An interesting little example of how government actually works here. No, not a story of how it should work. Nor of how we’ll all be sniffing unicorn farts if only the bureaucrats got to run more of our lives. Instead, the reality of how allowing the technocrats power actually works out.
The US Government has an unobjectionable little program to encourage people to become teachers. Their student loans become instead a grant if they agree to go teach in a low income public school for 4 years. It’s not a program I would recommend but in the Annals of Government Horrors it’s a pretty small one.
But look at what happens to people who go into that program:
Nearly 2,300 teachers have just had a mountain of student loan debt lifted off their backs, according to previously unreleased figures from the U.S. Department of Education. The move follows reporting by NPR that exposed a nightmare for public school teachers across the country. In exchange for agreeing to work in low-income schools, aspiring teachers could get federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants from the department to help pay their way through college. But those grants were often unfairly turned into loans that teachers had to pay back.
Unfairly might be a bit strong. They had to do some stuff in order to gain that relief. The people who lost that relief were the people who didn’t do that stuff. You know, a bit like the kids who get a bad grade because they don’t hand in their homework?
The problem at the heart of the TEACH grant story is that small paperwork issues often triggered this catastrophic consequence. In order to qualify for a grant, aspiring teachers agreed to teach for four years in a low-income public school. But the rules also required that teachers send in a form every year to prove they were actually teaching. The forms were often due over the summer when teachers and principals, who had to sign them, were away on vacation. And if teachers sent in this annual form even one day late, missing a signature or date, or with any other little problem, their TEACH grants would be turned into loans, with interest. And this process was irreversible. Teachers were told their loans could not be converted back to grants.
Well, this is the sort of thing that is going to happen if we allow the anal retentives to rule our lives. And yes, obviously, anyone going into the bureaucracy is going to be an anal retentive. After all, they’re not there for the creativity of their working lives now, are they? A solid salary telling other people what to do, who is going to be excited by that as an occupation?
Which is the problem with that entire technocratic worldview of course. The sort of scum who end up running such a system and the rules they enforce on everyone else as they do so.
As ever, the best argument against government doing more is the manner in which government currently does.