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Why Elon Musk Gets to Waste $13 Billion in Loans and You Don’t, with Charles Khan

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Indebted - Debt and Race in America
Indebted - Debt and Race in America
Why Elon Musk Gets to Waste $13 Billion in Loans and You Don't, with Charles Khan

The “world’s richest man,” Elon Musk, purchased Twitter (since renamed X) for $44 billion in 2022. It’s estimated he holds $13 billion of that amount as debt from bank and other loans, a sum the average working class person would obviously face severe repercussions for. He didn’t have the liquid cash for the purchase and the company only generated $4 billion in revenue in 2022, but he was given loans to make the purchase anyway. The site’s always been a long way from seeing a profit, and is in a worse position since Musk’s takeover. There’s no sign of it earning the revenue necessary to pay off the debts he has incurred. So what’s the deal? Why is there a separate set of rules for the rich when it comes to debt? And how do we fight to make these rules more equitable and hold wealthy mega-debtors accountable?

In this episode, Maurice talks with Charles Khan, an organizer with Hedge Clippers, a national campaign focused on unmasking the dark money schemes and strategies the billionaire elite uses to expand their wealth, consolidate power and obscure accountability for their misdeeds. Maurice and Charles explore the commonality of such deals for the wealthy by looking at the history of leveraged buyouts (LBOs), and discuss how we can organize to push back against this separate set of rules for the elite.

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[00:00:00] Maurice BP-Weeks: So I’m going to flip the show on its head a little bit. We’ve spent every week of the show diving deep into black people’s specific structural issues with debt. Today, we’re going to take a peek at the other side. Yeah, there’s another side.

[00:00:14] Consider something like Twitter. And I’ll say here that I feel a small journalistic obligation to mention that Twitter is now officially called X. Although, I feel an even greater obligation to myself to continue to call it Twitter. I’ve [00:00:30] been addicted to Twitter for a really long time. I have no problem admitting that.

[00:00:35] I’m on it every day. Some of it is for quote unquote work, but honestly I’m just addicted. I love seeing what people are up to and getting news in real time. It’s a really useful space. It’s also most commonly and accurately described as a hellscape. Bad opinions and stupid arguments get elevated to everyone’s screens.

[00:00:57] Everyone gets a lot meaner and snippier. [00:01:00] It’s a hellscape, but it’s my hellscape. So this news hit me particularly hard. Elon Musk has now 

[00:01:07] Sound on Tape: completed his 44 billion deal to buy Twitter after months of legal battles, and he’s changed his own Twitter title 

[00:01:14] Maurice BP-Weeks: to Chief Twitch. I’m not a fan of most billionaires, as you may imagine, and most certainly not a fan of Elon Musk, one of the people who most adds to the hellscape nature of Twitter.

[00:01:25] When I was listening to this story and contemplating what it meant for my Twitter addiction, I [00:01:30] noticed one thing. But also 

[00:01:32] Sound on Tape: his purchase of Twitter, I think effectively he’s bought the largest credit card in the world. Uh, saddled himself with a debt of 13 billion and an income of 2 billion from, on Twitter itself.

[00:01:42] So it’s, it’s gonna be tough in the future 

[00:01:44] Maurice BP-Weeks: too. So Elon was the richest man in the world at the time, but instead of buying Twitter outright, he basically went in debt? He’s still rich as can be, so what’s going on? Why are rich people using debt to [00:02:00] buy things they already have money for? Or do they not really have the money?

[00:02:04] Something fishy is going on here.

[00:02:18] Welcome to episode seven of Indebted, a podcast about debt and race in America. I’m your host, Maurice BP Weeks, a lifelong economic and racial justice organizer. Each episode, we tackle a different [00:02:30] aspect of debt, exploring how it works and why it spells bad news for black people and our entire economy.

[00:02:36] Today, while I’d love to spend this entire episode talking about Twitter, we’re talking more broadly about rich people using debt to their advantage. Let’s get 

[00:02:45] into it.

