances. Moreover, the repercussions for defaulting on student loan debt are not inconsequential. Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt and The Edupunks Guide, warns borrowers of the consequences of defaulting on their loans, which can involve wage and tax refund garnishments and other penalizing tactics.
Further, Kamenetz is skeptical that the Occupy Student Debt campaign will garner much support from the student graduate population. "As an organizing tactic, mass default is a little bit difficult to get mainstream America to embrace, since theres this very strong moral and ethical belief that people dont walk away from loans they voluntarily assumed," asserted Kamenetz, who has researched and written on the subject of student loan debt for several years. "Theres this deep, pervading sense that since I had to pay off my loans, you should have to pay off your loans, too."
Besides the formidable challenge of amassing widespread public support particularly as violence and destructive behavior have showered the movement with negative sentiments are the abiding ramifications of student loan defaulting. "Defaulting is considered a financial felony that will continue to haunt you," asserted Carl Van Horn, a public policy professor at Rutgers University. "Student loans are not something you can easily walk away from, and defaulting is hardly the same thing as missing a credit card payment. It really is a black mark."
But this inevitable notion has not stopped college graduates and university faculty from hawking their anti-student loan agenda, as Thomas Gokey, an adjunct professor at Syracuse University and participant in Mondays announcement, says it is not uncommon for Syracuse students to amass upwards of $200,000 in debt come graduation time. "Theres been a lot of talk around student debt, but not a lot of action," averred Ross. "Even in the best of times, it was a very heavy burden to carry for decades. But now, with chronic unemployment, its morally unsustainable."
Ashley Dawson, an associate professor at the City University of New York and proponent of the new OWS initiative, says she sees many of her students working "not only one but two jobs just to afford our relatively reasonable tuition rates." "For students faced with debt, this campaign is important because it will help provide them with a collective organizing vehicle," alleged Dawson, a member of the OWS Empowerment and Education working group. "Were aiming to galvanize sweeping political change."
However, the professors and OWS organizers have neglected to identify the actual cause of rising tuition costs, but instead demonize private universities for leeching off of young high school graduates who are seeking college degrees. Similar to the third-party-payer system which bridles American healthcare, government has played an increasing role in subsidizing tuition costs, as students are amassing bulky government loans to finance their education.
Such a system discourages high school graduates from pursuing the most competitively-priced institutions, as many students choose schools charging $30,000 per year in tuition costs, with the anticipation that they will land high-paying jobs come graduation. This of course allows higher learning institutions to charge enormous tuition rates, and thanks to federal interference which has distorted the education market, colleges and universities get off scot-free.
The governments devious act of manipulating the higher education market, coupled with a Federal Reserve system which is brewing an inflationary hailstorm, is the origin of the problem, as Texas Congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul wrote in October regarding his "Restore America" budget plan:
Like housing and medicine, education costs went through the roof when government became involved. In the last three decades, the overall inflation rate has increased more than 100%, which means we basically pay double now for everything we buy. This price inflation is an inevitable consequence of printing money out of thin air and devaluing our dollar. But compare this inflation to the rise in the cost of college tuition, which has increased almost 500% in the same amount of time.
This is what happens when we print money out of thin air and couple it with government intervention in education.
Hell, Obama has already all but excused these loans.
I don’t want to pay my bills either.
If anybody needs me I’ll be holding my breath and pouting.
It’s all in the plan thier being fed. Overwhelm the system into collapse. This will be one more nail
Any bets on what this professor's salary is? And whether or not it has gone up during this economic downturn? We all know, don't we.
one of the protesters
They dont have a lot of cuts and stuff for everybody.
This is a plan I can actually support. It would kill the student loan program completely and students would be expected to pay their own way, 100%.
There’s a reason the gubmint took over student loans and loan collections recently.
Another chance for Barry and his Chicago thugs to absolve the yutes of their sins.
Actually, it would not kill the majority of the student loan industry since the taxpayers now backstop most of these loans (thanks to the 110th Congress).
The banks will get their money regardless.
If the student defaults, the taxpayer pays the loan.
Actually, it’s yet another financial services industry subsidy since the taxpayer backstops most of these student loans. Banks have little risk here.
As per usual, the taxpayer is carrying the risk on defaults. Thanks Congress!
I'm not in college admin, but if somebody works for me, and advocates that my customers refuse to pay their bills, he wouldn't work for me much longer.
I’d even be willing to make a deal.
We forgive all current student loan debts in return for cutting all federal funding of colleges and student loan programs.
We’ll see how dedicated they really are.
You don’t think people should have to pay back the thousands of dollars they borrowed to go to college?
Maybe that's because they took out loans for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a degree with no job prospects, other than teaching the courses required for the degree (I have news for you... They've got all the teachers they need for those degree classes!) or a career that only pays $25,000 a year...
They need to sue their guidance counselors, college advisers, and themselves for their stupid decisions!
I'll say this... Go ahead and decide not to pay your student debt... At least in the old days, that was one of the debts that isn't cleared by bankruptcy. The government WILL go after you for outstanding student loans!
Another day in Obamaland. :(
I'm not even sure I've seen them blame the private universtities. I've only seen them blame the lenders.
I foresee the return of the debtor’s prison sooner than many would think.
