ARE YOU ONE of the 43 million Americans saddled with student-loan debt? Maybe you owe $40,000 and your financial situation is such that you struggle just to pay the interest on the loan. In fact, you have other loans to pay and the burden is overwhelming.

Now, let’s say the Joe Biden administration is considering a proposal to forgive $5,000, $10,000 or more of this debt. Good news, yes, but that action won’t make paying the remaining balance any easier. If you can’t pay back the $40,000, what makes anyone think it will be easier to pay back $30,000?

Student-loan cancellation may be an appealing idea, but many financial experts say it would enrich the privileged and leave behind the truly needy. At the same time, debt cancellation risks stirring resentment.

More than half of Americans have built their lives and made ends meet without a college degree. Asking them to now pay higher taxes to bailout their fellow citizens leaves a sour taste in their mouths. Just how big is the problem? The Education Department said Americans owe $1.55 trillion in federal student debt.

Roughly 8 million borrowers were in default on student loans as of Sept. 30, many of whom dropped out after one or several semesters and most who fell behind in recent years owed less than $10,000, according to Education Department officials.

Opponents of the plans insist on addressing the federal lending practices that helped produce the runaway debt problem. The system provides funding without assessing the borrower’s ability to repay. The remedy being proposed doesn’t address that flaw.

Any proposal needs to deal with issues such as soaring tuition fees, students majoring in degree programs with no future and that have little prospect of generating future income high enough to warrant spending $100,000 for a degree, and more for a graduate degree.

Why would you borrow so much money for a degree that doesn’t generate enough income to pay it back? You wouldn’t do that when buying a house or starting a business. There are some degrees that are worth borrowing money for, but many aren’t.

There also is resentment because the plans do nothing for people without debt, those who already paid off their debt and future borrowers who won’t receive forgiveness. Parents and students need to do their homework. Debt forgiveness needs to be targeted toward the poorest borrowers rather than those in well-paying jobs.

Student debt is the largest type of debt held by Americans after mortgages. The amount has tripled since 2007. Defaults are high. Many economists say that canceling at least some of this debt will boost the U.S. economy by reducing borrowers’ bills, leaving them with more money to spend on homes and cars. In dollar terms, most student debt is owed by upper-income households. The top 40% of families by income owe slightly more than half of all student debt, according to Federal Reserve data.

Economists at the University of Chicago said canceling all student debt would be akin to giving the top 10% of households by income $78 billion or an average of $6,000 per household, while giving $12 billion to the bottom 10%, an average of $1,100 per household.

Workers with a college degree are the highest paid in the economy and the last to get laid off during a downturn. Borrowers with the largest balances also are the least likely to default. Borrowers who owe less than $5,000 are the most likely to default. Debt cancellation would bleed the working class to alleviate debt for those with more lucrative career options.