Perspectives on the Medallion Relief Program

New York City has an opportunity to solve a debt crisis that has devastated a central institution in the lives of many New Yorkers: yellow cabs and their owner-drivers. The solution would come at a relatively modest cost and would help redress an injustice from which the city benefited financially: a creditor-driven bubble in the price of medallions that led many drivers into debt bondage and even prompted some to commit suicide. The city should… adopt a plan put forward last year by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance in which the drivers’ debt would be restructured and the city would serve as the guarantor of the medallions’ value.

Identifying a debt bubble in real time is not always easy. But with the market for taxi medallions, creditors, brokers and the city were in a position to see what was going on — and yet they allowed the frenzy to continue and often made large sums of money from it.

Under [the Taxi Workers Alliance] plan, New York City would become the guarantor of the medallions’ value. If the cab drivers default on the loan, the city, not the personal assets of drivers and their families, would guarantee the value. For creditors this would be a boon as well, because a guarantee from New York is a more reliable security than are personal assets. In return, the creditors would agree to restructure the loans to reflect the actual market value of the medallions, not their inflated “bubble” value. The cost to the city would be $93 million over 30 years, based on estimated default rates and the prevailing market value of the medallions. This is a relatively small price, especially considering that from 2004 to 2017, the city made more than $850 million from auctioning new medallions.

The alliance’s plan is superior to [the TLC] plan… which [offers] each driver a one-time grant of $20,000 to pay off creditors. By adopting the plan put forward by the cab drivers’ alliance, the city would mitigate a harm it helped inflict on a group of people who have always helped fuel the fortunes of this city.

– Katharina Pistor, Columbia Law School professor and author
Source: New York Times

—————————————————————————————

The plan that the city has put forth is the only plan that’s available right now. The city is not in a position to do a backstop. I don’t know of an entity that would be able to serve as a guarantor for an entire industry. That carries a lot of risk and is cost prohibitive.

– Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, TLC Commissioner/Chair
Source: City & State

—————————————————————————————

Predatory lenders took drivers for a ride and left families in a wreckage of financial distress and despair. We have a fiscal and moral obligation to make this right – and embracing this plan is a start. My office has vetted the proposal from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and found it fiscally sound.

– Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller
Source: City & State

—————————————————————————————

I was making the American Dream. Now I’m in an American nightmare. We lost everything, we lost our retirement, our investment. I lost my brother [to suicide]. Hopefully, someday we are going to see the light. The sun will come again, that’s what we hope.

– Richard Chow
Source: The City

—————————————————————————————

Sometimes, I think about suicide. And then, when I come back, I think about my children, and I turn around and say, “Dorothy, don’t.” This is worse than if a man left me pregnant in the street… What the city did to us, and they don’t care.

– Dorothy LeConte
 Source: In These Times

—————————————————————————————

I don’t think I could concoct a more predatory scheme if I tried. This was modern-day indentured servitude.

– Roger Bertling, Harvard Law School
Source: Radio Free

—————————————————————————————

NHTSA Recall: 2021 GM SUVs

Summary: General Motors (GM) is recalling certain 2021 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Yukon XL vehicles. The fuel pump power control module may cause the fuel pump to fail or operate intermittently, which can interrupt fuel flow to the engine, and cause an unexpected engine stall, which increases the risk of a crash.

Campaign Number: 21V739000

Potential Number of Units Affected: 14,939

Remedy: Dealers will replace the fuel pump power control module, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 8, 2021. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020; Cadillac customer service at 1-800-458-8006; or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782. GM’s number for this recall is N212332040.

Notes: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or go to www.nhtsa.gov.

——————————————————————————————

An Alternate Exercise Plan

Sometimes it’s difficult to find time for exercise, even though we know how good it is for our overall health. Instead of worrying about making time for 30 or more minutes of exercise, try doing simple exercises for a few minutes several times a day. Try alternating routines that target the upper body, lower body and core.

Source: Cherry Hill Recreation