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ccmanuals
05-27-2008, 08:28 AM
Jim Webb has introduced a new GI Bill which expands benefits. McCain opposes it on the grounds that,


McCain (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/candidates/john.mccain.html) said Webb's bill would be a disincentive for service members to become noncommissioned officers, which he called "the backbone of all the services."


Someone needs to explain this to me. Is he saying that if our service folks get "to smart" they won't want to be NCO's? If this is what he is saying it's the most twisted piece of logic I have ever heard.

The full article is here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/26/mccain/index.html

paladin
05-27-2008, 09:51 AM
Uh....something is wrong with this picture.....
McCain doesn't have respect for anyone that doesn't serve this country in uniform....(paraphrase, I think is accurate).....
Does that mean he has no respect for the Prez......who signed up for the duty but failed to show and perform his sworn duty?

George Roberts
05-27-2008, 10:27 AM
I believe Mr. McCain said that with the structure of the benefits many people would serve one term in the service and then leave for the retirement benefits.

I suspect that would happen. I also supect that would not be the best way to provide an effective military.

sv Lorelei
05-27-2008, 10:34 AM
The original GI bill was one of the most successful pieces of social legislation ever enacted. The cost of fronting the $$ to tender an opportunity to the vast number of people who otherwise would not have had an opportunity for a college education was more than offset by the number of social and scientific luminaries, business leaders, and yes, even statesmen that would have otherwise likely returned to the farms and shops from whence they had come. The bill as it stands now is a travesty in comparison. Standing in the way of putting some meat back on it's bones is indicative of the level of hypocrisy we've come to expect from our "leaders".

switters
05-27-2008, 11:01 AM
Most enlisted only serve one term right now anyway. Typical officer condescending crap.

ljb5
05-27-2008, 11:27 AM
I believe Mr. McCain said that with the structure of the benefits many people would serve one term in the service and then leave for the retirement benefits.

The person serves one term and then leaves for the benefits? Well, at least the benefits managed to entice them for one term.

How is this worse than a person not serving any term because no benefits are offered? :confused:

A general rule of thumb is that some benefit is more appealing than no benefits.

It could certainly happen that a person joins with the intention of serving only one term, but find out that they really like it and stay for a full career.

Or, they might go to school, get their degree and then return to service.

There really is no good explanation for McCain's short-sightedness -- but it is kinda amusing to watch the Republicans fall all over themselves to come up with an excuse.

Could you imagine the outcry if John Kerry had voted against this?

George Roberts
05-27-2008, 11:37 AM
ljb5 ---

I gave Mr. McCain's basis for being against the bill. Feel free to pick the side of the issue you wish.

You might note that the original GI bill was offered after the war not as a way to staff the war.

I don't keep track of the benefits of being in the military so I cannot argue if the military has proper benefits or not. I can only say others have thought of different structuring of the college benefits and written about options.

---

I guess some people might like to provide full retirement after 1 tour of duty. While it sounds nice, it does not provide a military that is desired.

ljb5
05-27-2008, 12:15 PM
I gave Mr. McCain's basis for being against the bill. Feel free to pick the side of the issue you wish.

Your uncritical, unthinking mimicry has been noted.

Instead of just telling us what McCain said, why don't you tell us what you think about it?

Does it make sense? Is it short-sighted? Is it elitist?


You might note that the original GI bill was offered after the war not as a way to staff the war.

Not sure what your point is. I believe that war was staffed with a draft, something Republicans now oppose.

When the first GI bill was offered, going to college was considered a rare privilege. Now it is both commonplace and fundamental to our economy and society.

If the first GI bill could manage to be so generous, I'm sure we could now manage to meet even basic expectations.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Seriously though --- could you imagine the outcry if a Democratic presidential candidate had voted against this??

paladin
05-27-2008, 12:23 PM
You don't get a "retirement" after one tour of duty.....You have a six year committement, 2 years active and 4 years active reserves, or 4 years active and 2 years active reserves, but like anything else, some get stuck with 6 years active duty "for the good of the service"......I did not finish my g.i. bill until after 6+ years of active duty....

htom
05-27-2008, 12:57 PM
Both of the proposed "fixes" to the GI bill are neither, and are more useful for bashing the opponents than restoring the GI bill to what it used to be, for either me in the early 1970s or my parents in the 1950s. If they were to pass both they'd approach what I got, but that's a long ways from what Mom & Dad got.

abbyj
05-27-2008, 01:01 PM
I believe that war was staffed with a draft, something Republicans now oppose.