[00:02:50] Okay, so the Twitter saga is pretty confusing, like everything Elon Musk touches, but three letters can help explain it. L [00:03:00] B O. Okay. LBO stands for Leveraged Buyout, which is a slightly complicated financial instrument, but most known for its use in hostile takeovers. Here’s a pretty famous example. So famous, it was actually the plot of a movie called Barbarians at the Gate.

[00:03:17] As a side note, I’d recommend that movie if you like early 90s movies that are so bad, they’re good. James Garner, Rita Wilson, love it. Now after a great deal of study, 

[00:03:27] Sound on Tape: after exploring every conceivable [00:03:30] option, we feel that the best possible way, the only way, to recognize those values is through a leveraged buyout.

[00:03:40] Well, that’s awfully radical, isn’t it, Ross? The wolf isn’t exactly at the door around here. I’m not pushing the panic button, Vernon. I’m simply offering it as the one option that best looks after our 

[00:03:52] Maurice BP-Weeks: shareholders. Anyways, back in 1985, an enormous merger occurred that saw [00:04:00] Nabisco, the snacking company that made Oreos and Chips Ahoy, merge with R.

[00:04:04] J. Reynolds, a tobacco company. It’s weird. I mean, usually when you hear about mergers, the companies are related and the merger is to grab more market share or get rid of a competitor or something. But in this case, it wasn’t like Google buying YouTube. This would be more like Google buying, like, Chipotle or something.

[00:04:26] Despite the odd coupling, it was record setting at the time. Nearly [00:04:30] 5 billion. That record has since been incredibly smashed. The merger formed RJR Nabisco. Immediately after the merger, things became a disaster. The board was fighting with itself. The executives were fighting with each other. Executives were fighting with the board.

[00:04:49] Total mess. If 

[00:04:50] Sound on Tape: Henry Kravis was CEO of any other company in the country except his own, they’d put him in a straitjacket! They’d 

[00:04:59] take him away in a [00:05:00] rubber limo! Henry Kravis pays out these incredible 

[00:05:03] sums because his money 

[00:05:04] is 

[00:05:04] all junk bond crap. It’s phony! He’s phony! 

[00:05:09] Maurice BP-Weeks: On top of that, the stock market took a huge hit in 1987.

[00:05:13] That really was a knockout blow for RJR Nabisco. The company was basically in the toilet. The potential of the company, despite its bad position, caught the eye of a private equity firm, KKR, or Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts. It’s possible [00:05:30] you’ve never heard of KKR, and that’s how they won it. They basically only exist to do what they did to RJR Nabisco.

[00:05:37] They aggressively gained control of the company and then put together a financial plan that would buy all of the remaining shares using a tremendous amount of debt. Only KKR wouldn’t be responsible for paying the bank that lent the money. RJR Nabisco would be. KKR would be in charge of the company and have the ability to slash payroll, sell parts of [00:06:00] the business, change the nature of the company, fire executives, all things that they ended up doing.

[00:06:05] But KKR didn’t spend a dime or go into any debt. R. J. R. Nabisco went into 25 billion worth of debt with the bank, and the bank used R. J. R. Nabisco’s assets as collateral. This, over the course of the next 10 years, led to huge changes at the company. KKR made a ton of money off the profit and its eventual sale, but didn’t have [00:06:30] to take any of the risks.

[00:06:32] If this sounds like some loophole way to get free money, I mean, it kind of is. But only for the wealthiest of investors. They’re able to use this debt to double or triple their returns. And the only ones who are at risk are workers and smaller investors. This is 100 percent legal. And while this RJR Nabisco story is one of the worst, LBOs still happen today and their structure is pretty much the same.[00:07:00] 

[00:07:00] In fact, that’s exactly what Elon Musk did to my beloved hellscape of Twitter. Private equity firms like KKR focus on LBOs and other strategies. But that’s just one type of Wall Street firm that uses clever financial tricks to make money. The tricks themselves may vary, but they all have the goal of manipulating the economy, often using debt, to further enrich an already wealthy group of people at the expense of others.

