Saturday, July 2, 2011

To The Mule Who Keeps Suggesting I Work For The Banks

Copyright Notice: If you are not reading this at All Education Matters, and unless I've explicitly given an individual or entity permission to publish my work, this post has been illegally appropriated. Please read original content here

If you have heard problematic claims made about my character, please feel free to email me about it (ccrynjohannnsen AT gmail DOT com) and avoid feeding the trolls.

My work continues as an advocate for the indentured educated class, but AEM is over. I am presently regrouping and trying to determine the next steps that will enable me to fight more effectively for those of us who have no voice in D.C. At the moment, however, I am struggling myself. The so-called 'leaders' of this cause continue to degrade one another. It is pathetic and infuriating. Some of them are out, so it seems, for their own selfish gain, while others are deluded in thinking that their solution is the only one that matters. If you are not on board with them, you are obviously against them. In my case, I apparently work for the banks. That's why I went to South Korea! Because I am a thief and a fraud, and have profited from student debtors. Yup. That's what some stubborn mule keeps saying behind my back via email. Of course, that's not true.

I made a difficult decision to leave a decent job with a publisher to throw myself into this work. After struggling to find a job in D.C., I made another hard decision, to leave the country for work. As many of you know, I continued to advocate and write about the student lending crisis while living in South Korea. I was a teacher there. It was tremendously rewarding. Even though I straddled two time zones, I made it work. Now I am back and finding it hard to make a living as a freelance writer. I would teach and have thought about getting licensure, but what would be the point of that? After all, thousands and thousands of teachers are being laid off across the country. I suppose I could say that I have been lucky because I've actually had some promising interviews. But these have turned out to be disappointing. One job had the audacity to put me off for two months on a decision, while taking advantage of my labor for free. That is unethical and disgusting. For the time being, I am destitute, like the thousands and thousands of debtors whom I support. I listen to their stories every day, because it matters. It matters because no one else bothers to listen to us. It matters because it shows that someone in this imploding Empire still gives a shit.

But enough about me. I'll be fine. I'm tough. I've survived trauma that most cannot even imagine. I'm a fighter, as my favorite priest told me. Indeed. I've been through the worst. This shit is nothing.

I do wish to clear the air about the absurd suggestion that I have (a) worked for a bank or (b) work for a bank. (Those of you who have been told that I am fraud . . . well, it's up to you to decide whether or not that is true. First off, consider the source, especially when it's a bloviating, self-promoting twat).

I was recently attacked on my position on restoring bankruptcy protection rights for student debtors. I mean, it's really obvious that I would 'not' be in favor of it! I mean, I have dedicated my professional life to advocating for student loan debtors, so clearly I would not be in favor of such a measure. If you are to conclude that, I suggest you seek immediate medial help. Because I am OBVIOUSLY in favor, as I have stated COUNTLESS times, of seeing that restored. Duh.

I said as much here:

It's a no-brainer that consumer protection rights should be restored to student borrowers. That was something I spoke to about with a Congressman when I was last in D.C., and something I've written about time and time again.

BUT . . . that is NOT the only solution. And those who think that it will be the one-fix trick to the student lending crisis are deluding themselves. Anyone who has followed the problem understands that no single solution will put an end to this huge crisis. Should debtors be able to include their loans when declaring bankruptcy? Absolutely! But is it the end-all solution? Nope. Not even a little bit. 

That's the truncated response. If you wish to read the entire exchange, just click on the link above.

Here's what the stubborn mule had to say in response:

Cryn tepidly states that bankruptcy protections should be restored ("absolutely!"), and then proceed to do everything possible to discredit the value of it, both to the citizens it directly affects, and more importantly to the system generally (it is not the be-all end all...not even by a little bit, etc.).
Is Cryn on the payroll of an organization that is against bankruptcy protections or something. Not understanding. She bad mouths the notion of returning bankruptcy protections, badmouths those fighting for it, but doesn't support her claims...not even a little bit!
Name two problems with the Higher Ed system that returning bankruptcy protections WILL NOT FIX, Cryn. If you believe what you claim, then you should easily be able to point out two things, if not a dozen. Just name two. 