Not Republicans ljb5, The military doesn't want a draft. They want individuals who want to serve.

At first glance, I thought McCain was out of his mind with his decision.

Then, his justification was explained, and I understood and agreed with his position.

Todays military is a highly specialised and technologically advanced machine. Training a soldier in the time of advanced warfare takes considerable resources and time. Three years of service hardly recoups the efforts and expenditures for training.

John rarely mentions him but here a picture of his son, James McCain

http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2006/0607/nmccain.jpg

Say what you will about his service in the Marines, but he served

ccmanuals
05-27-2008, 01:14 PM
Most of the arguments here don't wash. Enlisted service people want the education for several of reasons none of which include the fantasy of getting out of the military and going to college and getting this high paying job. This does happen but not to the extent one would think. Service people want the college education and usually pursue it using the GI bill while they are still in the military. With that college diploma they have the potential to be officers or (and this where McCain is uninformed) to become senior NCO's. I know in the Air Force unless you have at least a BA or MA you can pretty much forget about becoming an E8 or E9.

ljb5
05-27-2008, 01:21 PM
Todays military is a highly specialised and technologically advanced machine. Training a soldier in the time of advanced warfare takes considerable resources and time.

I totally agree.

That's why I feel that military service should be rewarded handsomely and come with nice benefits such as the G.I. bill. It's a professional organization and it needs to attract professional, highly-motivated, dedicated people.

Offering a college education is a good way to do that.

Unfortunately, the current military is having some problems attracting highly qualified candidates. They've had to lower their standards a little -- being more tolerant of criminal records and gang activities and such.

Bob Smalser
05-27-2008, 02:16 PM
While I understand what McCain's trying to do, I think he's mistaken.

My experience is the guys who reup for second hitches joined the Army to get out of going to school. There are plenty of second-termers under the Montgomery GI Bill, and there will also be under Webb's full GI Bill.

Like Chuck, I had the full GI Bill....only I never used a cent of it. And that's part of the concern. Right now the Montgomery GI Bill pays for itself because everybody kicks in $1200 during their first year and sufficiently few use it after they get out that it's practically a free program to the taxpayers. That will change significantly with full benefits and no member contributions.

Pernicious Atavist
05-27-2008, 04:07 PM
I finished college using my GI bill after retiring from the military.

As I understand it, the bill would pay for fours years of education for three years active/three reserve service. I'm all for that.

However:

-There's already a manpower shortage
-There's a skill/experience shortage
-There's a fiscal shortage

So, doing what's "right" for the troops, is not always what's "right" or "realistic" in times of dire need. What's MOST right for the troops is to not send them to war at all, but to send the politicians.

Do the troops need to be given all consideration and opportunity? YES! Undoubtedly, but is this a realistic plan?

Ya know--I smell a rat--I think the bill is a ploy to get GIs to vote Democratic and to find an "unimpeachable" way to drain more money out of DoD's budget and thus its ability to afford war-making.

Why? Because it may pass, and the Congress will require DoD to pay for it without additional funding.

George Roberts
05-27-2008, 04:27 PM
ljb5 ---

"Instead of just telling us what McCain said, why don't you tell us what you think about it?'

I think we should have nuked Afghanistan and Iraq into dust. The war would be over and we would not be debating such a stupid issue.

ljb5
05-27-2008, 04:31 PM
However:

-There's already a manpower shortage
-There's a skill/experience shortage
-There's a fiscal shortage

This plan would probably help the manpower shortage by attracting more people.

It would probably help the skill shortage by attracting people interested in going to college.

