November 24, 2022

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“I Can’t Even Retire If I Wanted To”: People With Student Loan Debt Get Real About Biden’s Plan Being On Hold

I just got a letter that I qualify for forgiveness. When payment starts again, I’m not going to pay it. I’m going to tell them to send the bill to Biden. He told me he was going to pay my bill. This is one time I could struggle and try to make the payment, but I’m not. If you can give billions of dollars to businesses and they don’t have to pay you back, somebody had better find some dollars for me, Saphronie Harrell, who has been a public servant for over 35 years. I volunteer. I have been a foster parent for 15 years. I paid my own student loans. But when my daughter went to college, I was eligible for a Pell Grant — as a professional mother. I shouldn’t even qualify for a Pell Grant, but we teachers don’t get paid enough. That’s how I got these loans. The government needs to find a grant or something to pay my debt too. I just don’t think it’s fair. It is not a handout. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old. I truly have worked. I feel like you’re just giving me a drop in the bucket of all the taxes I’ve paid.

The other thing that hurts me the most is the ones who are rich, the people who have had it easy or had enough money in America, it seems to me they have a problem when you try to help the working class. But they don’t have the same problem with the poor, because they want to feel superior. This was one thing the working class, the working poor, would qualify for. To forgive me for $20,000 is nothing. I’m 61 years old. I have been working. I’ve been paying tax. So everything that you’re giving to me right now, I paid for it. You’re not giving me anything I haven’t deserved.

I can’t even retire if I want to. And I’m too old to try a new career. I’m just stuck. I’m just mad because I feel like everything has let me down.

Elias Hansen

Age 32
Civil engineer in Yakima, Washington
Student loan balance:

$46,000 (bachelor’s in 2014)

When Biden said, “Here’s $20,000 in debt forgiveness,” the masks came off. There were people in the government openly saying, “Oh, if we forgive all the debt, how are we going to get people to join the military? If we forgive all the debt, how can we recruit more people to do these types of jobs, or coerce people to work in the public sector?” When you look at that, you realize it was never about the money for them — it was about power. They use it as a means to coerce people into doing specific jobs and tasks that society deems important. Many people who were screaming about student debt forgiveness and how it’s wrong were the same people who said, “Oh, you can’t give people money. That won’t incentivize work. You can’t give out more welfare. That’ll just make people lazy.” People pointed out their hypocrisy for coming out against student debt cancellation when PPP loans were being forgiven and businesses did absolutely nothing. Now we are saying, “No, you can actually help people, and you should help people.” They’re being exposed as frauds. People are realizing the pundits and economists and consultants hate people who are not rich, and they believe poverty is a sin.

I knew for a fact I wanted to work in the government for three reasons. One, I wanted to actually do some service. I told myself a long time ago I’d rather make $70,000 building public housing than make $500,000 a year building Jeff Bezos’s new fucking mansion. Second, government employment, more often than not, there’s some security in it. And third, I knew about Public Service Loan Forgiveness before I graduated, and I was planning to do that. It was a very methodical process. When forbearance ends, I will have trouble paying, and it’s not necessarily because of my job. Obviously, prices are going up for everything too, and I’m taking care of a sick family member who’s currently living with me. I’m also trying to help another family member out a little bit too. But some dark money groups decided they want to keep you in debt forever. And it just pisses me off.