 I had no idea mules possessed the ability to mock. Mules surprise me on a regular basis!  I am also at a loss to understand the claim that I 'badmouth' those who are fighting for this . . . I am in FULL support of restoring bankruptcy protection rights. I have a hunch that the mule who wrote this comment knows me and has a personal axe to grind. But instead of coming to me directly, they like to be secretive and back-biting. They like to lurk in shadows and send out defamatory comments. This type of activity is deplorable. Sure, it pisses me off. But that's not why it's so despicable. When those on the same side do such things, they undermine the entire movement. That is why I do not respond to their rants, their demand for answers on obvious topics, and so forth.

One reader in this this whole debate had some great insights about the fact that restoring bankruptcy rights will not be a one fix trick (as I already stated). Rest assured, bankruptcy protection rights should be reinstated. 

But let's hear how the reader, Mr. Crankypants, analyzed the issue:

I don't think Cryn should deign to respond to your trolling, but I will.

"Is Cryn on the payroll of an organization that is against bankruptcy protections or something. Not understanding." I'm not understanding, either. Is that a question or a statement?
"She bad mouths the notion of returning bankruptcy protections, badmouths those fighting for it, but doesn't support her claims...not even a little bit!" Really? I read her stuff pretty regularly, and I have yet to see her badmouth the return of bankruptcy protections, and I've never seen her badmouth ANYONE who is fighting to help student loan debtors. Now it's your turn to back up your statements, Senor Trollskin.
"Name two problems with the Higher Ed system that returning bankruptcy protections WILL NOT FIX, Cryn." Things I've learned from reading Cryn's blog, or from reading the articles she links here:
1. Tuition rate increases started outpacing cost of living increases in the 1990s, a good 10 years before private loan bankruptcy protections (BP) were taken away (2005), and almost 20 after federal loan BP were lost (1978). So there's no causal connection between exorbitant tuition rates and the loss of BP. So fine, return BP (and yeah, nimrod, it's self-evident this should happen for a number of reasons, and the fact that you're harping on this issue shows how desperately you're grasping at straws), but that won't solve the corporatizing of higher education, where playgrounds and posh accommodations (the costs of which are foisted upon the "consumer") are driving students further into debt. And guess what, dingleberry? The total federal debt burden a person can accrue is upwards of $130k, which wouldn't be dischargeable if 2005 were undone. That still leaves people in a deep hole, and doesn't encourage universities to keep their costs down. Even restoring BP to people with federal loan debt (something that NO ONE is seriously considering) won't keep university admins in line unless there are additional pressures from ED to lower tuition rates.
2. Reversing 2005 would definitely be a boon to anyone with defaulted private student loan debt, and would take a bite out of that market that everyone (well, except for the industry and the politicians that profit from it) would love to see. But federal debt would still be on the books, and with orgs like Sallie Mae managing hundreds of millions of $ of that debt, i.e., still making money off the gov, there's no incentive to work with borrowers to keep debt manageable or even get it paid off.
3. Believe it or not, Mr. Narcissism, not everyone sees declaring bankruptcy as the magic bullet that you apparently do. Some people simply won't do it, for a variety of reasons. I, for example, would love to see BP restored simply to put the fear of God and the law back into the lending industry, but I wouldn't take advantage of it for personal and business reasons, and I'm sure there are thousands out there that feel the same way. But I personally think, and it seems Cryn does as well, that those people also deserve help. They deserve reforms not related to the restoration of BP that will allow them to pay back their debt under reasonable conditions. And perhaps you think that simply restoring BP across the board would cause favorable conditions to naturally accrue, giving such folks leverage against their lenders, even if they never intended to actually file. Well, that's worked really well in the mortgage industry, hasn't it? You can't assume that the threat of bankruptcy is enough to make lenders flexible and responsive to borrowers' conditions. That's an awefully naive laissez-faire position (if it is, indeed, your position).
4. How would restoring BP minimize the disgusting prevalence (and nauseating profitability) of the for-profit education sector? Those schools can still sell their snake-oil degrees, put their $100s of millions of profits (from student loans) in the bank, and then sit back and watch as their students go bankrupt. Okay, the student can at least discharge the debt, but now they've got ruined credit and few job prospects. So now Johnny Buy-a-lambskin gets a rare job interview. And does really well! But his prospective employer calls him the next day: "Sorry, we ran a credit check, and unfortunately we can't hire you." The same goes for folks wanting to go into public- or private-sector jobs that require background checks or security clearance (this last point is part-and-parcel of #3 above). Well, you might say, lenders would be more hesitant to lend to students at such schools because of the default/bankruptcy rate. But again, lending started to spike, and private lending ballooned, well before 2005, so we can't make assumptions about the behavior of banks/lenders should BP be restored. It doesn't guarantee, EVEN A LITTLE BIT, that students won't still be screwed by the for-profit educational industry.
I think that's a pretty good start, and I've already spent enough time responding to a troll. If, on the off chance, you're not some industry hack trying to sow discord, maybe instead of dragging Cryn down you should respect other points of view, particularly ones that are fighting the same fight you presumably are.
But seriously, "is Cryn on the payroll...." Laughable, just laughable. 

