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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Main Obstacle to New G.I. Bill? - W

Did you know that college education benefits under the G.I Bill today are not as expansive as they were after World War II? Veterans of that little war, including my dad, received full tuition, fees, books, a monthly stipend and reimbursements for training expenses.

These days, former active-duty soldiers get around $10,000 to cover tuition, books and housing. "It’s definitely not enough money,” says a PSU student who served in Iraq. “If I didn’t have those scholarships, I would be a lot more in debt, and it’d be hard to make those ends meet.”

Today, the US House may vote to expand those benefits back to where they were at the end of WWII. They would kick in for anyone who served for three years, but presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is concerned that the military will lose too many soldiers unless the time period is six or possibly even twelve years.

Bush has threatened to veto the measure, claiming the $2 billion per year cost is too high. If he's so concerned about cost, why are we fighting a war that costs $341.4 million per day?

In Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional District alone, we will be paying $1.2 billion for the total Iraq war funding to date. That sum of money would have paid for 25,000 police officers or free health care for half of the district.

And really, the cost of that war is not being paid with dollars and cents, but by the soldiers who've lost their lives.

The least we can do is send them to school.


Joe Hilliard said...

I agree Bernie. The military is one area that is the definite constitutional purview of the federal government. And those who serve deserve the best.

I support the Iraq war but that is not the point.

But there are many other areas of failed policy that we can cut spending to pay for this program. How about the incredibly stupid ethanol subsidy program instituted by pandering politicians? How about this absolutely ridiculous Farm Bill - $300 BILLION - which gives money to millionaire farmers and corporate welfare to agriculture corporations?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hilliard, the Iraq war is the point. You say there's other areas of failed spending policies, and that's what we've seen in Iraq. Just like our welfare system, or just like the Farm Bill you mention.

We've seen the numbers, hundreds of millions of dollars spent on "the war" were not allocated to our troops in combat the way it should. Money was allocated to the Pentagon for the War, but not used appropriately.

Anonymous said...

Where's the citation (in complete context) for Bush saying $2B is too high? I'd read that McCain and Bush and many others are withholding support in order to craft a better thought out bill that will not result in an immediate incentive to mass exodus (which is exactly what gun-totin', Bush hater, Obama Sec Def wannabe Sen. Jim Webb wants).

The bill is also attached to a larger defense spending appropriation that contains an ass load of domestic spending that political whores always attach to issues involving service personnel lives. It's politics as usual and Bernie is safely in the tank on the surface rhetoric - no need for details. Right = bad. Left = good. Grunt. Grunt. Nose breath. Grunt. Try not to be just another talking points parrot. You're usually better than this.

Anonymous said...

Why don't Democrats stop funding the wars (at ever increasing levels), as they promised to do upon election in '06?

A.J. Cordi said...

I agree that those who actively serve in the military should receive educational benefits, but what about those of us who dont or can't join the army? It's a very long road...

Anonymous said...

Interesting view, A.J.; especially in light of the fundamental difference between today's military and that of WWII. WWII vets were drafted and had no choice but to serve under the terms dictated them. Today's vets are volunteers who knew the deal and signed on willingly. They are owed exactly what they were originally promised; which is what you and I originally agreed to pay them (via our part in the representative government process). Yours is a fair question.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:24, I linked to the source backing the asserion that Bush would veto this measure because it is too expensive. That assertion was made by a writer for the liberal common dreams web page.

If you're afraid you might catch some disease by looking at a left-leaning page, check out The Daily Press, which claims Bush has threatened to veto the bill because it would impose an income tax surcharge on wealthy Americans to finance the veterans benefits. How about Newsday? "Bush has threatened to veto legislation that would expand the GI Bill because he says it is too expensive."

The legislation promoted by McCain is one that would involve no tax increase because a soldier would be too old to go to college to reap the full benefits. McCain's argument that this would cause a mass exodus can be countered by the argument that an expnded benefits backage would attract more soldiers.

Frankly, if anyone is marching lockstep with an ideology, it seems to be you, calling Senator Webb a "Bush hater," etc.

The legislation proposed by Senator Webb has the backing of pinko groups like The American Legion. The American Lefgion has statistical evidence that shows this measure will actually increase recruitment. As for the expense is concerned, “bulk of that cost is paid for by the men and women who wear the uniform. Benefits are just a small, small cost of war.”

Better expand your reading base,. if anyone is wearing blinders, it is you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:27, This post concerns a GI Bill of Rights, not some partisan claim made against either party. That stuff is getting pretty old.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:34, When a soldier is involuntarily extended, he or she may as well be a draftee. When a soldier serves three and sometimes four tours in Iraq, he exceeds all expectations and deserves the recognotion that this GI Bill of Rights provides.

Joe Hilliard said...

Anon 4:24 does have a point though. How much garbage is in this bill? This is how we get the stuff that wouldn't get a vote on its own.

Why not just pass a clean bill?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Joe, Anon 4:24 is full of shit. This was a clean bill, and it was voted on and passed separately. Unlike the war appropriations, there is even a funding mechanism to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

"Better expand your reading base,. if anyone is wearing blinders, it is you."

Dear Pot,

How ridiculously silly; in the same jag that cites strictly left-leaning sources.

The Kettle

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:18,

Most of my sources are very mainstream. Just one was left-leaning. As you can see by now, Charlie Dent supported this measure.

I will condemn the politics that Dems constantly bring into Iraq and what they did yesterday when they suspended their own rule and tried to force appropriations down our throat that have nothing to do w/ Iraq w/ only 15 hours notice.

But this GI Bill was voted on separately. It was a bipartisan measure. Instead of thinking about politics, start thinking about the soldiers. Why do you hate them so much? Your comment at 4:24 makes very clear rhat you are just unloading a partisan rant with ignorant remarks.