In Honor of Memorial Day

by twit

Bush and his lapdog John McCain argue against the veto-proof support in Congress for a new and improved GI Bill “on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment.” Please make a note of it.

Mr. Bush — and, to his great discredit, Senator John McCain — have argued against a better G.I. Bill, for the worst reasons.

… They have seized on a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that new, better benefits would decrease re-enlistments by 16 percent, which sounds ominous if you are trying — as Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain are — to defend a never-ending war at a time when extended tours of duty have sapped morale and strained recruiting to the breaking point.

Their reasoning is flawed since the C.B.O. has also predicted that the bill would offset the re-enlistment decline by increasing new recruits — by 16 percent. The chance of a real shot at a college education turns out to be as strong a lure as ever.

and perhaps remember this:

In terms of providing true opportunity, the World War II G.I. Bill was one of the most important pieces of legislation in our history. It paid college tuition and fees, bought textbooks and provided a monthly stipend for eight million of the 16 million who served.

Many of our colleagues in the Senate who before the war could never have dreamed of college found themselves at some of the nation’s finest educational institutions.

and this:

Passing the GI Bill brought more than 16 million veterans into a peacetime economy. Since it provided education and home ownership opportunities to millions, some dubbed the bill the “Magic Carpet to the Middle Class.”

Historians say the GI Bill contributed more than any other program in history to the welfare of veterans and their families and to the growth of the nation’s economy. The bill is credited with preventing a post-war relapse into the pre- war Depression.

and this:

the investment in education is likely to pay for itself many times over as veterans join the workforce at higher pay rates.

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7 Responses to In Honor of Memorial Day

  1. stushie says:

    Memorial Day Sonnet

    If Liberty means anything to me,
    I will remember what my freedom cost,
    By those who gave their all to keep me free,
    Whose lives were sacrificed, but never lost.
    I will remind myself of what they did,
    And keep them dearly cherished in my heart;
    Their honor never from me shall be hid
    And I will know they always did their part
    To save our nation and its people here,
    To pledge their lives in defense of our ways,
    To show that freedom always outlives fear,
    And sacrifice is hallowed all our days.
    If Liberty means anything to me,
    I will remember those who kept me free.

    © John Stuart 2008
    Pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church,
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Audio at:
    [audio src="http://media.libsyn.com/media/stushie/Memorial_Day.mp3" /]

  2. Hans says:

    Maybe a GI Bill of worth, and at the same caliber of the past would help to stem the tragedy the VA is reporting, “18 Vets a day are committing suicide.”

    Sadly, even more proof the war was for profits, not for defending our country.

  3. especially sad considering our country is also threatened by a crashing economy:

    “The US is still more likely than not to have a recession in spite of the relative stabilisation in the economy in recent weeks, Alan Greenspan has told the Financial Times.”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d87c6fa6-2b4e-11dd-a7fc-000077b07658.html

    Beyond giving people hope for a better financial future, college also seems like an excellent place for vets to go to decompress. Between the flexible class schedule, on-campus health and mental health services and a new community of friends and colleagues, everything about the GI Bill seems like a necessary bulwark against so many looming crises in our country.

    College gives people hope and a sense of direction and new opportunity. It is the least we can do to offer that chance to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. It is the bare minimum, because like you point out, Hans, we must do so much more and we need to do it now.

  4. John says:

    How nice of you to “Cherry Pick” since every thing he said in the article is in fact a hedge.

    If the economy is weak and the market overshoots, house prices could decline by another 5 per cent, he says.

    “Such house price declines imply a major contraction in the level of equity in owner-occupied homes, the ultimate collateral for mortgage-backed securities,” he said. Mr Greenspan said it was still not clear whether big financial institutions had taken all the writedowns they would need to take on higher rated tranches of mortgage-backed credit products.

    He admitted he was puzzled by recent economic data that suggests the economy stopped deteriorating around March. “Arecession is characterised by significant discontinuities in the data,” he said. “It started off that way – there was a period of sharp discontinuity from December to March. But then it stopped.”

    Mr Greenspan believes there is a “tug of war” taking place in the economy, with financial sector stress pulling one way and strong corporate liquidity pulling the other. Corporate liquidity is being eroded, but only gradually.

    “No one knows how this tug of war will end – specifically, whether the financial crisis will end before it drags down the real economy.”

    John Ciro

  5. John,

    have you gone to a grocery store lately? perhaps a gas station? maybe tried to book a flight somewhere?

    call it what you will, but for the average American consumer, there are undeniably new pressures that contribute to the rising costs of basic good and services. I’m enough of a cynic to accept your implication that the sky is not falling and that corporations are simply taking advantage of all the glum news to justify maximizing their profits.

    We are a nation at war and that on its own diverts enormous resources from domestic needs. Even if the economy will eventually recover, the point is that there are financial pressures that exist now.

    And that creates stress, despair and hopelessness. Which is the last thing our veterans need to come home to. Providing an alternative by rewarding service with opportunity is a chance to relieve some of that pressure and stress.

    Besides, it appears that according to Bush, the potential economic benefits of the GI Bill doesn’t factor into his analysis at all. His concern is reported as a concern of discouraging re-enlistment. Even though the opportunity to afford an education is reported to be a significant incentive for people considering joining our armed forces.

    That it may well help our economy maintain through an ongoing war, much like it transformed the nation after WW2, that’s just a bonus for all Americans.

    It is our veterans who are the foremost concern here. Like you imply, the American economy seems capable of taking care of itself and it seems a little early to listen to a fool like Greenspan now regretting his support of the Bush tax cuts.

    If our economy is fine, we surely can afford to offer our veterans assistance with going to college. If the economy is in danger of slowing down, it is only more reason to support the new GI Bill.

  6. Hans says:

    @ John,

    “Corporate liquidity is being eroded, but only gradually.”

    let me cry a river for the poor little companies that get bailed out time after time by the federal government, while at the same time it tells the people, the backbone of the economy to go “Eff themselves”

    too much of a reminder of Kenny Boy Lay’s or was it Fastow’s wife, crying from the front steps of 1 of their multi-million dollar houses, “we have a liquidity problem”

    fed bailout of BearStearns over the weekend, months pass without assistance for those prayed upon my predatory lenders that made the decisions and thus should have accepted responsibility for their poor choices to lend money to those that could not afford it. so they made profit with closing costs, etc. and had zero risk! sign me up for that easy “welfare” from the government.

    the economy is in the tank, pray the chinese, etc don’t call in the markers on the debt or this fantasy is all over.

  7. Pingback: Joe the travesty « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

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