I was on the Great Lakes Student Loans website today to tend to my student loans when something caught my eye. On the lower left portion of the screen was a link for loan forgiveness. Out of curiosity, I decided to see what would qualify someone to avoid paying back loans for services they’ve already received. My best guesses would have been correct.
One way you can qualify for loan forgiveness is public service. Apparently, collective bargaining, outrageous benefits, a pension, extra paid holidays, and rules one can exploit to earn massive amounts of money are not enough for our public employees. They must also be given a pass on paying back their loans.
Information on the program can be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PSF.jsp. A look at the fact sheet linked on the page shows that even Labor Unions are covered under this plan.
There are some caveats to the program. For starters, to qualify, a person must make 120 payments toward their loans. That still leaves a huge amount of money the government eats to pay for public employees that are already draining money. There is some balance to eligibility, too. Partisan political groups and certain groups that serve the military qualify for eligibility. Still, the majority of the program is geared to progressive initiatives.
Is there any doubt this would be called crony capitalism if the benefeciaries were manufacturing job creators, those who avoid public handouts, or anyone even remotely connected to the real energy industries?
It gets better, too. A second priviledged class of employees gets loan forgiveness, too. There is a full program for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. You can find details at
https://www.mygreatlakes.org/borrower/options/teacher_loan_forgive.html. Add one more kow-tow to teacher pressure.
Neither of these programs is hugely debilitating, to be sure. They are both limited, and one cannot simply avoid all student loan payments simply by choosing to join the protected public working class. The real damage comes as programs like these add together. Combine the money a public employee can get from a program like this with the comical work rules, overtime pay that can be exploited, pay for non-work activities, and so on, and you begin to see a monster that hides below the surface.
To ignore the financial harm that programs like these do when combined would be like discounting viruses because you can’t see them. Sure, one viral organism by itself may not be a match for my immune system, and it must not be that dangerous since it’s too small for me to see, right? Then I’m dead from my ignorance. It’s tempting to say programs like these paper-cut our country to death.
That may be wrong, though. There are gun-shot wounds to go along with the smaller cuts. Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the opposition to Scott Walker’s reforms here in Wisconsin has been the left’s outright refusal to accept that public employee benefits were destroying our budget. Sure, the unions agreed to cuts once they saw the gravy train may be coming to an end, but that was out of self-preservational instincts.
It’s like the young child agreeing not to touch the hot stove because you threatened to take away TV if they did. Has the child really grasped the danger of their actions? Similarly, opponents of Scott Walker have failed to grasp the damage public collective bargaining has done, even with a warning from their hero himself, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said “the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
It is enraging that public employee unions are decimating state budgets through a barrage of both papercuts and gun-shot wounds, but that is not what infuriates me most about these programs.
What is most enraging is that these two loan forgiveness programs are given equal standing with programs meant to help those who truly need or deserve it. The two other loan forgiveness programs listed are for those with permanent and complete disabilities and family of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. There are those who have reason to ask for loan forgiveness, and then there are those who benefit incorrectly from liberal handouts.
Much as our welfare system is bastardized by those who abuse it and do not need it, this system takes a good thing and destroys it. Common sense is replaced by a desire to reward those who serve the liberal purpose. There are those who say that liberal criticisms are usually a form of projection as they shine light on the mistakes they are making. This is one more example of liberals, who regularly bash crony capitalism and favoritism with government spending, failing to practice what they preach. It is despicable.