I hope readers have noted that I have made a point to not list any specific names of people (those who have smeared my name, on the other hand, have not been so kind; indeed, I've seen their remarks on public forums, and it appears they relish the ability to tear me to shreds in this manner). I think that is wrong and also detracts from the point of my work (and their own, even if they have determined that I am an enemy, and God only knows why, but I do have some theories .  . .)


Liz said...

Wow - I missed a lot while I was moving during the last few weeks. Best of luck to you, Cryn.

It's sad when people seem determined to tear up their own side more than the other. Focus all that energy on the banks, Mr. Mule, not on someone who's trying to give you information. I don't know what you think you're accomplishing by yelling at someone who's close to what you want, but doesn't 100% share your every opinion, rather than, just for starters, the ABA, NALP, the schools, the lobby that's trying to kill consumer protections, the elected officials who made the mess, and, I dunno, maybe even fire off a letter of complaint to Sallie Mae. You appear to have the time...

Anonymous said...


I could say a lot in response, but all I really want to say again is...

Who Loves You Baby?

And if you reply that it is anyone else but me, I will be extremely Jealous!

Matt J Stannard said...

Anyone in the debt advocacy movement who personally attacks people (as opposed to debating proposals or ideas, a different and essential part of the struggle) has their priorities misplaced and should consider just chilling out and working on constructive solutions. That just seems simple and plain as day.

Unknown said...

There seem to be quite a few shit-disturbers lurking around these blogs recently. And, by shit-disturbers, I mean that they're pretty much just trolling for a reaction. I don't know why. Probably best just to ignore them and move on. I wouldn't take them seriously.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@None - I wish these folks were just 'shit disturbers.' Unfortunately, they are not. That's why I wrote this piece. My name has been trashed and that information has been passed to thousands of people.

Anonymous said...

The idea that you work for the banks really is ridiculous if a person bothers to read your work on a regular basis. I wish this critic respected the opinions of other people without attacking. It's a shame. It is better if we can work together. I know you help a a lot of people, and will continue to. BP is just a start. To me, it seems like an essential starting point, but by no means will fix the problem all together.

Anonymous said...

This could be a bankster protecting his SLABS investment.

Steven S. Mellnick said...

Haters are going to hate. Your work, words, and actions on behalf of student borrowers speaks volumes.

Keep up the great work!

Unknown said...


All of that mud slinging is just dreadful. Keep your head up.