Actually 8.25+ million as I type. The original goal of this #StrikeDebt project -- originated by Occupy Wall Street peeps -- was to raise $50,000 and buy medical debt on the 'collection market.' Since debt on those markets is bought at pennies to the dollar that would yield an estimated $1,000,000 in debt owed that would then be retired without penalty or cost to those who originally and still owed the debt.
Then the idea went viral, tweeted and blogged out across the land, even picked up by the New York Times and now the New Yorker. Almost a week after their telethon on November 15th they have raised more than $412,000, allowing them to retire more than eight million in debt. It is not impossible to envision those numbers reaching $500,000 and $10,000,000 in retired debt before long.
There are trillions of dollars of debt Americans have outstanding (over a trillion in student debt alone); retiring ten million of it is not going to make a dent, that is true.
But the symbolism is as or more important as the boon to those whose debt will be retired. Occupy is credited with having changed the conversation about the wealthiest of Americans and their fair share of taxes; now they are trying to bring that same awareness to a crippling problem that affects many of the ninety-nine percent: continuing crushing medical debt, student debt, mortgage debt and credit card debt all the while those on top had their debts miraculously (or not so miraculously, some would say) forgiven by the United States government.
The message: You are not a loan.
Update: Just tweeted! Great news!
StrikeDebt @StrikeDebtBest Comment (in reference to a medical debt):
Happy #DebtsGiving! Certified letters are being mailed to 80 liberated debtors. Hundreds more to come in the next few weeks.
You are in debt only because you are Americanhttp://www.dailykos.com/...
If you were Israeli, Canadian, French, English, German or Spanish, you would have no debt. Your problem is not that you had medical issues. Your problem is that you live in a country with a completely screwed up health care system that rewards some with seven and eight figure incomes and leaves others to die on the sidewalk.
You are in debt because, nearly unique among societies and tribes generally, you are required to pay for the education you need to become a functioning member of society, and even then, you may not get a job and because to remain a functioning person at all, you have to pay for your all or some of your own overpriced medical care.Update: Ticker now up to almost 8.4 million.