Since I joined Congress in late 2005, I have seen us pass bills to subsidize all kinds of things. I have seen us pump taxpayer money into programs that benefit individuals who enter fields like nursing, math, engineering, and medicine. But, amidst all of this, there has been one profession that everyone recognized we had enough of...lawyers. In fact, our nation has more lawyers per capita than anywhere else on earth.
Nonetheless, a bill passed yesterday to provide taxpayer financed subsidies of up to $60,000 for law school graduates who enter government practice. To be fair, the argument behind the legislation is that law school graduates who enter the public arena have a far more difficult time paying off their student loans than those who enter the private sector. Fine.
But, if that's the case, then we should just pay our government attorneys more. Simply creating another bureaucracy that entangles more taxpayer dollars in red tape is bad bad policy. It offers a diminished return by wasting much of the allocated funds in administrative costs. The real solution is in the hands of the appropriate local, state, and federal jurisdictions, and how they choose to compensate and recruit their attorneys. It is not in the hands of Congress in the form of some bureaucratic, red tape laden federal subsidy.
And so you know, I voted against this bill in spite of heavy lobbying on the yes side from my niece who works for the Los Angeles Appellate Division.