[00:07:26] Years ago, I was part of a small crew of people involved with an org [00:07:30] called Hedge Clippers. We’ll link to the Hedge Clippers site in the show notes. Hedge Clippers had a focus on these types of firms and the individuals who ran them. Everything from hedge funds to private equity to just really politically aggressive billionaires.

[00:07:44] Hedge Clippers wasn’t just about analysis of these things, but also about putting people into action. I called up one of my friends from the original Hedge Clippers crew to talk about this issue more and how we can change it. 

[00:07:55] Charles Khan: Hey, good to be with you, Mo. Charles Kahn, living in [00:08:00] Brooklyn. The deputy director.

[00:08:02] at the Strong Economy for All Coalition. It’s a labor community coalition in New York. We do a bunch of work around Wall Street, around taxes, around state budgets, around economic justice. 

[00:08:15] Maurice BP-Weeks: Bunch of awesome work and we’ve known each other through Wall Street work for, I actually don’t even want to calculate how long, it’s gonna be really depressing.

[00:08:24] Probably 10 years at this point. Yeah, it’s been a minute. Yeah. 

[00:08:27] Charles Khan: Maybe not 10, but close. 

[00:08:29] Maurice BP-Weeks: Yeah, [00:08:30] yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Long time. Um, I’m actually wondering if you could tell. Tell us how you like got into this work. How’d you get into like economic justice, like going after rich people work? 

[00:08:42] Charles Khan: Yeah. Um, I graduated college 2010, the economy was kind of shitty and it sort of focused my mind on how the way the economy is structured is not a good reflection.

[00:08:57] Of whether or not people have [00:09:00] skills or talent, or there’s something that they can do, um, to be successful. And so, when I got into organizing, that’s where my interest was, and the first campaign I worked on that I can remember is one of the early stages of Fight for 15. So before it was big and national, when it was just in New York.

[00:09:17] But at some point I started thinking about how decisions are made, who has power a little bit differently. And that led me to focus a lot more on Wall Street because what I saw in New York state government and what I’ve seen across the country [00:09:30] is that oftentimes a very small number of people that have an extraordinary amount of wealth, usually from Wall Street, um, sort of activities that have.

[00:09:42] An incredible amount of influence on what decisions, um, happen at the state level. It’s also happened in New York and we started looking at who the governor, who state representatives were taking donations from, who the opposition think tanks were funded by. We were sort of led to this [00:10:00] like legion of doom type set of characters that were really pulling a lot of strings.

[00:10:06] And when we started thinking about our campaigns differently and how to. those individuals. We started to see a different set of wins and opened up a new set of possibilities. Um, and so, you know, once I sort of opened Pandora’s box that, you know, I’ve sort of stuck with it ever since. 

[00:10:25] Maurice BP-Weeks: Yeah, this is, as you were saying this, I’m, uh, uh, rush of [00:10:30] hedge Clippers actions were popping into my mind visuals from them.

[00:10:35] And we mentioned, uh, hedge Clippers earlier in this episode, but I’m wondering if you could. Tell us what it is and why 

[00:10:43] Charles Khan: it exists. Yeah, hedge clippers, that was really how I got into doing more Wall Street work, specifically like private equity and hedge funds, as opposed to like Wall Street banks. [00:11:00] And going back to what I said before, when we looked at New York, just New York, um, and looked at the players that were making the biggest donations, making, you know, the, the biggest, had the biggest influence, they were really wealthy people, obviously, but they weren’t really bankers, they were hedge fund owners, very specific.

[00:11:22] It was like a very, very specific group of people that were very, very politically active. And so. [00:11:30] In New York, we’re like, we need to go after hedge funds, but what we saw the most basic research is that what they were doing in New York, they were doing across the country. And so folks like yourself, sort of others that we had sort of come across doing campaigns said, look, if we rethink the power map and sort of put hedge fund managers at the top, what type of possibility is that open for us?

