Good post. But you're now talking about PD's instead of DOJ. My contention is that the benefits conferred under the current IBR are way too broad and waste a lot of taxpayer money. Even if I were to agree that PD's needed more incentives (and I don't think it is that simple, in some regions I think that is true, in many it is not), why would I be OK with extending it to virtually all government employees and virtually all non-profits? I would be much more comfortable with the IBR discharge policy if it were narrow and directed at traditionally hard-to-staff positions like rural PD offices or legal aid.
I don't think a t14 grad ought to have his legal education paid for by taxpayers because he was so "noble" as to take a prestigious and self-serving job at DOJ. It's really suprising that so many think this is defensible and sound policy--providing incentives for positions which are already considered among the best jobs a lawyer can have.
Offices like the New Orleans PD are still relatively "prestigious" because they give great trial experience and can make a starting off point to a great career. However, the pay is shit, the hours are long, and the "benefits" certainly don't make up for the job stresses and difficulties. This is the same argument, really, as extending IBR to DOJ positions, except that in the PD's case it's much more obvious why IBR is needed.
Why be comfortable extending this to virtually all non-profits? Because the need is there for many of them, and the government shouldn't be playing an active role picking and choosing which public agencies are "necessary" and which aren't. That kind of power encourages discrimination along political, ideological, or other lines. We have an adversarial legal system, and for it to function fairly that means we need highly competent representation on both
sides of the issue.
I don't agree with it politically, but if someone wants to go to law school and then join a right-wing "religious rights" group that litigates on behalf of those who have their religious rights discriminated, well, that's a necessary thing in our society to ensure those rights are protected. You need BOTH SIDES to be competent and well-equipped to handle the cases because a poor or weak case on one side could result in a finding that invalidates the rights of many Americans all at once.
These are in many ways considered the "best" positions a lawyer can have morally
, but that doesn't make them the best positions to have economically
, not by far. People who are being discriminated against are often the people who can't afford the quality of lawyers necessary to adequately defend their rights. The people who end up providing that representation are the people who wilfully choose to forgo the higher salaries they could earn elsewhere in order to do that. The problem is that the salaries they face in many of those jobs are so
low that they don't allow a method to live decently and pay back the loans it takes to get there in the first place.
I'm saddened by the fact that you and other people refer to jobs at the DOJ, as well as other non-profit work, as "self-serving", when from an economic standpoint it clearly isn't. These are people who are taking a huge pay cut in order to provide a service to the American public, the taxpayers
as you keep defining them, and things like IBR at least make that choice a little more economically practical for them, even if they still end up in total taking a huge pay cut to provide that service to the people. They're doing a job that serves the public, so it makes sense that the public can at least provide for the education that makes that service possible.