House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe is preparing legislation that would require service members to “buy into their Post 9/11 GI Bill”, according to an article in Military Times and several other military oriented news outlets like Stripes. According to these same articles the American Legion, VFW, and other pro-military groups are up in arms about the possible congressional proposal.
The VFW is saying that the Post 9/11 GI Bill “is earned through honorable service, not through out-of-pocket fees”. Roe’s staff and other supporters of the legislation claim it is needed to protect the GI Bill from cuts down the road. The idea is that if the service member is required to pay into the benefit then it is much harder to cut it in the future. The amount of money collected by requiring service members to pay into the program would come out to about 310 million dollars a year. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the 10 billion dollars a year the current Post 9/11 GI Bill is costing American tax payers.
I understand where these organizations are coming from, they want to support the troops who fight in Afghanistan and Iraq since the attacks of 9/11. They see military service as an honorable example of self sacrifice that deserves acknowledgment through government handouts. Handouts that get paid for by the people being protected by America’s best. The college money is just a part of the benefits package required to get people to do a job that other people don’t want to do or can’t do. And also of course ‘MERICA!
Does the VFW ever ask the military member if they want to go to college. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay up to the highest in-state tuition plus a stipend for housing. It comes out to about $50,000 a year for four years. I used my GI Bill because it was a use or lose situation and I like to get the taxes back that the government takes from me any chance I get. I guess free college is the only way we can support our troops because as you know people who don’t go to college are failures at life. If they had offered me $200,000 instead the GI Bill I probably would have taken the money.
A four year college degree doesn’t get you crap these days, especially if you spend the prime of your life in the military instead of working hard from the bottom up in a civilian industry. The GI Bill made more sense during times when the draft was in effect. Now the GI Bill is just more government bait to attract poor kids who didn’t get full ride scholarships out of high school. The ironic part is that half the kids that didn’t do good enough in high school to earn a college scholarship are probably not even going to use the GI Bill anyway. I run into veterans all the time that never used or plan to use their GI Bill, most of them give it to their kids.
How about instead of complaining about congress trying to cut a little government spending, the VFW, American Legion, and others work on getting us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and every other place where we have no business meddling. They should protest this empire like campaign to force our views and opinions on the entire world. If these groups care about soldiers then they should work on getting our troops home and out of harms way instead of fighting for free college. What good is free college to the troops getting killed in wars that had nothing to do with the events of 9/11.
The issue I have with the Post 9/11 GI Bill is that everyone that was in the military after 9/11 gets it, whether they ever step foot in a war zone or not. We are spending 10 billion dollars a year giving every military member a full ride college scholarship when only a small handful of the military still deploys to places that are even remotely dangerous. The government tries to make it seem like they are providing this benefit because all military members deserve it. If they deserve this money then cut the crap and give them cash and let them decide what to do with it.
The truth is that they need to offer these benefits to get poor, young, naive kids to join and fight in these unnecessary conflicts. In order to support all these campaigns that have sprung up since 9/11 the Democrat and Republican political elite need fresh new recruits to send into harms way. How do you get kids through the doors of a military recruiting office? Offer them free stuff, that’s how.
Who joins the military for a college scholarship? Definitely not the children of rich politicians or the children of the rich people donating hundreds of millions to the political campaigns of their puppet candidates. If the United States was in any real danger the average citizen would know it and would gladly pick up arms to defend their family and property regardless of the promise of a free college degree.
I am a retired military veteran that served from 1990 to 2014 and deployed 8 times in all conflicts from 1992 to 2014. I spent over 5 years of my life on military deployments including 27 months in Iraq and 10 months in Afghanistan. When I joined in 1990 I paid $100 a month during my first two years of service to qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill. I used half of my Montgomery GI Bill in the 1990s. Then in 2012 while still on active duty I changed my benefit over to the Post 9/11 which offered to pay a greater amount of my online tuition. I never received any of the $2400 back that I paid for the Montgomery GI Bill between 1990 and 1992, nor did I expect to.
I think congress should work on ending all these expensive military campaigns around the world. This would shrink the federal budget and lessen the tax burden on the United States citizens. Then maybe the service members, who are now at home in the United States with their families, can pay one hundred dollars less per month in taxes. This will offset the hundred dollars a month they need to pay into their GI Bill benefit. They will also be able to use TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) to get a Bachelors degree while on active duty if they really want one. TAP is also free money for college but is not a part of the GI Bill benefits. Then they can use their GI Bill to go to graduate school when they get out of the military and get a degree that really does open doors.
Also published on Medium.