[00:11:55] How can we tell the story of. How hedge [00:12:00] funds, um, sort of enrich a small number of people, um, based on lies based on the destruction of jobs and destruction of services, the exploitation of government. How can we tell that story? Not just from a sort of. wonky finance academic standpoint, how can we tell the story of the actual destruction and harm that’s happening to regular people?

[00:12:26] How can we mount pressure against those [00:12:30] targets both in a digital sense through articles and through different types of media, but also in like a physical direct action sense? How can we do that in a way that helps to win the issues that we, that they have been a robot for? And so that’s how Hedge Flipper started.

[00:12:46] We did a lot of actions in a lot of places I have, would never have imagined myself to be. You know, mansions in the Hamptons, you know, the Waldorf Astoria, um, [00:13:00] Cipriani’s and Fentz, you know, the Ralph Lauren restaurant. I’ve definitely got a bird’s eye view of all the glitz and glamour in 

[00:13:09] Maurice BP-Weeks: New York. If that isn’t an ad for becoming a corporate Campaigner.

[00:13:13] I don’t know what it is. See the world, kids. You can go to all these restaurants. Go to, you can go to the Hamptons. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place. All you got to do is disrupt a cocktail hour that’s happening on the beach. 

[00:13:26] Charles Khan: Yeah, 

[00:13:28] Maurice BP-Weeks: yeah, yeah.[00:13:30] 

[00:13:32] Sound on Tape: Hi, this is Kayden, the publisher of Convergence magazine. There are a lot of places that you can put your hard earned money in support of our movements. But if you’re enjoying this show, I hope you’ll consider subscribing. to Convergence on Patreon. We’re a small, independent operation and rely heavily on our readers and listeners like you to support our work.

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[00:14:17] Maurice BP-Weeks: So I’m wondering, you know, specifically how, in your view, like these firms. Lead to worse, like racial justice [00:14:30] outcomes. I, it sounds like there’s, you know, these firms are both financial, but they use a tremendous amount of political influence to get what they want. And usually when that kind of thing is happening, it’s in a way that’s screwing over black folks and brown folks.

[00:14:47] And I’m wondering if that’s true here. 

[00:14:49] Charles Khan: Yeah, I would say that it’s true. I think that, um. Especially in America, like any institution that [00:15:00] is trying to wield political power is utilizing race, whether it’s explicit or implicit. Um, it’s America, like race really is in the foundation. You know, it was mixed into the SMET.

[00:15:14] And, um, I think what, what I saw with hedge funds sort of varied from issue to issue. But typically. Those hedge funds, a lot of their projects for [00:15:30] services that they were looking to cut, right? Because I think under this very specific deals, they may go after a business like Toys R Us, right? That impacts a lot of different people, but they can also go after like a coal mine in West Virginia and destroy it.

[00:15:44] And it’s West Virginia. Maybe no black people work there, right? But what you saw from the hedge funds is that their business plays sometimes were very racially. Charged, but their political plays were almost all always racially charged, right? The, cause [00:16:00] the political thing they were pushing for were fighting the minimum wage, right?

[00:16:05] Because these workers. They, you know, they’re low skilled and they just need to work their way up, you know, cutting, uh, services, you know, that, that sort of folks, particularly folks of color depend on to try and sort of claw their way out of the institutional oppressions that like they’re facing. You know, [00:16:30] spending less money on health care, right?

[00:16:31] And all of these things to sort of protect their wealth from being taxed. Also many of these things so that they can create a more precarious work life in the United States where they can leverage even more power, right? Because so much of their power is based on being able to. Take more from workers whether it’s through taking it through their pension, right that they increasingly depend on because [00:17:00] you know The wages are low and prices are high across the board if it’s pillaging workers through actually taking over where they work and just trying to cut their benefits, right?

[00:17:12] There are many, many pensions that sort of go perpetually underfunded in part because, you know, when hedge funds take over or private equity takes over, you know, they’re not They know that they can get away with not putting money in there and they can pull money out and leave before the bill comes due.

