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Social Security Checks Garnisheed for Student Debt

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Posted on May 11, 2012
Ethan Prater (CC BY 2.0)

By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt

This piece originally appeared at Web of Debt.

The Social Security program … represents our commitment as a society to the belief that workers should not live in dread that a disability, death, or old age could leave them or their families destitute.
      – President Jimmy Carter, December 20, 1977

[This law] assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half century ago … . [The Social Security Amendments of 1983 are] a monument to the spirit of compassion and commitment that unites us as a people.
      – President Ronald Reagan, April 20, 1983

So said Presidents Carter and Regan, but that was before 1996, when Congress voted to allow federal agencies to offset portions of Social Security payments to collect debts owed to those agencies. (31 U.S.C. §3716).  Now we read of horror stories like this:

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I’m a 68 year old grandma of 2 young grandchildren. I went to college to upgrade my employment status in 1998 or 1999. I finished in 2000 and at that time had a student loan balance of about 3500.00.

Could not find a job and had to request forbearance to carry me. Over the years I forgot about the loan, dealt with poor health, had brain surgery in 2006 and the collection agents decided to collect for the loan in 2008.

At no time during the 6-7 year gap did anyone remind me or let me know that I could make a minimum payment on the loan. Now that I am on Social Security (have been since I was 62), they have decided to garnishee my SS check to the tune of 15%.

I have not been employed since 2004 and have the two dependents . ...  I don’t dispute that I owed them the $3500.00 but am wondering why they let it build up to somewhere around $17,000/20,000 before they attempted to collect.

Her debt went from $3500 to over $17,000 in 10 years?! How could that be?

It seems that Congress has removed nearly every consumer protection from student loans, including not only standard bankruptcy protections, statutes of limitations, and truth in lending requirements, but protection from usury (excessive interest). Lenders can vary the interest rates, and some borrowers are reporting rates as high as 18-20%. At 20%, debt doubles in just 3-1/2 years; and in 7 years, it quadruples. Congress has also given lenders draconian collection powers to extort not just the original principal and interest on student loans but huge sums in penalties, fees, and collection costs.

The majority of these debts are being imposed on young people, who have a potential 40 years of gainful employment ahead of them to pay the debt off. But a sizeable chunk of U.S. student loan debt is held by senior citizens, many of whom are not only unemployed but unemployable. According to the New York Federal Reserve, two million U.S. seniors age 60 and over have student loan debt, on which they owe a collective $36.5 billion; and 11.2 percent of this debt is in default. Almost a third of all student loan debt is held by people aged 40 and over, and 4.2% is held by people over the age of 60. The total student debt is now over $1 trillion, more even than credit card debt. The sum is unsustainable and threatens to be the next debt tsunami.

Some of this debt is for loans taken out years earlier on their own schooling, and some is from co-signing student loans for children or grandchildren. But much of it has been incurred by middle-aged people going back to school in the hope of finding employment in a bad job market. What they have wound up with is something much worse: no job, an exponentially mounting debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, and the prospect of old age without a social security check adequate to survive on.

Gone is the promise of earlier presidents of a “commitment to the belief that workers should not live in dread that a disability, death, or old age could leave them or their families destitute.” The plight of the indebted elderly is reminiscent of the Irish immigrants who came to America after a potato famine in the 19th century, who were looked upon in some places as actually lower than slaves. Plantation owners kept their slaves fed, clothed and cared for, because they were valuable property. The Irish were expendable, and they were on their own.


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By terry p, May 24, 2012 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

She

I don’t really get the DaVinci comparison in connection to the Web of Debt. Not that I don’t feel a real connection to some theories.

If you like that sort of thing check out Dean Henderson’s website > http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/  <. He will blow your mind if you can find the time to explore his his articles. He started a series on Global Research but never finished it there. I think it was The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families. I had read two or three articles but the last one never showed up. So, my curiosity got the better of me. I paid a visit to his website to find the rest of the story – as Paul Harvey says. If you check it out it will take you on a very interesting investigative trip through the history of secret societies. In reality secrecy is the key to power. Organized secret groups have the power of invisibility. I was at one time a member of a secret society. So I am familiar with the subject. But, I agree that there are a lot of statements that need to be checked. Ellen is a lawyer and her work has been around long enough to be contested. She has a professional Reputation. I know that isn’t everything but so far I haven’t come up with anything that might be wrong other than a typo here and there. 

About my posting habits. Like I said I don’t have time to keep up with the conversations in comments. When I read an article I read through the comments and if I have time I respond by commenting and sometimes that comment is to a fellow commentator like you, which I thoroughly enjoy. If I check the box at the bottom of the the post which asks, “Notify you when others comment on this article? ” then I will be notified when new people comment.  If, when I check the new comments, someone is interested in what I said, I try to respond. If not eventually I send the “ STOP receiving notifications” link back to Truthdig. This works OK unless I participate in the comments of an article that is really close to what I feel is the most important issue – like the corrupt banking problems that brought the people our country and the world to their knees – the history of which is explained in detail in “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown. Then I revisit the article only to find that my comment has not only been ignored but left out completely. In those cases, sometimes, I log on as Synonymos with a copy of my comment or just post again anonymously complaining of the delay. 

It is sometimes irritating that my post is neglected but I’d hate to hold up a conversation by keeping a responding commentator waiting for my response to theirs while I’m driving out of town because of a comment I made while logged in as Synonymos.  Wouldn’t you get a little irritated thinking that I ignored your posts? That’s one reason why I don’t like to sign in. Another is that I just need time to think about a response. I’m not speed writer just as you say your not a speed reader.

It was nice hearing from you again She:?)
Later:?]
PS: I get those voyeuristic tendencies reading your comments. It’s the picture, I think!

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By John Steinsvold, May 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

terry p,

I have also read your previous posts on May 19 at
12:05 pm and May 20 at 3:21 am. I thought I answered
your query. However, let me add the following:

Yes, the administration of a way of life without
money is a huge problem. As proposed in my essay, a
web of “economic bodies” would be created; one for
the federal, one for each state and one for each
local level. These economic bodies will coordinate
the economic traffic in our nation. They will
interact with each other as much as modern technology
will allow. A balance of supply and demand will be
achieved taking every conceivable factor into
consideration including conservation and our
environment as well as the needs of the people and
their craving for luxuries.

In short, these economic bodies will be coordinating
what is now our free enterprise system to fulfill the
economic needs of our nation.

It is also the purpose of these economic bodies to
help people find the work they want to do and yet be
productive in our society. These economic bodies will
determine the economic needs of our country and call
for volunteers to meet these needs. There will be no
coercion. These economic bodies will be servants of
both the nation and the people.

I have read Ellen’s work on the evils of banking. The
average citizen will not be involved in any way with
banks since everything will be free. The only banking
necessary in a way of life without money will be a
central or federal bank when we, as a nation, conduct
commerce with foreign countries such as importing,
exporting, touristing, paying off debts, etc.)

John Steinsvold

There can be no joy of life without joy of work.
-Thomas Aquinas

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Hi terry p.  Yeah, now that you reminded me, I do recall you are
also Synonymos.  And yeah, I did buy Web of Debt and read a lot
of it.  Extraordinary observations by Ellen Brown.  I am not the
swiftest speed reader and I’m reading a dozen books at a time,
yeowie, so I can’t say anything definitive yet on her thesis about
a bred and quickening “network” which sounds too much at first
glance like a conspiracy theory of the DaVinci Code genre, of
private bankers who have taken over the creation and control of the
international money system.  She thinks the monied power elite (the
wealthy and corporate) instigate perpetual wars thereby keeping the
people of the world disen-franchised and indentured.  Whether this
is true requires substantial evidence which she has not provided so
far in my reading.  Conjecture based on inference from unsupported
premises.  But what she says sounds right and maybe that is as
dangerous as what she claims?  When it only sounds like the truth
how do we find out if it is in fact true?  I’m reticent to make and
uninformed opinions, and I am much too ignorant of economics to
be able to tell if she, her critics, or even you make sense and/or are
telling the truth.

I like the book and will finish it as I think it is important to at least
begin to see what could be the problem.  Looking for proof is also up
to the reader so I think I have some work cut out for myself.  I am not
sure how to become more literate on economics other than reading
copiously.  What say you about it all?

I don’t quite understand what the problem is staying logged in as
Synonymos?  Or if you would prefer terry p., I think a letter to the
Webmaster telling him what you would like to do might get you an
easier way to post???  You can use the Contact us feature at the bottom
of every TD page.  Just a suggestion.  I’ll try to remember your two ID’s. 
And I’ll try to respond to your posts as well as I think you make some
keen commentaries.  Problem is I too don’t post as much as I used to. 
Have to be selective.  Much too much to do and have to squeeze my life
into my life.

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By terry p, May 22, 2012 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By John Steinsvold, May 21 at 7:16 pm :

Hi John

please see my earlier 2 posts which you probably missed because of the delay for none registered comments:

By terry p, May 19 at 12:05 pm
and
By terry p, May 20 at 3:21 am

You obviously didn’t read them.

tp:?)

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By terry p, May 22, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Shenonymous, May 21 at 3:41 pm

Thanks She. But I am registered. You remember me! I’m Synonymos. I just don’t reply very often. It is time consuming and usually I don’t attract a lot of conversation anyway. So I usually make my unregistered comment and let it lay unless someone responds to my post, which is rare. I’ve noticed the delay is much longer on the weekends.

Did you ever read “The Web of Debt”? I’m still curious about your take. 

Anyway, it was good talking to you.

tp:?)