Students Paying More and Getting Less, Study Says
the share of higher education budgets that goes to instruction has declined, while the portion spent on administrative costs has increased.
(Sounds like every other Govt program.)
Maybe they could spend some of the millions in endowements theyre sitting on.
So whens the congressional hearing on college price gouging ?
(College costs are up 900% since 1978)
I didn’t say that. Of course they should.
But, the only way to defeat socialism is to have it beat itself. Most people do not understand the bankrupting nature of socialism. As long as a government program kind of works and it’s flaws not blaring out in neon lights and massive speakers, too many people take that as a sign that socialism works. That’s why it is so hard to get rid of it.
I’m saying that if it means that, without question, that socialism is a failure, that there might be some pain to suffer to show it’s unquestionable failings, it may hurt, but I can support that.
The OWSers are also demanding that student loans be interest free. Which is interesting since Sharia law forbids the charging of interest. It’s another one of those funny commonalities that you see between Islam and the Left. In this case they both want to impose their cosmic moral feelings onto the financial realm.
These days liberals want lenders prison for lenders who were forced to make loans to people who can’t pay.
Actually, the best answer here is to simply limit the loans to a reasonable amount of money. The max that the government ought to loan out for student loans is $40k...end of the story. If the kid wants more....let him deal with the mafia and their loan program.
Everybody want's free stuff on our dime.
Screw it,let's all raise our withholding to 5 for a year,starve the Federal Government,they just blow our money anyway.
In theory islam is a pretty socialistic “religion”.
their beef should be with the universities that have raised the costs of college beyond the worth.
1. leftist controlled faculties.
2. tenure for life for duds.
3. over-paid faculty.
4. most universities in the’90s reduced teaching loads by 1/3.
5. non-essential programs and staff.
YEAH!! That'll teach us!!
I've kinda been waiting for this. They don't seem to understand that THEY applied for the loans to go to school, THEY got the education and THEY incurred the debt!!
And these people blame the "1%" for the problems of this coutry!!??? They slept (or were stoned) through too many of the classes that the rest of us paid for!!
PAY YOUR D@MN BILLS, YOU LAZY WHINERS, AND GET A JOB (AFTER you get a bath and clean clothes)!!!!!
While defaulting isn't the end of the world for these kids, the Government WILL get their money back. The kids should be protesting or suing their "higher learning" institutions for selling bullshit degrees.
End of the day however, they are now financial slaves by their own doing. I wonder when passports will be voided if "Student Loans" are not "current"?
Hmmm about 400,000 College Faculty and grad students are covered by collectively bargained contracts. So the Unions who are supporting the Occupied cause are the ones responsible for the tuition increases, which pays the salaries of their teachers.
Well hell’s bells, I should just “default” on my mortgage as well. And especially on all the taxes I pay that provide the freebies all these yahoos want.
Go Ahead and not pay on the student loans.
First they will be turned over to a debt collector. Debt collector tacks on upwards to 20% for recovery fees. Debt collector then will put a federal wage garnishment on their income to the tune of 15%. The IRS will garnish any and all tax return monies. Even Social Security will garnish 10% of payments.
Even if they are not employed the cock keeps ticking. The interest on these loans just keeps on cranking.
No one escape paying on the loans.
My biggest bills are for taxes. Can I stop paying them?
Good. Starve the B. Big government cannot stay big with a worthless currency and little manufacturing to generate sustainable revenues.
Great advice to 20 somethings whose only credit history is probably their student loan. Quit making the payments and let your credit score go down to about 520. Then when you get one of those good jobs with your college degree and try to buy a new car or a home etc. you will be SOL in the USSA.
OMG! I thought that being surrounded by liberals I’d seen everything but I’m surprised everyday by some OWS interview. The worst so far was the woman that thought they had it great in North Korea because it was not capitalist.
I can’t help but wonder if they learned the exact wrong lesson from the city managers telling them that they must follow the law and then letting them break them, and the cops arresting them and then the courts dismissing their cases en masse.
They now think that they can misbehave with impunity. I seriously doubt that the finance industry is going to let them skate on their obligations.
More likely what we’ll see is most of an entire generation sentenced to self-imposed financial exile and relentlessly hounded by collection agents. Works for me.
The professional managerial class is just as corrupt in academe as in banking or government.
It will also make the public despise the OWS even more than it does now and undermine their nonsense further. These guys are the stupidest revolutionaries ever.
These idiots don’t have a clue what life is about. They have not contributed anything to speak of to this nation, NOTHING. Few of them if any, have served in the military, their tax contribution is zero, their social security contribution is zero. They are zeros and have absolutely no right to complain. My husband had a heart transplant, thank God, 18 months ago, it was a hard climb up but he did. He had to get back to work asap to pay for health insurance, debt that accumulated while he was in the hospital for 8 months, replace the savings we lived on and the list goes on. And these little bastards don’t want to pay their student loans? To hell with them.
Maybe we could forgive the student loans if they “turned in” or renounced the degrees, along with any benefits the degrees ever got them, jobs, good salaries, higher standard of living, prestige, etc. If they take the deal it would be as if the degree never existed. That would clean a lot of deadwood out of the workforce. Most of the degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on anyway.
I like how you think.
Even better, many employers now check your credit score before hiring. I'd be willing to bet that non-payment of student loans will be a big flashing don't hire signal.