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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Debt strikes: end the slavery
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Debt strikes: end the slavery

from alternet...
One of the fascinating things about the media dominance of Occupy Wall Street has been how the conversation has shifted away from the deficit-obsession of the last few years. Suddenly the debt that everyone is talking about is personal, individual debt—student loans, mortgages, credit cards and other ways the big banks control our lives.

“That's one of the things, debt really does tie the 99 percent together. Everyone who is under the 99 percentile saw a debt runup in the 2000s,” Mike Konczal, finance blogger and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, told me. “You can talk about 'the richest 1 percent makes this much money,' but part of what they're making is debt. Their wealth is a claim on everyone else's future income.”

almost 12 years ago, utterly frustrated with the fact that the greater portion of my life up to that point had been saddled with debt of one sort or another, i was finally able to get out from under it - all of it... it was one of the best things i've ever done for myself... now, at age 64, i have no mortgage, no auto loan, no credit card debt, and, in fact, no debt whatsoever... and, other than my truck and 5th wheel trailer, reasonably flush credit union savings and checking accounts, a term life insurance policy and a VERY modest 401K left over from my last corporate job (which has been totally whacked by the economy), i have no assets - no investments, no stocks, no bonds, no property, no precious metals, no valuable collectibles... i maintain one credit card (with a large credit limit and no annual fee) for the considerable amount of traveling i do but it's paid off each month... i never knowingly submit to the ever-present exhortations to "check my credit score" or take actions that would require my credit score to be checked... the last 12 years have given me a sense of economic freedom i used to only dream about...


all three of my grown children (the oldest is 42) are still paying off student loan debt and, to various degrees, can be pretty much described as "debt slaves"... my youngest began a masters program this year and was facing the prospect of putting herself even deeper in hock by taking out still more student loans... fortunately, i'm at a place where i don't have to sit by gnashing my teeth while she does that and i offered to pay for the whole thing, half as a loan at less than half the interest rate she would have to pay to a lending institution and half as an outright grant... (yes, i'm extremely grateful to be able to do something like that...)

since i'm currently in the valley of the doldrums (i.e., back in the u.s. between contract assignments), i have time - too much, actually - on my hands and, once again, i'm exposed to the incessant urgings of the vast majority of the u.s. version of paid advertising to do or buy something on credit, all the while reminding me just how terribly important my credit rating is... it assaults me at every turn with the distinct implication that my credit rating and my ability to incur large amounts of debt is directly correlated with my worth as a human being...

the article is good as far as it goes but what we really need to do is to challenge our belief that credit and the resulting debt is a societal element worth maintaining at all... what it's really time to do is end the slavery...

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