We'll have to see the details about the fiscal shortage, but it's probably not very significant when compared to the costs of war.... and it's for a good cause and it would be money spent in U.S. colleges and college towns, so it will have a beneficial effect of stimulating those economies.


Ya know--I smell a rat--I think the bill is a ploy to get GIs to vote Democratic and to find an "unimpeachable" way to drain more money out of DoD's budget and thus its ability to afford war-making.

Why? Because it may pass, and the Congress will require DoD to pay for it without additional funding.

The DoD's ability to afford war making has never been influenced by a budget. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been funded entirely through emergency (off the budget) bills.

I haven't seen the details yet, but this would probably be funded through the department of Veterans Affairs, which I believe is separate from the Pentagon.

I suppose it could be a trick. Lord knows it wouldn't be the first time that one political party used the the threat of embarrassing another political party --- especially in an election year. The Republicans have done it often enough and for much less admirable programs such as domestic wire-tapping.

It could be a trick, but if it is, it's a trick that would give a valuable education to tens of thousands of the most deserving Americans, one that would stimulate local economies, increase their lifetime earning potential and help bring people and skills to our armed services.

If it is a trick, it's the best political trick I've seen in a long time. Kinda like eliminating the gas tax for three months --- except a million times better.

George Roberts
05-27-2008, 04:38 PM
"My experience is the guys who reup for second hitches joined the Army to get out of going to school."

The problem is that when one changes the benefits the type of people who serve the first term changes - those who come for the benefit and leave as soon as they qualify will increase.

And then in peace time, if we ever have a peace time, think they are entitled to the benefit. And the economics of the benefit just gets worse.

ljb5
05-27-2008, 04:51 PM
And then in peace time, if we ever have a peace time, think they are entitled to the benefit. And the economics of the benefit just gets worse.

I, for one, would be delighted to suffer that inconvenience!

Peace and higher education?

Bring 'em on!

Nicholas Scheuer
05-27-2008, 05:18 PM
There is one key difference between WW-2 and Iraq, "Duration", neither of which should overide the current bill, but should be part of the discussion, because "troops will quit to go to school" is part of the discussion.

Iraq vets serve one or more finite tours, according to how their reserve unit is deployed (I omit the Regular Army, Air Force, and Navy people).

In WW-2 everybody served for "the Duration". After the war, most of the troops were redundant.

The fact that the Shrub is fighting this war "on the cheap" with reserve trioops instead of a draft, and on borrowed money, while businesses of various types, from halburtion to Black Water run up HUGE profits, illustrates Bush's immoral character better than anything.

Terry Etapa
05-27-2008, 05:43 PM
I joined only for the GI bill. For my 2 years of active service, I got $15,200. For an investment of $15,200, the US got an engineer. If one looks at taxable income without a degree, and taxable income with a degree, the income with a degree is on average higher. Over my tax paying life time, the difference I will pay in income tax will give the government back the $15,200 plus a good return on investment.

While I was in the army, there were many I would say came from the "lower rungs of the intellectual ladder". Those of us who wanted the educational benefits moved up the ranks faster, and had more demanding positions. In other words, were of more value to the unit.

paladin
05-27-2008, 06:07 PM
Most of the guys I know/knew that used the G.I. Bill were always in school at one of the bases Universities/campuses on base like USAFI or University of Maryland, and NOT using the G.I. Bill while on active duty. Then after discharge proceeded to traditional schools. I joined for the educational benefits while on active duty and the G.I. bill was Gravy for me to further my education.....and the givment benefitted far more than if I went back to Okiehoma and took some buck ninety eight job.

abbyj
05-27-2008, 06:41 PM
While I understand what McCain's trying to do, I think he's mistaken.

My experience is the guys who reup for second hitches joined the Army to get out of going to school. There are plenty of second-termers under the Montgomery GI Bill, and there will also be under Webb's full GI Bill.

Like Chuck, I had the full GI Bill....only I never used a cent of it. And that's part of the concern. Right now the Montgomery GI Bill pays for itself because everybody kicks in $1200 during their first year and sufficiently few use it after they get out that it's practically a free program to the taxpayers. That will change significantly with full benefits and no member contributions.

