LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you owe money to the federal government, the White House wants lawmakers to make sure you’re reachable wherever you are.
A little-noticed provision tucked into the mammoth $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan that President Obama submitted to Congress would allow private debt collectors to call you on your cell phone if you owe student loans or any other debt to the U.S. government.
Attorney Lauren Saunders with the National Consumer Law Center told KNX 1070 the move could eventually grow even more invasive.
“They want to be able to call everybody on their cell phones — not just people who owe money, but friends, family, people with similar names or phone numbers,” said Saunders. “If we open up cell phones to these sorts of calls, we’re all going to regret it.”
The change “is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cellphones,” the administration said as quoted by the Associated Press.
The Obama administration has not released any official data as to how much revenue such a move would drum up, nor have they commented on the politically unpopular move of aligning the president with the debt collection industry — an industry almost universally treated by taxpayers with derision.
Perhaps the biggest losers under the new rules: graduates who are struggling to pay back their student loans.
“Most people who aren’t paying their student loans, it’s because they can’t get a job in this economy,” said Saunders. “Harassing them with robo-calls is not going to solve the deficit.”