Your tax dollars at work; paying off goverment staffers' student loans

Rick Moran
Can't blame Obama for this one, I'm afarid. The program to pay off student loan debt of bureaucrats began in 2002 under Bush.

In 2007, 6,600 federal employees had you to thank for getting them out from under their student loan debt. This, despite the fact that the original rationale used by the Bush administration for the program - top professionals were scarce and the program was a needed incentive - has disappeared.

Elizabeth Williamson of the Wall Street Journal has the details:

Any agency employee who isn't a political appointee is eligible to have federally insured student loans repaid under the program. Because the repayments are considered a recruitment or retention incentive, agency managers determine who receives the perk and how much is repaid. The decisions are guided by a plan that each agency must have in place.

Carol Sladek, head of the work-life consulting practice at Hewitt Associates, a human-resources consulting company in Lincolnshire, Ill., called student-loan repayments an unusual benefit. "I have never heard of that practice in the private sector, much less in this economy," she said.

Kyle Anderson, spokesman for the House Committee on Administration, which oversees the House program, said, "Top-notch talent has options, and government service, certainly at the entry level, pays significantly less than comparable positions in other sectors."

And it's not just federal bureaucrats who are benefiting from your generosity. House and Senate staffers should write you a thank you note as well:

The House and Senate will spend $18 million this year repaying staffers' student loans. Last year, while criticizing corporations that pay lavish benefits during hard times, House lawmakers nearly doubled what the government can pay for their staffers' college bills. The yearly maximum repayment is $10,000 in fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, up from $6,000 in fiscal 2008, with a lifetime maximum of $60,000, the same as in the executive branch. The House appropriated $13 million in 2009 for the program; as of last month, more than 2,200 House employees were getting the money.

I am sure they all deserve this little perk. The problem is one might question whether this was a legitimate use of the taxpayer's hard earned coin. If the government was having trouble recruiting people to staff the bureaucracy, then it is barely conceivable that such a program might be necessary.

But considering that, especially on the Hill, there are 3 or 4 top candidates for every post available - and those coveted jobs are used as a springboard for employment by private lobbying firms - it is absolute nonsense that the program is needed to recruit top people.

At least we won't have to worry about this for very much longer. There's a pretty good chance that government will pay everyone's tuition who wants to go to college anyway. No more bank loans, no more loan payments.

That's one way to solve a problem, eh?

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




Can't blame Obama for this one, I'm afarid. The program to pay off student loan debt of bureaucrats began in 2002 under Bush.

In 2007, 6,600 federal employees had you to thank for getting them out from under their student loan debt. This, despite the fact that the original rationale used by the Bush administration for the program - top professionals were scarce and the program was a needed incentive - has disappeared.

Elizabeth Williamson of the Wall Street Journal has the details:

Any agency employee who isn't a political appointee is eligible to have federally insured student loans repaid under the program. Because the repayments are considered a recruitment or retention incentive, agency managers determine who receives the perk and how much is repaid. The decisions are guided by a plan that each agency must have in place.

Carol Sladek, head of the work-life consulting practice at Hewitt Associates, a human-resources consulting company in Lincolnshire, Ill., called student-loan repayments an unusual benefit. "I have never heard of that practice in the private sector, much less in this economy," she said.

Kyle Anderson, spokesman for the House Committee on Administration, which oversees the House program, said, "Top-notch talent has options, and government service, certainly at the entry level, pays significantly less than comparable positions in other sectors."

And it's not just federal bureaucrats who are benefiting from your generosity. House and Senate staffers should write you a thank you note as well:

The House and Senate will spend $18 million this year repaying staffers' student loans. Last year, while criticizing corporations that pay lavish benefits during hard times, House lawmakers nearly doubled what the government can pay for their staffers' college bills. The yearly maximum repayment is $10,000 in fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, up from $6,000 in fiscal 2008, with a lifetime maximum of $60,000, the same as in the executive branch. The House appropriated $13 million in 2009 for the program; as of last month, more than 2,200 House employees were getting the money.

I am sure they all deserve this little perk. The problem is one might question whether this was a legitimate use of the taxpayer's hard earned coin. If the government was having trouble recruiting people to staff the bureaucracy, then it is barely conceivable that such a program might be necessary.

But considering that, especially on the Hill, there are 3 or 4 top candidates for every post available - and those coveted jobs are used as a springboard for employment by private lobbying firms - it is absolute nonsense that the program is needed to recruit top people.

At least we won't have to worry about this for very much longer. There's a pretty good chance that government will pay everyone's tuition who wants to go to college anyway. No more bank loans, no more loan payments.

That's one way to solve a problem, eh?

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky