At the time of writing, I have $248,171.64 in student loan debt.

One of the reasons that previous generations didn’t incur a high level of college debt is that they earned their degrees at a time when state legislatures had yet to start slashing budgets for publicly funded higher education. Gr8t Shots/

This is a result of three degrees, including a law degree, over the span of 10 years.

President Biden’s plan to forgive student loans will not even begin to scratch the surface of my journey to repayment. While I’ll be grateful for the reduction in what I owe, I’ll go back to making payments once the pause lifts. I borrowed the money, and I plan on paying it back. Those who oppose the move should consider themselves lucky that someone with my kind of debt was not forgiven.

Despite my personal circumstances, I’m very happy to know that millions of people in America and thousands of Mainers will have their balances significantly reduced, if not wiped out completely. Why? Because many people will be freed from debt – often at insane levels – that they should not have gotten into in the first place.

In order to have a shot at the American dream, my generation is paying – in the form of very, very large student loans – an American dream tax. This tax has led many Americans and thousands of Mainers to be so burdened with student loan debt that we cannot move forward in other areas of life. This is something previous generations did not face.

Those previous generations could access education in America that was valued differently and paid for differently, education on offer before the decades-long trend of state legislatures slashing budgets for state universities, not to mention other skyrocketing costs imposed by colleges and universities that led individuals like me to borrow more.

Some of the pushback in response to the plan has made no sense to me. Critics see the process of loan forgiveness as saddling those who made the decision not to go into student loan debt themselves. Really? Please, somebody tell me how this works. Unless the Biden debt forgiveness plan leads to a student loan account being opened in your name, and the transfer of someone else’s debt to you, I think you can take a breath. That will not happen.

Also, let’s talk about the inflation argument – the suggestion that forgiving these loans will fuel already record-high rates of inflation. It strikes me that we do not often make these arguments for other policies that put money in people’s pockets, such as tax cuts. In my mind, a tax cut means more money back in more people’s pockets. Compared to other forms of public spending, the student loan forgiveness plan announced this week is a one-off and truly modest. It will help the indebted move forward, which many of them haven’t been able to do, in a way that will benefit the economy. The plan is designed to have the biggest impact on the people who owe the smallest sums.

Let’s all be happy that a group of people finally got a slice of pie that it seemed, for decades, they wouldn’t ever get. President Biden’s plan is no different from other government-backed programs that provide relief from other debts and financial ruin. We all know somebody with student loan debt. Let’s show empathy for one another rather than resentment.

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