February 3, 2008

The "Greatest Generation" Doesn't Give A Shit About Their Grandchildren

Although this "Op Ed" is a thinly veiled promo for private enterprise to pick up the slack, the bigger picture might be the unbelievably callous attitude of former vets who took the goodies and turned their backs on Vietman, Gulf War and Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans. What every happened to "leave no man behind?"
Give vets their due: a college educationJanuary 27, 2008
After serving in the Navy in World War II, Marylander Charles Schelberg was able to attend Washington College in Chestertown thanks to the GI Bill, which covered all his costs. Mr. Schelberg, who hailed from a working-class family of Chesapeake Bay watermen, was the first in his family to attend college and earned an economics degree that led to a successful career in community banking.
[...] When today's military veterans return home from their nightmarish tours of combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, many nurture dreams of earning a college degree, just as many of their grandparents did after serving in World War II.
Unfortunately, the nation is not responding to their service as it did in Charles Schelberg's day.
[...] Today's combat veterans encounter a GI Bill whose stinginess would have been unimaginable to their grandparents. It is sad to chart how far it has fallen and how inadequate are its current benefits. Gone are the glory days of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (the formal name of the GI Bill), which enabled millions of servicemen back from World War II to enter the hitherto largely inaccessible world of higher education. The GI Bill helped make the "Greatest Generation" great, paving the way for prosperity and the postwar boom years and permanently lowering the barriers to American higher education. Nearly 8 million veterans filled the nation's classrooms thanks to its benefits.
Yes, the GI Bill still exists, although in a different form now known as the "Montgomery GI Bill," and it still offers education benefits. But today's version makes education benefits a voluntary, contributory program; to receive any tuition benefits from Uncle Sam, you must have agreed in advance to a monthly deduction from your meager paycheck. Worse yet, the benefit is just a fraction of what is needed to meet today's tuition costs. Reservists who have returned from the battlefield earn even less than enlisted soldiers.
By contrast, the grandparents of today's veterans attended college free of tuition payments and free of the burdensome tuition-generated debt that most of today's veterans will shoulder. [...] http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.gibill27jan27,0,4866005.story

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