Thanks for straightening that out:), I can only speculate the reason, having not served

ccmanuals
05-27-2008, 07:20 PM
Most of the guys I know/knew that used the G.I. Bill were always in school at one of the bases Universities/campuses on base like USAFI or University of Maryland, and NOT using the G.I. Bill while on active duty. Then after discharge proceeded to traditional schools. I joined for the educational benefits while on active duty and the G.I. bill was Gravy for me to further my education.....and the givment benefitted far more than if I went back to Okiehoma and took some buck ninety eight job.

Paladin, that of course is one way It could be done. You were referring to what's called tuition assistance. Unfortunately tuition assistance is actually more expensive to the individual than the GI Bill especially for graduate courses. I used 100% of my GI bill while still on active duty to obtain several undergraduate degrees and a graduate degree. The AF got one very educated senior NCO and of course I entered the civilian job market after retiring from the AF with excellent academic credentials. Win, win for all.

Bob Smalser
05-28-2008, 01:37 PM
My experience is the guys who reup for second hitches joined the Army to get out of going to school. There are plenty of second-termers under the Montgomery GI Bill, and there will also be under Webb's full GI Bill.

....that's part of the concern. Right now the Montgomery GI Bill pays for itself because everybody kicks in $1200 during their first year and sufficiently few use it after they get out that it's practically a free program to the taxpayers. That will change significantly with full benefits and no member contributions.

NPR this morning had on a former Asst Decfef for Personnel Bernard Rostker who clarified some points and added others I hadn't thought about.

He said in the current program, only 50% of GI's actually use the benefits they paid into, relying instead on the separately-funded in-service part-time education programs that run the services around $700 million a year. That means with Webb's $52b program only approximately half that will be used.

He forecasts a 16% rise in enlistments because of the increased benefit, and while he expects no real impact on reenlistments.

Webb's bill has no provisions for transferring education benefits to other family members. The idea is the next generation needs to earn their own benefits by enlisting.


webb.senate.gov/pdf/factsgibill.doc

• Increased educational benefits would be available to members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001. To qualify, veterans must have served at least two years of active duty, with at least some period of active duty time served beginning on or after September 11, 2001.

• The bill provides for educational benefits to be paid for a duration of time linked to time served in the military. Generally, veterans would not receive assistance for more than a total of 36 months, which equals four academic years.

• Benefits provided under the bill would allow veterans pursuing an approved program of education to receive payments covering the established charges of their program, and a monthly stipend of $1,000. The bill would allow additional payments for tutorial assistance, as well as licensure and certification tests. Benefit payments would be limited to the costs of the most expensive public institution in the state in which the veteran is enrolled.

• Veterans would have up to fifteen years, compared to ten years under the Montgomery GI bill, to use their educational assistance entitlement. Veterans would be barred from receiving concurrent assistance from this program and another similar program.


McCain's recommendation OTOH, is to allow transfer of unused benefits to family members for servicemen serving over 6 years:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200805190007


There are some marked differences between the two bills -- deepening the standoff between McCain and Webb, who are both Vietnam War veterans.

In particular, McCain's bill seeks to transfer educational benefits to the spouses and children of military members who spend at least six years in the military. Webb's bill as it stands now does not address the issue of transferability.

Based on the current usage rate of 50% or even slightly higher for Webb's bill, transferring benefits will likely double the actual cost, because most GI's are likely to use that option on behalf of their dependents. Yet Gates and the Joint Chiefs are hard over for it:


Sharp disagreement over giving troops the right to transfer their GI Bill benefits to family members is complicating efforts to pass a bill that would improve the overall program.
The Pentagon insists that service members be given a way to pass GI Bill benefits to family members, while many key lawmakers oppose the change.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed its GI Bill improvement plan April 30 with no provision about sharing benefits with family members because the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., does not support the idea.

The committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., an Army Reserve officer and former chairman of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee, also is against the idea.
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a Marine veteran and leader of the growing movement in Congress to pass GI Bill legislation, also does not believe service members should have the option to transfer GI Bill benefits to family members. He thinks the benefits should be used solely by service members for their own educational growth.
On the other side of the issue is Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said in an April 29 letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he opposes Webb’s bill, S 22.
He called transferability of unused education benefits “essential,” and said it is the “highest priority” of the Joint Chiefs.

“Transferability supports military families, thereby enhancing retention,” Gates said.
Webb’s bill, known as the 21st Century GI Bill and the Post-9/11 Veterans’ Educational Assistance Act, also drew complaints from Gates because he said its proposed benefits are too rich.
It would pay full tuition for a four-year public college plus a stipend equal to the housing allowance for an E-5 with dependents, an amount expected to average about $2,500 per month.
Gates said “serious retention issues could arise” if the basic education benefit is more than about $1,500 a month — the average cost of tuition, room, board and fees at a four-year public college.
Gates’ cost objections also would apply to the bill passed by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. That bill, HR 5684, would increase basic GI Bill benefits to $1,450, up from the current $1,101, but includes a monthly stipend of $500 for full-time students.

Buyer said he “respectfully disagrees” with Gates.

“This would be bad policy that changes the intent of the GI Bill, which was to put the service members in a better economic position when they get out,” Buyer said.
There is another GI Bill proposal that Gates supports, sponsored by a group of Senate Republicans that includes John McCain of Arizona, presidential candidate and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain’s bill, S 2938, has 17 co-sponsors — 16 Republicans and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., a McCain ally.
In a statement, McCain said the bill “focuses on the entire spectrum of military members who make up the all-volunteer force, from the newest recruit to the career NCOs, officers, reservists and National Guardsmen, to veterans who have completed their service and retirees, as well as the families of all of these individuals.”
The transfer-rights provision in the bill would allow service members to give 50 percent of their GI Bill benefits to spouses or children after six years of service and transfer any portion of their GI Bill benefits after 12 years of service.

The Republican option also would pay a $500 annual allowance for books and raise monthly GI Bill benefits for Guard and reserve members to $1,200, up from the current $880. It would allow GI Bill benefits to be used to repay up to $6,000 a year in federal student loans, an idea also contained in HR 5684.
McCain said he hopes a bipartisan agreement can be reached to work out differences and accommodate Pentagon concerns into a larger package.
For the moment, Webb is not negotiating because he has 56 Senate and 261 House co-sponsors as of May 1 — enough to guarantee passage if he can get the bill to a vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pledged at an April 29 rally for S 22 that a vote is coming quickly.
“This legislation is wise; it has consensus; it brings us together in a bipartisan way,” Pelosi said. “We are going to say thank you to our veterans by sending them to college.”

In the Senate, Webb needs three more senators to vote with him to amass the 60 votes he might need to overcome procedural hurdles if Republicans try to block his bill.

ccmanuals
05-28-2008, 01:45 PM
Bob, what do you make of this statement that was made by McCain? Makes no sense to me.



Saying he takes "a back seat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans," McCain (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/candidates/john.mccain.html) said Webb's bill would be a disincentive for service members to become noncommissioned officers, which he called "the backbone of all the services."


How does an education become a disincentive to become an NCO? Like I said, sounds squirrelly to me.

Bob Smalser
05-28-2008, 02:01 PM
Bob, what do you make of this statement that was made by McCain? Makes no sense to me.

How does an education become a disincentive to become an NCO? Like I said, sounds squirrelly to me.

As you know, 2 years of college is becoming a minimum requirement for senior NCO's. But they usually get it in on-post education programs.

McCain, Gates and the JCS believe Webb's GI bill is so attractive it's a disincentive for first-termers to reenlist. Their bill is slightly less generous than Webb's but opens the door for the first time to transferring the benefit to family members, which given the current 50% usage rate, may make McCain's bill more costly in the long term.

As an infantry type with most of my time in personnel-heavy units, I reenlisted hundreds if not thousands of my first-term soldiers eligible for either the original or Montgomery GI Bill, most of whom went on to serve 20 years or more. They were smarter than McCain gives them credit for...what most went for as they came to realize it was the value of a 20-year retirement which today is well over a million dollars for an E-7 who lives a full life. They considered their GI Bill benefits money in the bank to use later, however when the time came and new careers and family responsibilities came into play, few used much of the benefit.

