• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The GI Bill's legacy

A day late, but happy 70th anniversary for the GI Bill:

While the GI Bill was inspired, in President Roosevelt's words, by our moral obligation to support the troops, the returns on that investment were greater than anybody could have imagined. Eight million veterans would go on to attend college under the GI Bill. From them came three presidents, three Supreme Court justices, 24 Pulitzer Prize winners, 14 Nobel Prize winners, 450,000 engineers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, and countless other distinguished citizens. The GI Bill made a college degree attainable for students from all backgrounds.

I didn't see it in any of the news stories I skimmed today, but a TV report I caught over the weekend pointed out that in one of the post-war years, 25 percent of all the people in college were returning vets taking advantage of the GI Bill. Man! That is amazing. When people talk about transformative events that continue to define our country today, they often talk about FDR's New Deal or LBJ's Great Society. I guess I would put World War II at the top of my list. The combined effect of all those college-educated veterans and all the "Rosie the Riveters" who did not want to return to the role of homemaker, thank you very much, very much created the world we live in today.

Before the GI Bill, the only people in college were the supremely academically gifted and the "legacy" students from the ranks of the privileged few. As the author (the president of Syracuse University) notes, many colleges resisted the influx of students because they thought iit would attract riff-raff who couldn't fit into college life. The "average person" just was not capable of succeeding in college.

So the GI Bill was one of the greatest levelers this country has ever known. So was the influx of women into the workforce, which turned thousands of years of history on its head.

My own life would have been different withougt the GI Bill. I think I still might gotten my college degree without it, but I sure wouldn't have come out of school debt free and thus able to seek work I liked instead of the job that most ennabled me to pay back student loans.


Mon, 06/23/2014 - 12:20pm

I guess that makes you one of the "takers" then Leo.  You should be ashamed you weren't  independant enough to go get that collage degree on your own.  After all, we all know any government program is inefficient and a complete waste of the tax dollars redistributed from the "job creators". 

andrew Jarosh
Mon, 06/23/2014 - 6:06pm

Yeah. Welfare only good if its for soldiers. Nobody else is deserving.

Rebecca Mallory
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 5:20am

Both Joe and Andrew would benefit from reading Bastiat's "The Law."  Both gentleman confuse the distinction between government and society.

Leo Morris
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 7:58am

I hate having to be Capt. Obvious, but, well, you really don't understand the distinction between a handout and an earned benefit? The GI Bill is a contractual obligation, part of the benefits one is promised as a return for service to country.

Andrew J.
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 8:53am

So my taxes pay for food stamps, for example? If I go belly up jobwise, isn't that an earned benefit I receive, like unemployment benefits?  Don't I have a contract with my government for those kinds of services I pay taxes for?

Larry Morris
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 1:00pm

No, Andrew J., you don't have a contract with the government to provide you with food stamps.  Unless, of course, you're a liberal, then it appears you may indeed have that contract ...

Andrew J.
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 1:52pm

HOw about a contract to provide me with unemployment benefits; Social Security; federally backed student grants and loans for non-veterans; how about an earned income tax credit if I'm disabled; how about coal miners worker's compensation through the Black Lung Benefits Act? Any of those work for you?

Andrew J.
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 2:03pm

Or how about this one; a friend of mine has benefited from government largesse because of it:

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loands and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized federal Stafford loans.




Rebecca Mallory
Tue, 06/24/2014 - 3:34pm

Andrew, you are merely proving that Bastiat's definition of government is correct.


"Government is a great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else."