PS: I’d still vote for you even though you’re an Obama enthusiast. He promised the world and spent off his supporters like money in an account once he got elected. I don’t think it’s going to be a cake walk this time although he’s a pretty convincing politician. And who in their right mind would vote the alternative. I’m just not that gullible after being burned once. I’ll probably vote Green but might not vote at all because to do so would be to support our corrupt system which is really partyless.

Which means, we are under a dictatorship by the banksters who pay the bills for the politicians. Instead of voting we should support OWS until we make a few changes like Nationalizing the Federal Reserve, prosecuting the banksters, offer free education through at least an associate degree, offer reasonable health care for all, look into nationalizing any corporation that is too big to fail and corporations who monopolize the stock markets unfairly - especially the energy industry. These are a few just off the top of my head. I’d like to see cuts in our military industrial complex and take back the new NDAA laws spying on us all too. ETC… 

my postscript is getting a little mouthy:?) Later She…

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By John Steinsvold, May 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

terry p,

In many respects, our economy will be the same. Our
free enterprise system will remain in place as it is
today; but no money will be exchanged. Profit will no
longer be a factor and cooperation will replace
competition. Government, industry and the people will
work together as a team toward common goals.

The best way to motivate people is to allow them to
do the work they love to do. One of the goals of a
way of life without money is to provide everyone with
the opportunity to find a match between their
abilities and the opportunity to serve society. If
training is necessary, a free education is provided.
Every effort will be made for each individual to find
the work they love doing. There will be no pressure.
I believe everyone has an ability or talent they want
to use for the benefit of society.

Yes, if everyone is free to do their “thing”, how can
we satisfy the labor needs of our country
particularly if shortages exist in various
occupations? However, it takes only a small
percentage of our work force to provide the
necessities and luxuries for the now over 300 million
Americans and that percentage is constantly
decreasing due to automation and advances in
technology.

There are people who love to farm. There are people
who love manufacturing products. There are people who
love being storekeepers and being behind a counter to
serve people. There are people who love to bake.
There are people who love being carpenters, plumbers,
mechanics, farmers and yes, even janitors. There will
be people who love bringing the necessities and
luxuries to your local store so you can help
yourself.

John Steinsvold

The true business of people should be to go back to
school and think about whatever it was they were
thinking about before somebody came along and told
them they had to earn a living.—Elizabeth Barlow

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

terry p, May 20 at 3:21 am it has always been the case that
unregistered commenters’ posts at Truthdig are delayed.  Some-
times up to two days.  But then when they are posted they are
posted at the time of the post so may exist somewhere down the
thread.  Registered members also experience some website prob-
lems such as if posting too soon after an earlier post, an error
message turns up.  Thinking the message was lost, it is reposted,
only then to find that two posts of the same comment shows up!
Double postings happen frequently.  The poster has reacted too
quickly to not seeing his/her comment on the thread and submitted
the comment a second time.  These are website problems that we just
have to live with until the Webcrew figures out how to prevent them. 

You might think about registering as it is still the best way to get a
comment posted sooner, like almost at once, than later.

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By terry p, May 20, 2012 at 4:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess there is no hurry. But, I posted a comment about this time yesterday. It hasn’t appeared yet!
>:?[

John Steinsvold: I wanted to mention that I checked out your website. So, it is only fair that you check out a website that I think is pertinent to this article.  So, if you will there are two to choose from, Ellen’s latest article, which like a continuation of this article, and her Public banking foundation site:
http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/
and/or http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

tp

PS: Read “The Web of Debt” while your waitinK. It is very interestingK’ :?)

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By terry p, May 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By John Steinsvold, May 18 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

“...we, as a
nation and as a people, have the ability to conduct
our internal economic affairs without the need to use
money…”

I feel as though I’m stepping on a trap door! I’m following the rabbit…

First, let’s just say that I agree with you. Now, the first step is to make sure we all have plenty to eat and a place to sleep with a roof over our heads. How do we fill our refrigerators without money? Secondly where do we keep that refrigerator and who is going to just let us have one without exchanging money for it? I know that some people border and have for years but who are they and where are they? I know there are well fare states. But we are talking normal and the vast majority of people. Normally you must pay with money not love, labor or trading eggs for room and board.

So, it is obvious, at least to me, that we need money just to live. We are used to it. It is our system. To get that money we trade, work, live on our pension or the well fare system.

Now it gets political because people who are now fortunate enough to have all the things they need get a little pissed about people less fortunate having all the same things they have without having earned it by working, investing or inheriting. All of a sudden, equality is a dirty word. It’s the stigma of communism all over again. All people are equal to his or her majesties!? The .01%ers (upper classmen) will use their resources to keep their power by convincing the majority of the people not to allow free rides in society by using their austerity measure tools and propaganda machines. That takes lots of money which they have and they use in particular for those purposes.

So, we need, really to make this work, for everybody to be in agreement. Unless you are in power with a lot of resources you will not get far with this no money plan. It will be a real job to convince 150 million working people of the USA to give up what they have earned, inherited or won so far to just let everybody else, who don’t have a pot to piss in, have just as much of the pie as they have!


