A debt pardon

Richard Bednarski
3 min readSep 2, 2022

Another Friday has arrived and I have landed in Phoenix, Arizona. I am here to visit my grandmother. She is well into her 90s and has had a great life. I am hopeful to get a batch of shortbread. I also hope to hear her Scottish accent one last time. Maybe even hear some stories about my mother’s childhood. A time when life was far simpler than today and the American dream was still something worth reaching for.

Over the past week there have been some notable events. The jobs report was not all bad news. A massive heat wave has settled over the west. The timing of my trip seems almost ironic. What stands out to me is the decision by President Biden to relieve $10,000 of student debt.

As I use my master’s education to pay off my undergraduate studies, this is music to my ears. Not because I want a handout, because there are millions of Americans who have fallen prey to the idea that college will yield a high-paying job and career. That college will provide a path to success, no matter what. In reality, it is no longer the case. Not to mention the absurd idea that student loans are packaged with interest.

My generation has seen a stagnation of wages and a crazy increase in the cost of living. Making our purchasing power inferior to generations before us. The idea that we “need” a handout is absurd. The economy is working against us and people simply cannot afford a home. A car. A sustainable way of living that promotes happiness. Something we are deserve.

I have just over $6,000 in debt left. I graduated with almost $40,000. But that debt has hindered my career advancement, my travel goals, my happiness. It wasn’t until five years after I graduated I found a stable job that paid more that’s $15 an hour. Even then, I had to work 40–60 hours a week. The math worked out to be something around $18 an hour. Thirteen years later, the debt still hangs over my head.

My case is certainly not the reason why Biden has relieved a portion of the debt. In fact there are people out there who do not deserve this debt pardon. I suspect they are in the extreme minority. This move, part political and part economical, the bottom line is that this move will help provide many Americans a morsel of relief. This Look up another word -relief- comes at time when then cliche, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, could not be more accurate.

The wealth gap has increased over the past three years and we all, people making less than $150,000 a year, deserve a boost. A ledge to stand on and gaze over the fence that establishes economic equity. Though this is not a sure fire way to accomplish this goal, it is a step in the right direction.

Tie will tell what benefits this executive action will yield. But I am a hopefully optimist and know that there are people who will now be able to buy the ice cream cake for their daughter’s birthday, order that second beer, pay for a wedding, or simply treat themselves.

As I walk out of the airport into the searing late summer oven that is Phoenix, I do so with hope that this action by President Biden goes unchallenged by the law.



Richard Bednarski

With a background in Anthropology and Photography, I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism. My goal is to illustrate the #ClimateCrisis through storytelling.