Kaja Robinson is 53 and has a daughter about to go off to college, but she is still embroiled in bizarre, kafkaesque disputes over the $17,000 student loan she took out in the 1980s: for decades, she has had to set aside whole days to call debt collectors and try to get them to acknowledge the payments she's made -- for which she has paperwork, but which the lenders lost track of, causing her loans to balloon to $49,000.
At one point, Robinson was advised to file a lawsuit to clarify the matter, but she lives in Minnesota and the nearest court able to hear such a case in two states away, in Chicago. Instead, she worked out a kind of pro-forma program whereby she made a monthly $5 "good faith" payment, which satisfied the computers that she was not in default, allowing her to repair her credit and get a mortgage.
But Robinson's debts keep getting sold from one debt-buyer to another, as the fly-by-night debt vultures go bankrupt or sell off their "assets" (that is, badly documented, allegedly delinquent loans), and it starts all over again.
Robinson has no end in sight. Her $5/month program has been unilaterally erased by her debt's latest owner, and she's back to spending whole days on hold, waving her stack of yellowing paper receipts at the phone.
Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have promised to erase outstanding student debts if either is elected to the presidency in 2020.
Kaja Robinson can’t forget the hold music at her former debt collection agency’s phone line.
“Oh my God, it's awful,” the 53-year-old said. “I hear it in my head all the time. It's kind of screechy and eerie like a sci-fi movie.”
It’s just one of the stress triggers Robinson has developed in her decades-long dispute over loans she took out as a college student in the late 1980s.
A Minneapolis woman’s ‘bizarre and surreal’ decades-long loan dispute [Cody Nelson/MPR]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Donkey Hotey, CC BY, modified)
Kickstarter's workers have been trying to form a union, and they say that the company fired its most prominent union organizers under the pretense of performance issues, but really in order to get them out of the way and head off the unionization drive.
Rev.com is a "gig economy" audio transcription company that operates under the fiction that its employees are "independent contractors."
After 11 days, Chicago's teacher's strike is at an end, with the city agreeing to the majority of the union's demands, including: higher pay, limits on class sizes, a nurse and social worker in each school, 120 new "equity positions" (librarians, counselors and restorative justice coordinators), bilingual/special ed educators, and five make-up days for teachers […]
Knowledge is power. It’s a cliché, but sometimes things turn into a cliché because they’re true. If you’re making your way through the world of business and entrepreneurship, it only makes sense to read about the insights of people who have climbed that ladder before you. Trouble is, the modern workday doesn’t leave a lot […]
As much as some of us fear the loss of our jobs to robots, there’s one job we’re pretty sure they are welcome to: vacuuming. There’s nothing quite like kicking back and watching a robot vacuum do one of the most time-consuming tasks on the household chore list. And there are few ‘bots that do […]
Got some aches that a lazy rubdown won’t put a dent in? Give your muscles an early Christmas with these massage guns. If you’ve never tried one, they’re all designed to bring deep tissue relief, and they’re all at Black Friday prices now. JAWKU Muscle Blaster V2 Cordless Percussion Massage Gun This cordless massager exerts […]