Although, we are in the beginning stages of revolution. Your idea isn’t really a new one. It really isn’t bad thinking. It’s just not time yet for such a huge jump. At least not in the USA. And really, the USA thinks they have the moral responsibilities to keep that kind of thinking out of the world populations. The US of A labels people terrorist and sends them to Gitmo for less.

Small steps into the future is the only peaceful way. Your system would require a major violent revolution. I don’t think this country, the USA, is as ready as others to make that jump into the future. It is going to take the world to convince the USA to change. That is going to take a while. I hope the environment holds up till then.

Julian Assange is spilling the leaks for people on his program The World Tomorrow with activist about a world without capitalism. In a way he is taking steps that might clear the way for your system. But, mainly he just wants to show just how evil our systems are now through whistle blowers. Hopefully, what ever people do to respond will be better and more positive
than what we have.

As I mentioned earlier I think the focus should be on Nationalizing large Banks to big to fail and their privatizing banksters.

I think you are talking about a fantasy world like Star Trek in the year 2250 when there is no longer a need for money. I like that idea. But, it takes time to build a system like that from the ground up. Humanity has to evolve a little more. In that system you are talking about, probably, no personal property needed or wanted. People are dealt with equally according to individual needs and with their own limitations. They will all have the importunity to learn what they want and work where and how they want. Nice dream.

It is a good dream Captain.  But first let us own the Feds and neuter the banksters.

tp:?)

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By John Steinsvold, May 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

terry p,

Perhaps for the first time in history, we, as a
nation and as a people, have the ability to conduct
our internal economic affairs without the need to use
money. We have the necessary democratic government,
we have the abundant resources, we have the
educational facilities and also the technical
knowledge to do so. In light of what is happening in
our economy today, should we not, at least, explore
this possibility?

John Steinsvold

“The free market is indeed free. It’s free of
responsibility and accountability. Owners are free to
ignore the future, free to act in ways that generate
short term gains for themselves and push long term
costs onto other people, the environment and the
future.”~Lloyd Ireland

Report this

By terry p, May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Steinsvold

——-

Uh! Your joking—- right? You can’t be serious.

I’d suggest you read something but if you believe that this country would ever even think of trashing our money system you wouldn’t be interested in my recommendations. You have to be able to keep record of our efforts.

For example, in the Renascence era there was no money but there was a way to keep track of labor. Those who didn’t have gold used a tally stick. It did work well for labor and trade. But the point is that they kept track. You have to keep track. Money is the way we keep track record now.

Most comments here are made by people who have experienced a problem with our system or have advice. Advice is good. We all learn from each other. We learn by reading comments sometimes. But our problems aren’t going to vanish by getting creative in the comment section.

The student loan problem is really only an example of what happens when government stops working. When government programs become privatized then the people are no longer protected or represented. The most important function of our government, in my opinion, is regulation of money. But when “The Federal Reserve Act” was passed in 1913, it gave away our constitutional right to coin money to private Banks. It will take an act of congress to change that back. 

This author, Ellen Brown, offers alternatives to the powers that be. She isn’t suggesting radical change. Rather she suggests that we use our personal freedom of choice in the kind of bank we use. She suggests support your local public banking for now. If enough people go to public banking it will weaken huge banks that are too big to fail. One day, if enough people evacuate the power banks, we will be able once again to Nationalize the Feds. We can’t even audit them now. They are too powerful and too private. It is obviously not going to be an over night transition.

I think I’ve over stated thoughts. So, I will leave it there.

It was really good to see an Ellen Brown article on Truthdig. I hope to see more!

tp:?I

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By John Steinsvold, May 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism (which will provide a
free higher education for all)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed:
“There is no alternative”. She was referring to
capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still
persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism
for the American people to consider. Please click on
the following link. It will take you to an essay
titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by
the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-
experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and
expecting a different result.”~ Albert Einstein

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By terry p, May 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Great Gazoo, where are you?

Talk about these great ideas of yours. What if education was free for all? No work required. Its only fair. Think of the benefits society would have if only the interested students in the field they desire would be your students. Would that not insure good results for the future of all subjects? It would be cheap compared to war with countries who only want to control their own resources. Think about it. Talk about it.

Where are we now? We have education continued by private employers. Is the education going to be a little warped for the benefits of profit? Not that private enterprise is bad. But, education should be completed in an environment shielded from profit, don’t you think?

We are living on the edge of time, not quite balanced. We are teetering a fall to either side. One side of the edge is a slow challenging recovery. The other side….. well, it is only the end of human kind and the beginning of some new kind. It may be better but it will be hard for me to root or cheer for this new kind. I like humanity. I like us. :?] I don’t want us to die.

