Dems Hit McCain on New GI Bill

And quite right, too. Opposing this bill is political suicide. The bill, which is sponsored by my VP pick Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel, will provide a full four-year college tuition to qualifying vets. It’s an absolute no-brainer.

McCain’s problem with the bill is that he thinks it’s too expensive. He thinks we can’t afford it. This is the kind of Bush-like “principled” intransigence we can expect from a President McCain. Look, if we can afford tax cuts for the wealthy during a war, we can afford to spring for a young soldier’s college education. Of all the places to try and save a few bucks, this is clearly the wrong one.

At any rate, he’s either going to flip-flop on this bill (which I doubt), or he’s going to pay a steep price with the public. As I have previously written, this bill exposes Republican hypocrisy on the military in spades.

For are some facts about the bill from Jim Webb’s website:

  • Currently, veterans’ educational benefits are administered under the Montgomery G.I. Bill—a program designed primarily for peacetime – not wartime – service. With many of our troops having served two, three or four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is past time to enact a new veterans’ education program modeled on the World War II era G.I. bill. These individuals have a short window of time in which to take advantage of an educational benefit after serving, and with six years already passed since 9/11, that window is now closing for many.
  • The G.I. Bill of the World War II era sparked economic growth and expansion for a whole generation of Americans; a more robust G.I. bill holds the same potential for today’s economy. The United States has never erred when it has made sustained new investments in higher education and job training – and its veterans. Educated veterans have higher income levels, which in the long run increases tax revenues. Approximately 7.8 million veterans used the benefits in some form, out of a wartime veteran population of 15 million. For every dollar invested in WWII veterans, seven dollars were generated.
  • A strong and reliable G.I. bill will have a positive effect on military recruitment. Better educated veterans also have a more positive readjustment experience and lower levels of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The education of our nation’s veterans is a cost of war. A very small percentage of Americans have stepped forward to serve our country through military service; they have earned the right to have a bright future when they have completed their service. A G.I. bill that properly rewards honorable service is the right thing to do. The estimated $2.5 – $4 billion a year needed for the program equals less than one week of war in Iraq.
  • Three former Presidents, a dozen U.S. Senators, three Supreme Court Justices and fourteen Nobel Prize winners went to school on the G.I. bill. Under today’s Montgomery G.I. Bill, these same leaders would receive only a fraction of the money necessary to get the same level of education.
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    7 Responses to Dems Hit McCain on New GI Bill

    1. Stormwarning says:

      Quite the performace at RCP. I might add…not!

    2. foutsc says:

      What about the families of troops who have been killed? What about the troops’ children? Don’t our brave firefighters and policemen deserve a benefit like this?
      This is populist nonsense. If the problem is the benefit expiring, all they have to do is pass a law to extend the time period. I’m even in support of increasing the monetary amount of the benefit. But giving someone a full boat scholarship and paying living expenses for 4 years? Of course, if you’re against it you’re not “for the troops.” This is brilliant politics, turning a conservative tactic against conservatives.
      The “tax cut for the rich” so called, caused an increase in revenue, this causes a decrease, so that comparison is wrong.
      Tax the super rich? They’ll just put their money somewhere else, resulting in less job-producing capital her in the US . Most don’t really care about ideology or nationality, just profit.

      “A government big enough to give you everything is also big enough to take it all away”
      — Ronald Reagan

      Wake up, America! You’re candyman is broke. He’s borrowing money from China to give you your goodies.

    3. Romeo13 says:

      Ret. Navy here.

      If you give a full 4 year ride to College after just 3 years, the military will degrade rapidly.

      The NCO core, which is the backbone of any proffesional military will cease to exist, as they get out to go to College.

      The GI bill worked AFTER WWII because we did not need those troops anymore… we were downsizing the military. Notice how they had to CALL BACK a lot of men who were still reserves for Korea (including my Father…).

      Unworkable plan which will destroy the Army from within.

    4. semby says:

      Right- you think this is a great bill and how dare McCain NOT vote for it – shameful. One thing you need to learn are the hidden things that are not obvious to you and me. The hidden problem with this bill is that after someone serves in the military for 3 years, they are then eligible to go to college.

      Only 3 years and then they can leave the miliary! So the problem here is, is that it might prevent re-enlistments to occur.

      Webb is notorious for doing these types of bills, “aw, they are so good…” but there are always hidden things you don’t see!

    5. nahnopenotquite says:

      I hear you both, Romeo and semby. This is a legitimate concern, but the fundamental thrust of the bill is correct. Why not support it and work (McCain is a senator, after all) with Webb and Hagel to iron out that kink (which I’m not entirely convinced of)? How about raising the service time requirement by a few years and/or making it contingent on joining the Reserves? The bottom line is that McCain is pandering to the limited government, controlled spending flank in his party. He’s right on the housing and farm bill, but this is the wrong bill to fight this battle on.

    6. Tim Weaver says:

      Not a legitimate concern. At all. Why, if people can get an education, why would they help maintain our global empire? Why would they sign up to get killed thousands of miles away from home so that the wealthy elite can buy another ivory back scratcher?

      The troops have not been taken care of at any turn during this war, and it will only get worse if we continue to stretch our forces into unnecessary conflicts with nations that are not national security threats.

      Yes, it would cost money. It costs money to make humanitarian decisions. So-called “compassionate” conservatives would do well to learn a very simple lesson: society costs money.

    7. foutsc says:

      Tim Weaver said: “The troops have not been taken care of at any turn during this war.”

      Could you provide some data to back your assertion? Here’s a hint: research military pay raises from 2002 to now. Also, research living conditions and food available to the deployed troops and compare it to any other time in history.
      I appreciate everyone’s concern “for the troops,” but take a time out for a reality check. If you want to argue we were wrong to invade, etc… I can understand that. If you want to bring up wounded veterans issues, I’m really with you on that. But let’s drop the sympathy for the poor troops. People serve because that is what they want to do and they sure don’t want people feeling sorry for them. You want to attack the President and the “Neocons” go ahead: They’ve earned the criticism. But leave the troops out of it.

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