[00:17:29] I [00:17:30] think we saw, it’s sort of mixed and very, very nuanced, but I think from the hedge funds and the institutions they fund, there were definitely a lot of racism. You know, I, there were hedge fund managers in New York that based on party leadership questions, compared Folks to the KKK, right? There was a rich white guy from that called the black woman worse than the KKK for the black community, right?

[00:17:54] Because he wanted more money into charter schools. And, you know, [00:18:00] the elected leader was a, you know, big proponent of public schools. And so, yeah, no, it’s there 

[00:18:05] Maurice BP-Weeks: for sure. I’m glad you brought up Toys R Us because I, one of the other things we talked about in this episode was leverage buyouts and like how these firms will kind of swoop in and Take something that could be something that’s totally beloved like Toys R Us.

[00:18:21] I mean like who’s against toys, you know and Really almost overnight like destroys it and [00:18:30] shuts it down and walks away With a ton of money in the process and I know that you you’ve you’ve talked to some of the folks who? Who were a part of that campaign like on the worker side? Um, Yeah, like, uh, like, how, how are workers involved in this, and what do you hear from workers in like, situations like the Toys R Us situation?

[00:18:50] Charles Khan: Yeah. So I think typically workers are on the receiving end, right? From private equity, from Wall [00:19:00] Street, from hedge funds. And it’s not always clear what options they have to fight back. And I think those typically make the best hedge fund targets, right? They’re looking for companies that have some real estate, right?

[00:19:14] That have some cash on hand. And that don’t have a well organized workforce, right? So the involvement of workers is usually just like getting pink slips, right? Yeah. And, but I think in those scenarios that are [00:19:30] actually becoming more and more common, um, in part because of sort of. How it’s become more clear how finance how Wall Street really impacts workers, and I think they American public really don’t like them as much as there’s like a sort of weird love of billionaires in the United States They don’t like bullshit billionaires like people.

[00:19:52] Yeah. Yeah, I want to invent something and become a billionaire They’re not like I want to Like push some paper and be conniving [00:20:00] and like make money. And so what is special about Toys R Us is that the workers sort of organized themselves and then were supported by campaigns and institutions. And they were able to bring their story to the limelight.

[00:20:14] They were able to tell stories that resonated with the American public. And through that, they were able to put like sort of unprecedented pressure on KKR, on Bain, and win 20 million in restitution, [00:20:30] the most ever. That wasn’t, you know, um, but still like a paltry amount compared to what they lost. And it was honestly incredible, right?

[00:20:41] Like they really used every tool in the tool belt. Um, you know, went lobbied Bernie Sanders, right? Like talk to their coworkers, um, talk to pension trustees that had investments in KKR. Um, across the [00:21:00] country, you know, got some pensions to actually hold up their investments in order to sort of get some type of justice or some type of answers to what happened to Toys R Us.

[00:21:11] And they were also able to tell the story because they sort of witnessed it from a bird’s eye view of what actually happened to Toys R Us. Where was Toys R Us, you know, 15 years ago when private equity? And hedge funds first got involved and where is it now? [00:21:30] What do the changes look like? What they told was a story that people were like, yeah, that’s really f ed up.

[00:21:34] Right? Yeah. New ownership. All of a sudden raises stop coming in. Vacation days are getting cut. They saw that the stores that Toys R Us own, like the retail properties, they sold ownership of those properties to the private equity companies and started renting it back, which is something no homeowner would.

[00:21:53] Whatever do, of course. Yeah. Sell their 

[00:21:55] Maurice BP-Weeks: house in order to rent someone else. This is all because the private equity [00:22:00] firms went, used debt to purchase these things and then are just paying off their debt and taking profit off the top. 

[00:22:06] Charles Khan: Right? Right. And so, yeah, and the reason why, you know, I think hedge funds and private equity are so willing to do these things, um, these businesses because they use debt, right?