It is possible and guaranteed by our own Constitution for us to fund public education and other socially needed programs. We can coin money and set its worth. Private companies didn’t enjoy that privilege until “The Federal Reserve Act” of 1913. We need to stand against that year and revoke the very idea of private individuals making money(actually printing their own) for themselves at our expense.

Greed has its place. Social programs has theirs.

Think about a way that education could be a right—the way health care should be.

If The 12 Federal Reserve Banks belonged to the people it would be, not only possible, but so.

Education is your life. There are multitudes who need your {educational} help.

Look into what nationalizing our Federal Reserve Banks could mean to those who you want to help. The Feds are private enterprises, now. They don’t want to educate but to enslave. :?(

You can help. Promote education by supporting public banking and if possible auditing and nationalizing the Feds!

Check out http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

tp:?)

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By terry p, May 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Elektra123, May 14 at 6:21 am

“...It seems to me that we need to keep spreading the word about the wonders that public banking can do for our communities….”
———————————-

Aman! It is the #1 reason to Occupy Wall Street and spread the word!

tp:?)

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By Elektra123, May 14, 2012 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the biggest well-kept and well-funded secret that nobody talks about, and almost nobody in the corporate-bought media discusses.

Does Congress know that it is given the power by the Constitution to coin money and regulate its value, and that there is no limit established on the face amount of the coins it creates?
Does Congress know that it could re-finance the federal debt through the Federal Reserve, interest-free, and that Canada, by having done this from 1939 to 1974, kept its national debt low and sustainable while funding massive programs including seaways, roadways, pensions, and national health care???
These are all things that we also want and need to do.

I believe that Congress knows we can do this, but it doesn’t serve their greedy interests, and they are purposely NOT doing this. They are paid NOT TO DO THIS, so they can be subsidized by the lobbyists who work for the 1%. The 1% wants the for-profit banks to keep us in debt serfdom through Friedman economics and bank-bought legislators. They want the plutonomy to continue for them, due to their bottomless avarice, and they want the rest of us to serve them, and die off serving them.
We need money, as Ellen has pointed out, to be created by public institutions for the people, the 99%, either by direct issuance or through public banks.

We know who our predatory oppressors are, and how they are sucking the lifeblood our of our economy.  In fact, it seems to be a global phenomenon,
and probably the .01% are behind it.

It seems to me that we need to keep spreading the word about the wonders that public banking can do for our communities.

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By terry p, May 14, 2012 at 6:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By bpawk, May 13 at 2:53 pm

“...why should I pay off my debts when others don’t have to?...”

——————————-
You shouldn’t have to!

Your education should be provided for free by the same money that your debtors created out of thin air.

The main point of this article is, as I’ve already stated, that we don’t need student loans. What we need is a public Banking system which, as a people owned or government owned institution, could offer free education for all as well as health care and other social programs. As Ellen pointed out:

“Estimates are that tuition could be provided free to students for a mere $30 billion annually. The government has the power to find $30 billion—or $300 billion or $3 trillion—in the same place the Federal Reserve found it: it can simply issue the money.”

Ellen Brown, author of this article, is active in trying to make a difference. One of her efforts is her promotion of Public banks at this website: http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

Also she wrote “The Web of Debt” to educate people. It is the ongoing struggle of we the people supposedly in a free society to control our own destiny.

This least you & I could do was read the book. It has inspired me to spread the word.

Go OWS!

tp:?)

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By bpawk, May 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

In the article it states:
“...Over the years I forgot about the loan, dealt with poor health, had brain surgery in 2006 and the collection agents decided to collect for the loan in 2008….”

Sorry Truthdiggers, but I have to shake my head when I read this woman who conveniently ‘forgot’ about the loan is now indignant when told she now has to pay it back - we all have to pay back our debts - does she think by forgetting about it that it will go away? Wow - I wish my debts would go away that easy. This woman is part of the problem just like Wall Streeters - they want to sign away money and then let someone else pay for it. Sorry - but why should I pay off my debts when others don’t have to?

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By americanme, May 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

shenny:

Ask truthdig.

This site has gone to hell and is no longer publishing anything that REALLY rakes the US government over the coals.

Stop drinking the kool-aid.  To do that, you need to recognize it.

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By ghostShrimp, May 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ Troy Davis:

What you said there is the most TRUTH I’ve read in one post.  Well put!

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By Troy Davis, May 13, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

When the greeatest good is deemed to be the maximization of profit under the capitalist economic model with the goal of establishing corporate [fascist] domination of not only America but the entire world, it should surprise no one that the money lenders take over the temple of democracy and corrupt it for their own personal gain.

The only people who will be educated are those who sycophantically serve the Military Industrial Complex [MIC], representing either the progeny of the wealthy elite or those who willing serve the wealthy elite within the context of conversion of democracy into a plutocratic corporate [fascist] state held in power under a militarized police force that oppresses the masses.

That is the vision that was presented to the American people thirty-two years ago at the beginning of the vaunted and now thoroughly disgraced “Reagan Revolution” with its reliance on phonly supply side, trickle down economic voodooism.