Whether the GI Bill was worth X or 5-times X made little difference to their decision to stay in. They reenlisted because they liked their jobs, they liked the people, and they saw a secure future for themselves in the service.

Last, one benefit not discussed at all is that a generous GI bill nets you better junior officers. There will be plenty of first-termers who get out then use ROTC and the National Guard Simultaneous Enlistment Programs to obtain a commission along with the college degree, along with a perfect part-time job for a college student.

When VOLAR and the Army College Fund first began in the late 70's, combat-arms soldiers could serve only a 2-year enlistment and get out to go to school. Many did, enrolled in ROTC and the ARNG, and came back to me in the middle-late 1980's as infantry lieutenants with much more experience than their traditional West Point-ROTC counterparts, and did exceptionally well. Those were the junior officers who brought you Gulf War I with so few casualties, and many are still serving.

Tanbark Spanker
05-28-2008, 02:41 PM
"Use a gun, go to college." Great program.

ccmanuals
05-28-2008, 03:19 PM
"Use a gun, go to college." Great program.

or, defend your country and protect your rights and way of life and if you live we will help you get an education.

Tanbark Spanker
05-28-2008, 04:04 PM
I thought this was about the GI Bill, not about the security/terror products exportation of the Pentagon and it's world industrialists.

What, do we have to hire Blackwater to go after these guys?

George Roberts
05-28-2008, 04:54 PM
"the value of a 20-year retirement which today is well over a million dollars"

And they need a larger incentive?

Considering that no other business gives people with that skill level such a retirement plan perhaps the best GI bill would be to remove the retirement plan.

Tanbark Spanker
05-28-2008, 04:59 PM
That's pretty good money for gun-thuggery. I say fire them all. Let them find productive jobs that do not require the promotion of fear and death and other organized crimes.

PeterSibley
05-28-2008, 05:15 PM
ljb5 ---

"Instead of just telling us what McCain said, why don't you tell us what you think about it?'

I think we should have nuked Afghanistan and Iraq into dust. The war would be over and we would not be debating such a stupid issue.

Was that some kind of attempt at humor ??????:eek::(:mad: Inhuman Idiot !:(:eek:

Tanbark Spanker
05-28-2008, 05:23 PM
Novel idea: require two years of military service and provide free education and health care to everyone. Why isn't this the policy? Shouldn't we all share the burden of holding the world hostage for the elites?

sv Lorelei
05-28-2008, 07:53 PM
My wife's nephew just mustered out of the Navy after doing a four year hitch out of highschool. He's a smart kid, coming from a solid middle middle class family. His feeling was that the wage/retirement differential of staying in didn't match his potential in getting out and getting himself an education, and since he only had a HS diploma, it wasn't like they were going to advance him real far as it was. He spent four years, banked most of his pay, and took what benefits he got. Now he's working and going to school at night. Lose/Lose for the armed forces!

It's my understanding that the current free market wages of a hired gun (security consultant) are a lot higher than that of a grunt on the ground. We ask a lot of our enlisted. We ask them to volunteer to go into harms way in very real sense. We ask them to put whatever personal life they have on hold while the government deploys them as need dictates, knowing that it probably won't be in their personal best interests. Giving them an education in exchange for that (the whole retirement issue aside, because it's a different issue for most of these guys), doesn't seem like a bad exchange compared to the societal return on investment we've historically gotten out of these people.

Not to sound Ishmaelian, but my Brother and I have had several discussions about the attitude of our Parent's generation coming out of WWII that the felt they could at least give anything a shot and the worst that might happen is they might fail....a lot of them did. The ones that did not pulled a lot of others along by their bootstraps, and enlistment incentives aside, I think that's what were trying to accomplish as a society, to create an atmosphere of dynamism and entrepreneurship that's been essentially beaten out of the economy over the last thirty-odd years.