Freedom from Debt:
The New American Dream

January 2, 2013

In this short film, Strike Debt profiles one of millions of American families who are in states of crisis managing their debts to banks, hospitals, credit card companies and student loan providers.


Debtors are individuals, yet many are part of households through which various forms of debt flow. That’s why when individuals owe money to banks, hospitals, credit card companies and student loan providers, the whole family takes the hit.

According to Federal Reserve data, credit card debt totals approximately $860 billion. Student debt has skyrocketed past $1 trillion, as a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau details. Meanwhile, mortgage debt stands at $13 trillion, even after the real estate bubble brought that figure down by over $1 trillion, either because households paid down their debt or lenders wrote it off.

This is a short film about a typical American family under severe debtor duress. The 20th-century American dream was held aloft by a vast updraft of risky loans. The new American dream will be to live free of debt.

12 Responses to “Freedom from Debt:
The New American Dream

  1. Anonymous says:

    I see the family can afford cigarettes….

  2. [...] RT @occupytheory: Freedom from #Debt: The New American Dream | Creative Time Reports http://t.co/BdeOFIi0 #StrikeDebt  [...]

  3. [...] This is a short film about a typical American family under severe debtor duress. The 20th-century American dream was held aloft by a vast updraft of risky loans. The new American Dream will be to live free of debt.  [...]

  4. Thanks for alerting us to this film. Resistance is not futile!

  5. c says:

    how are we supposed to take this kid seriously with that mask over his face?

  6. studio6other says:

    Donate to a “charity” sponsored by Rockefeller, Ford, Bloomberg, et al-? Gee, at least Carnegie left us libraries. Or library buildings.

    For an org purporting to be supportive of the “arts,” your coverage does not compete with the composition, writing, and editing on a similar theme at Al Jazeera:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2013/03/2013311104246641460.html

  7. Hu Flung Poo says:

    This kind of anecdotal crap translating into legislation is what Elizabeth Warren of famous for. She testified, falsely I believe, for the Obmacare initiative, suggesting that 70% of bankruptcies were caused by health care expenses. That is an out and out lie. I can believe that in 70% of chapter 7 cases some medical debt is discharged, but making it the causal factor is not so easy. Like the book she coauthored in 1989 – “As We Forgive our Debtors”, this kind of anecdotal approach allows the protagonist to extrapolate from a handful of cases to some larger assumption about what is wrong with practices in the larger economy and lo!, here is the comprehensive regulatory reform package that will right the wrong.

    I am waiting for it in the area of guaranteed student loans. The Obama Administration has already liberalized loan forgiveness programs. In announcing these programs the administration never mentioned that with guaranteed student loans (federally insured) it is a zero sum game between taxpayers and the borrower. The less you require the borrower to pay back, the greater the burden on the taxpayer.

    I can just see this kind of poster child family being rolled out, along with others like them to pitch fo the forgiveness of student loan debts. Take the burden of these fools so we can spread it among the general taxpayers, many of whom nvere whnt to college…

  8. [...] artist about Tahrir Square, the locus of the Egyptian uprising two years ago, and a short film about family debt in America made by a self-described “debt resistance” art collective with [...]

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