In Kansas's poor, sick places, hospitals and debt collectors send the ailing to debtor's prison

Kansas is a living laboratory for far-right experimentation with extreme economic cruelty: a state where Medicare expansions were thwarted, where xenophobia has penetrated the state bureaucracy, where a grifty, incompetent lawyer has apologized for slavery and driven women out of his own party, even as neighboring states thrive by tending to the needs of working people, rather than the super-rich. Read the rest

Even if you pay off your student loan, be prepared to spend decades trying to get bottom-feeding debt-buyers to acknowledge it

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. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders promises to zero out all US medical debt and end medical bankruptcies

Bernie Sanders has pledged to eliminate the $81b in outstanding US medical debt if he is elected president in 2020. Read the rest

Danish banks will pay you to borrow money from them

10-year mortgage interest rates in Denmark have hit -0.5% -- that is, the bank will pay to you borrow money. 20 year loans? Zero interest. 30 year loans now at 0.5% are headed negative. Translation: some people with a LOT of money think that we're heading for a depression so ferocious that they'll loan you money for 30 years at only 0.5%, just to lock in some kind of return during the decades-long bloodbath they foretell. (Image: Jimmy Baikovicius, CC BY-SA,modified) (Thanks, Kathy Padilla!) Read the rest

High art subprime: borrowing on private art collections surges into billions

The international art market is a looter's go-to gambit for grifting their money out of their national borders and getting it into a no-man's land out of reach of every tax authority in the world, but it is also stubbornly illiquid, because selling your Picasso takes a ridiculously long time. Read the rest

How Memphis's Methodist University Hospital, a "nonprofit," sued the shit out of its Black, poor patients while raking in millions and paying execs more than a million each

Methodist University Hospital in Memphis is a nonprofit: it pays virtually no local, state or federal tax; but unlike other Methodist hospitals, Methodist University Hospital is relentless in pursuing medical debts from indigent patients. The hospital owns its own collection agency, and is one of the leading litigants in Tennessee's debt courts. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders will use a tax on Wall Street speculators to wipe out $1.6 trillion in US student debt

Bernie Sanders's latest campaign promise is a proposal to forgive all outstanding US student debt, and raising the $2.2 trillion needed over a decade to make lenders whole by taxing Wall Street speculators with a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. Read the rest

Reverse mortgages: subprime's "stealth aftershock" that is costing elderly African-Americans their family homes

Reverse mortgages -- complex home loans -- are aggressively marketed to elderly people, especially in African-American neighborhoods, using deceptive tactics that offer false promised to "eliminate monthly payments permanently" with "a risk-free way of being able to access home equity." Read the rest

Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they're working

A new study from the United Way claims that 43% of American households are in a status called "asset limited, income constrained, employed" (ALICE), which denotes employed people who can't afford housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone -- the basics of modern living. Read the rest

Profiles of young Americans who entered voluntary exile rather than paying their student loans

CNBC profiles a small handful of young Americans who have moved abroad and ceased payments on their student debt, relying on international borders to protect them from their edu-creditors. Read the rest

That billionaire who paid off a graduating class's student loans also supports the hedge-fundie's favorite tax loophole

Billionaire Goldman Sachs alum Robert F Smith made headlines when he donated enough cash to pay off the student loan debt of the entire Class of 2019 at Morehouse College; but Smith is also an ardent supporter of the carried interest tax loophole, which allows the richest people in America to pay little to no tax on the bulk of their earnings, while working Americans (like the Morehouse Class of 2019 will be, shortly) pay their fair share. Read the rest

A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

Sanders and AOC team up for an anti-loansharking bill that will replace payday lenders with post-office banking

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jointly introduced The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which will cap credit card interest rates at 15% (and closes the loopholes that lets credit card issuers exceed their stated APRs with the use of hidden fees) and which re-establishes American post-office banking. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren proposes debt relief for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has endured decades of looting and austerity from the finance sector who then used the pretense of Hurricane Maria to impose radical financial policies on the island, dismantling the statistics agency that would track how those reforms punished the people of Puerto Rico, while filling the streets with armed, anonymous mercenaries. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

The two hidden intellectual moves behind the "progressive" argument against free college

Pete Buttigieg is one of the prominent members of the progressive wing of the Democratic party who opposes free college tuition, on the ground that the "benefits" of college accrue to those who attain a degree and that it's unfair to ask the majority, who don't attend college, to subsidize the minority who do. Read the rest

China's "pawn shops" have loaned $43B, mostly secured by real-estate

In reports of China's looming debt crisis, it's common to see references to the "shadow finance" or "shadow banking" system, but it's not always clear what these terms mean. Read the rest

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