Strategic Plan: 1, 3, 5., 10 Year

Hi Friends, just found you all, thanks for getting this together. I’m in my mid-50’s, striking Student Loans for over 20 years. I was hard core default until last year when I finally consolidated to $0 monthly payments. That’s as far as I want to compromise. However, it’s the IRS back tax debt that I need help with. This debt was created due to stagnant wages/extremely demoralized labor movement coupled with Bay Area gentrification. I’ve got over $10K of self employment back taxes due and a lien that will eventually show up on my credit report. Gentrification makes the credit report imperative whereas before the credit score didn’t prevent me from finding decent housing. Accessing housing, like food should not depend on credit scores! I’ve studied all the avenues for debt forgiveness on both student loan and IRS debt and it’s impossible for almost anyone to get free as it is now. It seems like, for the vast majority, we are stuck paying or stalling. Stalling has been my method for all these years but it has come with heavy psychological costs. Debt creates alienation and isolation over time regardless of education and awareness on the subject. In addition, aging makes a person far more vulnerable and debt compounds that in a myriad of ways. Given no other reasonable choice, I’d like to create a kind of 1, 3, 5, 10 year strategic plan for the safest, most effective method for resisting these debts.


I’m in the same boat. 21 years paying… Just interest on interest for several years. Loan being sold several times. Wages garnished. Denial of appeal even though I was making poverty wages. But I lost my job and I’m on unemployment but next month I start social security. I’ll be below the poverty level until I die so now they can just crawl back in their hole cause they won’t get another dime off me


Hi Laurel,

I really appreciate this post. I have resisted filing taxes for years as a gig worker because I knew I’d never be able to pay them. Now that I lost my job and am trying to apply for unemployment I’m having to tackle them and found out that as I suspected, I am in thousands of dollars of debt. It makes no sense to me that since I can’t afford to pay in a lump sum, I must be subjected to accruing interest on the debt. I feel trapped. I want to resist this debt as well but don’t even know where to begin. I am appreciative of your post for helping me feel less alone in this. I would love to join you in this resistance.

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Good to hear from you April. Trapped is the word for it. Let’s stay in touch. Perhaps we can generate a bigger group working this particular kind of debt. The student loan and consumer debt conversation has expanded a lot over the last 20 years so it may be that the IRS will be up for a similar scrutiny pretty soon. Everybody knows it’s far overdue. And the issue of audimation is soon to push for change in our turely degraded labor force. I know I’m watching carefully the essential workers right now during the Covid lockdown. We have a lot to learn from their strategies and outcomes. So, yes, the issue of back taxes is really about stagnant wages and a predatory labor market. If the IRS was serious about getting their money they should start working with the department of labor on wage growth instead of hunting down gig workers for a couple thousand dollars.

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I’m in the same situation, over fifty with student loan debt over 11,000 dollars because I was in default for over 30 years. I have never received any phone calls from debt collectors until I began researching the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2016. Then I received a phone call from people who claimed to represent Navient. They said if I make three monthly payments totaling, $456.00, I would be eligible for a Consolidation Loan and I would pay $0 a month as long as I reported every year that I am unemployed, with Navient charges me interest every month until the day I die.

Love your story, thanks for sharing. I finally gave up and consolidated last year. Dept of Ed give anyone, no matter income the chance to get on the rolls and get out of default status. They want to be able to say that the system is working by getting everyone on current contracts. It’s the only way they can justify their jobs. Cooperating by consolidating is the signal that you are in the game and that’s all they really want. I consolidated because it put me at too much of a disadvantage at my age. I’ve avoided garnishment all these years but the system is evolving and it’s getting hard to compete with automation in terms of staying under the radar. Social Security garnishment is what I want to avoid in the future so the only way is to be on good terms with The Man.

I was really trepidation to get involved with Dept of Ed but I worked with an amazing woman at the following organization who helped me gain the confidence to deal with the bureaucracy. It ended up being easy. Great Lakes has the best reputation so I went with them. Resist paying anything at the onset. If you are low enough income, they will take you on $0 to start and $0 monthly.
Natalie Lyons

Senior Attorney

Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA)

P.O. Box 29435

Oakland, CA 94604

t: (510) 271-8443, ext. 304

f: (925) 215-1457

Love hearing your story, thanks for sharing. The more we connect about the real consequences this debt has had on our health and our families the better. I was really inspired when I heard about the movement to abolish library fines. The default narrative that libraries need those fines to operate and the basic premise that people should be punished has been debunked. I was shocked to learn of this because I had been brainwashed to believe this ridiculous narrative. All in all, for me it illustrates how we put our public trust into narratives that keep our governmental agencies paternalistic and punitive.