[00:22:17] Because. The money doesn’t necessarily come out of their pocket. They’re able to use other people’s money, um, and load the companies that they were hoping to buy with the debt. So it’s like if I said, [00:22:30] Hey, Mo, I want to buy your house. And then you ended up with all the debt, right? And I ended up with the house.

[00:22:38] Um, and so that’s what they do. And then from there on, like once they’re in a position of power, once they have that ownership, you know, they sort of take the company apart for pieces. They pay themselves out on fees, and then they either go push the company into bankruptcy where the debt that is on the company sort of goes away and hedge fund or the private equity firm [00:23:00] walks away, or they’re able to take out all the fees, take out the property, and then sell it to the next person and move on.

[00:23:12] Maurice BP-Weeks: It’s just so perverse. I mean like when you de, when you describe it in that way of like, um. You know, you buy my house, and then I end up with the debt, and then somehow don’t own the house anymore. And then, if the house falls down, I would still be blamed for the fact that the house fell down. I mean, like, all of the stories [00:23:30] when Tours are Us.

[00:23:31] Basically, until Hedge Fund, or Hedge Clippers helped to change the narrative, all the stories were about how Toys R Us was mismanaged, and of course, like, Amazon, shift to the internet and Amazon was like the reason for it. That just was not the case at all. Yeah, it’s just a really, really wild thing. Um, I, I do want to mention, I mean, but this is really great.

[00:23:53] I, I, I want to. Talk about how we get other folks involved [00:24:00] in these fights I mean part of why I wanted to talk to you specifically is because you know Like, I think we both know a good amount about this topic, but are not like, you know, uh, going to write a bunch of white papers about it. We know that the reason, the way to change it is to actually bring some stuff into the streets.

[00:24:22] And I’m wondering if you could talk about why you think that that’s important and like, how [00:24:30] do we get people to kind of open up to this thing that’s happening in our, in our 

[00:24:34] Charles Khan: economy? Yeah, I would say, you know, to be frank, it’s difficult, but what I find to be most helpful, maybe the most important thing is the sort of Illustration and the unearthing of the agency that regular people have especially when they work together.

[00:24:55] Yeah, it’s really really easy And I think really really intentional [00:25:00] That the majority of people in this country are led to believe that they are sort of like on a conveyor belt and they don’t really have any opportunities to get off, to fight back, to change direction and that if something bad happens to them by, you know, some big entity, whether it be, you know, like a mortgage lender or, you know, their, their boss that they don’t really have much to do.

[00:25:21] They just, you know, need to pick up whatever they can and move on and try and make it somewhere else. And so. I think the sort of [00:25:30] illustration and the opening up simplification in some ways of what’s happening to folks and then the sort of strategic collaboration. is really important, right? Because then the folks that are being screwed over become the heroes, right?

[00:25:46] It’s not that, and some other random person is the hero. It’s that you are the hero yourself. Um, and there are sort of multiple points of pressure that regular people, um, when [00:26:00] well organized can fight on and, and win, right? And I, and I think that’s You know, I’m, can sometimes be really apathetic if you don’t see a path to winning, it’s hard to get into the fight.

[00:26:12] And so when there are examples like Toys R Us, I think that it’s super, super helpful in sort of creating a path, creating a North Star for other people to be like, okay, like I can work elected officials. I can work pensions, [00:26:30] right? Like I can direct pressure on the people that are involved, right? Yeah. But a face to what otherwise was maybe a line on a spreadsheet, and I could work to sort of change, you know, through advocacy, right, is one main part to change sort of the laws that these players are forced to live by right and, and I think those are all avenues that I think people understand the path to victory there, and they’re much more willing.[00:27:00] 

[00:27:00] To be involved and to fight on those terms. And I think the, the, the thing about hedge funds, the thing about private equity, the thing about Wall Street generally, that’s sort of special is that they’re so Their hands are everywhere, right? Right. And so it’s not 

[00:27:15] Maurice BP-Weeks: like they to go far. You don’t have to look 

[00:27:17] Charles Khan: far.