We are reaping the harvest of that revolution now and it will only get worse as the rich get richer in their neverending pursuit of profit to appease their God, GREED [Get Rich Eviscerating Everything Democratic].

By the time the American people fully realize what has happened to their constitutional democracy, with the constitution shredded in the false name of “national security”, and individual human and constitutional rights sublimated to the bogus “War on Terror” in the name of “national security” it will already be, if it is not already, a fait accompli.

There are approximately 60 million Americans currently supportive of/reliant on the MIC for their economic viability.

That cabal of fascist enablers and elitists will gladly sacrifice everyone else in pursuit of profit and the establishment, or more accurately the reestablishment of the wealthy elite into absolute power and control of the nations resources, [including human resources] to feed their great God GREED!

Get used to it, because YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!

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By gerard, May 13, 2012 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

What is the total amount oustanding in student loans?
Probably less than money wasted in fighting two months of a “war on terror” somewhere—which is at the same time a war against ourselves (if you consider national needs), a war which also robs the country we’re fighting, and is at the same time a war against the climate of the earth.  STUPID!  Why tolerate it?

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By terry p, May 13, 2012 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The point to this article is that we don’t need student loans. What we need is a public Banking system which could offer free education for all as well as health care. As Ellen pointed out:

“Estimates are that tuition could be provided free to students for a mere $30 billion annually. The government has the power to find $30 billion—or $300 billion or $3 trillion—in the same place the Federal Reserve found it: it can simply issue the money.”

Read “The Web of Debt”

tp:?)

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By Lucretia_Borgia, May 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve never understood why students take on so much in loans. Working and attending part time are always options.

I sit on an executive board that offers a very small scholarship toward tuition; we rarely have applications.

I used to work at USA Group (purchased by SallieMae).  There I learned that for some bizarre reason, people who live in Puerto Rico-a place that is NOT a US state can obtain US backed student loan dollars. 

At the time I worked there, Puerto Rico residents had the highest rate of DEFAULT on student loans.  They were getting US money and not repaying knowing that little would be done to collect the money—unlike the seniors in this article.

Students also don’t understand or are not told about the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loan dollars.  NEVER EVER borrow unsubsidized student loan money.  It begins to accrue interest the minute pen is set to paper. It’s worse than loan sharking.

My own college choice, Berea College, charged no tuition—it never has since it’s inception.  In the US, there are several schools with labor or cooperative programs with little or no tuition.

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By Shenonymous, May 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Surfboy, my apologies.  After re-reading your post, I may have
misunderstood what you were saying.  I’ve not heard that the
student loan providers were competitors for that dollar. Usually
students get government funded loans.  At least that was the
way it was when I got my loan.  No one solicited for me to borrow
from them.  The financial aid department at my university gave me
advice, I qualified for a government loan and did not seek a loan
from a private institution.  Interest rates were high then. 

One thing that did happen and does still I would think, is that loans
are bought by another institution.  It did not happen to my loan but the
conditions of loans could change if another organization takes over the
loan.  I think how and why loans are moved around is something that
needs to be investigated. 

Thanks to having loans, I was able to get a good education all the way
to a terminal degree that provided the means for me to secure a good
professional job.  The benefits will allow me to retire not very wealthy
but adequately to have a decent life.  So I don’t know that I agree with
the petition in the public these days that all student loans ought to be
evaporated by the government.  As a fundamentalist liberal, I believe in
social programs for the underprivileged but I can’t really call myself
underprivileged any more!  Lower interest rates however ought to be
negotiable for those who have student loans.

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By Shenonymous, May 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

americanme, May 12 at 9:13 am - When did Truthdig start receiving
funding from questionable sources?  Who are these sources?

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By Shenonymous, May 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

IMO Surfboy, May 12 at 9:13 am I think you are suffering from some
sort of sour-minded madness.  If you are able to in your condition,
do check out competitors offering psychology counseling services who
might be able to help you, though, as it could save you a buck or two.

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By americanme, May 12, 2012 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

“What’s going on here?”

I think I know—it started when the site began receiving questionable funding.

Now they must abide by the guidelines set down for them by those funders, or close the site.

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By terry p, May 12, 2012 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Kanomi Blake, May 12 at 6:22 am

“I don’t see any hope or light on the horizon. Just a new dark age of barbarism and criminality. Anyone who has a better answer, please I will listen. But I see nothing but blackness and terror and despair ahead. “

——————————-

[:?(]

I can’t disagree with your grim outlook. But, the author of this article is active in trying to make a change. Check this website for details in on public banking which she founded and is Chairman: http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

————-

And to Shenonymous,... Hi She. Did you read the book?

tp
:?)

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By terry p, May 12, 2012 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Exactly!
Great article!
:?)

