Once upon a time, I wanted to join the U.S. Forest Service. I love the mountains, forests, and even deserts. But despite a pretty solid resume and some good experience, I never qualified for any jobs. I was told I should apply for the position of Public Information Officer at my local forest. But the job was given to a person who was tight with the forest brass, who had absolutely no experience with the media, and who probably couldn’t pick a press release out of a police lineup.
But I still thought working for the Forest Service would be a great job and tried applying to forests across the nation. Of course, I got rejected. If I hadn’t, I would be retired by now. I remember one application process that required that the job application be submitted to the office in person, during a certain span of time on a particular day. This is interesting since in most cases, people apply for federal jobs online. I almost bought a plane ticket just so I could show up at the office, application in hand, a smile on my face, and a song in my heart.
But I also knew that because of the application stipulations, the forest obviously had someone in mind for the job and had written the requirements in such a way that only that person could apply. And I knew no one was ever going to call them on it. So I put the airfare toward a new car. The government takes care of its own. It’s quite the elite little club. In the end, I lost the opportunity to work for the Forest Service and a nice retirement. But I guess I got to keep my soul.
Yes, I know; don’t start with me. There are plenty of federal employees out there who genuinely care about serving the public. I’ve met those people. When I was in radio, I met many federal employees who were closet conservatives but had to keep their heads down in order to protect their jobs. But I have also met desk riders who just wanted to retire at as high a GS level as possible. And I was friends with one state government employee who was told by their supervisor that they were working too hard and making everyone else look bad. So there’s that. But government benefits are good, as is a government retirement. And apparently, some of those people are also going to get a break on their student loans as part of the administration’s forgiveness plan.
Fox News reports that on Thursday, Democrats on the House Committee on Education and Labor objected to a request by Republicans to find out how much taxpayers would be on the hook for regarding two policies that would forgive loans for by government workers but not for people in the private sector. In fact, the Democrats reported it to the House with an adverse recommendation. So the issue is dead in the water. GOP members also had a resolution that asked for an explanation as to where the government gets the authority to transfer the debt load to taxpayers. That was also rejected.
Surprise. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) commented: “We talk a lot about equality or equity around here… Let’s look at what we are doing here as far as the preferred classes and the hated classes who don’t benefit from this program.” He called the policies a gift to government workers and an indicator that the government favors its own over the rest of the population. He added that the private sector “makes the country go around. I always feel in that program there’s a little bit of hatred directed at the manufacturing sector, agriculture sector, retail sector.”
Dems on the other hand whined that the GOP just wants to nix programs that help government workers.
At the heart of the issue is a 2021 decision by the Department of Education to waive some of the restrictions on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Initially designed for teachers, nurses, firefighters, and people in similar roles, the plan was extended to federal workers who made qualifying payments for 10 years, at which point the loan would be forgiven. The DOE waived some rules to ensure that more people would qualify since the program was underutilized. And of course, you are all too familiar with the latest installment from President Biden.
No, I never did get my cushy government job. If I had, I would be getting ready for ski season in Aspen right now instead of writing this. And I paid back my student loan. And now I have to pay back other people’s student loans, just like many of you who rolled the dice when you started a business that was choked out by COVID-19 restrictions or just raised a family by the sweat of your brow. And none of us had any guarantees. But we do have the privilege of guaranteeing the futures of the people who are or have been paid with our tax money.