[00:27:17] You don’t have to look far. And it’s not like they are only going to screw you on that one thing. Right, . Right. They’re not, they didn’t just screw you on your job. They’re gonna get you a, they’re gonna get you on the way out. Right. They’re gonna get you on [00:27:30] the way out. Right. Yeah. They’re gonna get you down the block, like everywhere you turn, they’re gonna get you.

[00:27:34] And so when you’re fighting them, it’s like feeding 30 birds with one seed. Right. Right, right, right. And so I think that also is really helpful and help, honestly. It’s like it’s a fight. We have to fight and Yeah. Um, and those are the things that I’ve found. Help motivate people to get involved. I think those are things that I’ve found that help to give people hope.

[00:27:57] Right, like knowing what the paths are. Um, [00:28:00] to actually like make that change, and we’ve seen some of those changes. It’s definitely a rollercoaster. Sometimes seems like, you know, one step forward, three steps back, but um, I think there’s a lot of like progress and interesting things that have been happening across the country.

[00:28:14] Um, and so yeah, I mean it’s a complicated set of tactics and tools and strategies to make it happen. But I think that working people definitely see themselves as part of the solution. And I think [00:28:30] that’s like a really amazing and powerful change. 

[00:28:35] Maurice BP-Weeks: Well, this has been great. I’m so glad to have you on to talk about this.

[00:28:39] Really wanted to like in thinking about this area. So, yeah, thanks so much for, for everything you do and for, for chatting with us. And if folks want to find you, where can, where can they go? Probably 

[00:28:53] Charles Khan: like some bar in Brooklyn that’s playing great music and has, has a good rum selection. [00:29:00] But if you’re not in Brooklyn or a fan of bars on Twitter, um, although I don’t use it as much because Elon is.

[00:29:10] Made it terrible, but maybe a little bit too old to go to all of the alternatives. Um, yeah. Yeah, uh, they can find me at Charles underscore darkly so like Charles Barkley, but melanated So, with a D, and that’s probably the best place to find me in the digital world, [00:29:30] for 

[00:29:30] Maurice BP-Weeks: sure. Awesome. Well, thanks again, Charles.

[00:29:33] It’s great having you on. 

[00:29:35] Charles Khan: It was a pleasure to be on.

[00:29:44] Maurice BP-Weeks: While individual black people struggle with debt, rich people are able to use it to make ungodly sums of money. And this, unfortunately, reminds me of Donald Trump. At one point he said he was just wisely using what was offered to him by going [00:30:00] into bankruptcy four times.

[00:30:01] Sound on Tape: Out of hundreds of deals that I’ve done, hundreds, on four occasions I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country like other people.

[00:30:11] Maurice BP-Weeks: And hey, I’ll give him this. We have set up an economy where a rich person can advantageously use bankruptcy to escape a situation that they don’t want to be in. Whereas an individual black person who falls into bankruptcy is close to total ruin. It’s the age old problem in America. There’s just [00:30:30] two sets of laws.

[00:30:31] One for the rich, mostly white people, and another for poor black folks. I think we correct this by making sure that the decisions these rich folks make don’t put us all at risk, whether we’re workers at a company or just folks trying to make it through the tough life of being indebted in the U. S. Let’s push for that.

[00:30:53] Sound on Tape: Offer me money. Offer me power. I don’t care. 

[00:30:59] See, you just don’t [00:31:00] care. I’ll say what I want to say and if, if, if, uh, the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.

[00:31:12] Maurice BP-Weeks: My thanks again to Charles Kahn for joining me this episode. Indebted is produced and published by Convergence, a magazine for radical insights. You can help support the show and others like it by becoming a Patreon member of Convergence for as low as two dollars per month at patreon. com slash Convergence mag [00:31:30] You can find a direct link in the show notes.

[00:31:33] The show is produced by Josh Elstro. It’s written and hosted by me, Maurice BP Weeks. Until next time, let’s keep fighting for the world we all deserve.

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