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By Hmmmmmmmmm, May 12, 2012 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

@Shenonymous

Thanks for trying to help.  I’m not concerned about passing my own student loan debt
to my son.  He is insulated from that and considering that it was taken out during a
time when educational prices were somewhat reasonable, it isn’t too bad.  My student
loan topped out at $18k.  His is going to be over $100k when its all said and done. 
25 year difference in education prices.

What my concern is that we now have student loans for him on the “Parent Plus”
program, that because of my woes with my own student loan had be co-signed by his
grandfather.

So…  I pay on his loan.  If I die, it goes to my father.  If my father and I die,
its now all on my son - even though the loan is in my name with my father’s co-
signature.

Thus, three generations on the hook for two generations of education.

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By Elektra123, May 12, 2012 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the biggest well-kept and well-funded secret, that nobody talks about, and almost nobody in the corporate-bought media discusses.

Does Congress know that it is given the power by the Constitution to coin money and regulate its value,  and that there is no limit established on the face amount of the coins it creates?

Does Congress know that it could re-finance the federal debt through the Federal Reserve, interest-free, and that Canada, by having done this from 1939 to 1974, kept its national debt low and sustainable while funding massive programs including seaways, roadways, pensions, and national health care??? These are all things that we also want and need to do.

I believe that Congress knows we can do this, but it doesn’t serve their greedy interests, and they are purposely NOT doing this. They are paid NOT TO DO THIS, so they can be subsidized by the lobbyists who work for the 1%. The 1% wants the for-profit banks to keep us in debt serfdom through Friedman economics and bank-bought legislators. They want the plutonomy to continue for them, due to their bottomless avarice, and they want the rest of us to serve them, and die off serving them.

We need money, as Ellen has pointed out, to be created by public institutions for the people, the 99%, either by direct issuance or through public banks.

We know who our predatory oppressors are, and how they are sucking the lifeblood out of our economy.  In fact, it seems to be a global phenomenon, and probably the .01% are behind it.

It seems to me that we need to keep spreading the word about the wonders that public banking can do for our communities.

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By Shenonymous, May 12, 2012 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Hmmmmmmmmm, May 12 at 6:06 am – My Sallie Mae student loan
will expire when I expire.  The balance will not be inherited by my
survivors.  Check it out here.

It behooves those who have student loans to stretch them out as
indefinitely as possible by getting deferments and/or recalculation
of payments.  Cancellation of student loan debts is covered on
government funded loans, but may not be if loans are from private
lending companies.  Check out all of the articles at the google search
site noted above.  Also check out refinancing for a lower interest rate. 
Some qualify others don’t.  It might be worthwhile to find out if yours
does.  If there are more than one loan institution involved you might be
able to consolidate them and come up with smaller payments as well. 
Google search “refinancing student loans for lower interest rates” for
more information especially the entry Refinance Student Loans.  For
some odd reason, TD does not allow the webaddress to be posted
here????  I tried twice and both times the post was banned!  I had to
eliminate it.  Yikes!
What’s going on here?

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By blueburner, May 12, 2012 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We all know the govt has the power to forgive these debts, particularly in light
of this huge economic downturn that has incapcitated so many. I mean if you
can forgive the banks and get them out of a mess they created, then why not
bail out the American people—the victims of their malfeasance? 

I believe this relentless hunt for revenue, one that sees garnishing seniors’
checks or taxing citizens’ debt that became uncollectable once they lost jobs, is
really due to the Bush tax cuts which, combined with high un-and
underemployment, has reduced the coffers of the Treasury.

Do you see your elected officials going to bat for you?  No, they are too worried
about billions of dollars of cuts to the military. And Paul Ryan is determined to
garnish your pay even more by simply wiping out the middle class altogether.

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By Kanomi Blake, May 12, 2012 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

You will never understand capitalism if you do not understand organized crime. Shows like The Sopranos make it seem lawless and exciting, and for mafias outside of the Establishment, perhaps it’s accurate however dramatic.

But for the mafias who do run things, the criminal cartels of bankers, student loan usurers, these types of Establishment criminals, they have bought off all the politicians and regulators, made their crimes nice and legal and boring, they get no attention at all.

Yet they are criminals. They are thieves. What other word is there? They steal and force you into slavery so can you continue to pay. They are as bad as pimps. They are straight up criminals.

What is the solution? I don’t see any solution. Non-violent protest? They will crack your skulls and then pretend it didn’t happen. Ravenous criminal power cannot be reasoned with. Violent resistance has no chance because we are in a new age of technical superiority. The elites have all the power. They will create a new feudal age.

The rebels of 1776 had rifles. The enemy also had rifles, but that’s it. The rebels could exert the popular will through rifles. The rebels did not have to fight Stealth fighters and drones and WMD.

I don’t see any hope or light on the horizon. Just a new dark age of barbarism and criminality. Anyone who has a better answer, please I will listen. But I see nothing but blackness and terror and despair ahead.

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By Hmmmmmmmmm, May 12, 2012 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Having seem the practices of educational financial aid solutions first hand and been
involved with it through two generations, I am completely aware that my son or I wont
have any relief from these vicious practices until three generations of my family are
dead.  Its abominable that there are absolutely no consumer protections against these
lenders that we have to go to in order to obtain the education we need to obtain jobs
that pay just enough to keep our heads above water in order to support the economy of
this country.  We have become indentured slaves, nothing less.

I often have a conversation with my son where I remind him that he has more kicking
around money than I do - as in I have none or it comes out of the food budget.  I
have simply become a money conduit.  I don’t even bother trying to think of money in
terms of something I can save or spend on myself anymore.  Its all committed to
others.  My only hope is that I can absorb enough the debt so that it is not passed
on to my son - I know with the student loans, there is no way I can protect him from
that even though the loans are in my name.

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By prisnersdilema, May 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Don’t expect reasoning with them to accomplish anything. Don’t expect logic, or pity, or
prayers to Jesus Christ, or the Virgin Mary, or pictures of the saddest puppy in the world
about to be gassed, because no one would adopt him, at the animal shelter, to make
any dents in their view of the necessity of brutality when facing student loan debtors.

The banks are rich, you are poor, and that’s the way they want it.  They have given lots
of money to Ali Boner and the 50 republican thieves to keep it that way.

So go ahead and cry, go ahead and moan, go ahead and stand on the corner with a
paper bag and beg for the money. Because that’s all your doing is begging. And
begging will not get you nothin.

Heres a thought, instead, find someone whose as pissed as you are, and each of you
find one other, and so on…Maybe you can find a few cops with bad loans, or ones that
got shafted on a house, or a pension….But don’t beg, never beg….

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By tk69, May 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This was done on purpose in order to make a campaign issue out of it.  The banks
are not the ones to blame but it is really government.  After all the point of fannie
mae and fredie mac as well as the financial crises was to expand the money
supply thus creating an economic boom and lots of tax revenue.  It was the
government that let lose the loan standards.  ANd it is government that are using
human pawns all in order to grow government.

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By vector56, May 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

“The plight of the indebted elderly is reminiscent of the Irish immigrants who came to America after a potato famine in the 19th century, who were looked upon in some places as actually lower than slaves. Plantation owners kept their slaves fed, clothed and cared for, because they were valuable property. The Irish were expendable, and they were on their own. “


I agree that the Irish were treated as expendable human waste by the heartless thugs who ran this country, but I would not compare their plight to human slavery. We sometimes under estimate the hopelessness and raw brutality of Slavery.

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By Ernie Messerschmidt, May 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Why would anyone expect the banksters to be humane? It’s not in their nature. They’re in it for maximum extraction of cash, period, and they don’t see people. Education funding is definitely an area where a PUBLIC bank like North Dakota’s would make sense.  It doesn’t need to meet quarterly profit goals or dish out obscene bonuses to management, and has no reason to be predatory or usurious.  Instead, it has a mandate to serve the public,  and does a fine job of it.

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By Poggio Braccolini, May 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article made me fantasize about a crisis in education due to a lack of debt—I tried to imagine what would happen to higher education if students refused to take on debt. Outside of the elite schools enrollments would plummet and many schools would go broke. The students would have an education or jobs, but fewer and fewer can find jobs now anyway and they would be without college debt, maybe just saddled with ordinary debt! But here in the real world that will never happen.

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By The Great Gazoo, May 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am all for education, as I have taught at the university, but there is something to forcing people to invest in their education. It inspires an immediacy to their efforts, and goal orients them. Still, there is no good reason to force such usurious fees and interest rates on individuals. Sane investment in one’s education is the preferable course, in my opinion. Perhaps also a generous program of subsidies for those who are willing to exchange tuition payment loans for future work in public fields that are well needed. Need primary care physicians? Front them the money to go to school and set up a robust quasi-public sector for GPs. Same goes for any other field where the need is great, and the willing discouraged or few.

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By americanme, May 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

More money for your representatives and senators to pay whores with.

While taking away your delicious meals of cat food.

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By gerard, May 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

That “let the good times roll again” phrase is a mistake.  Americans need to get real and live moderately, stop fighting wars, and start taking care of everyone and everything wisely, and planning for a sane future.  Radical ups and downs, and a living style extravagant in the eyes of most of the rest of the world,  creates punishing gaps that separate us from all others—with a few rare exceptioins. Compared to India? Compared to Africa?  Compared to North Korea? To many places in the Middle East? Russia? Eastern Europe? South America?

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By litlpeep, May 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

The US Government has reduced itself to the clerks stealing from the populace on behalf of the kleptocrats who tell them who to hit next and for how much.

Where’s Obama on this?

Where he always is: campaigning to the left, presiding to the right.

With any luck, those clowns (the kleptocrats and their servile government employees, including primarily the ‘elected’ ones) will warm up the whole planet this summer and fall, just in time for the ‘election’ charade.

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