“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Government welfare plan to be proud of, the new GI Bill

Well done. $78 billion and worth every penny. The recent previous programs were a farce. This is a bill that is both generous and adequate. It is expensive, but a just and wise investment in the lives and future families of worthy Americans that stood up and served.


New GI Bill Sending Veterans to School This Fall

Published: July 31, 2009
Filed at 3:46 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Spc. Marco Reininger started the year on the dusty streets of Afghanistan. He'll end it on the campus of Columbia University with the government picking up a large chunk of the $100,000 tab for tuition.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill rolls out on Saturday, just in time for the fall semester for veterans of the recent wars. Reminiscent of the GI education benefits signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt two weeks after D-Day in 1944, the measure is aimed at transforming the lives of a new generation of veterans.

President Barack Obama on Monday will attend a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in celebration.

In the next decade, $78 billion is expected to be paid out under the new GI Bill, which is the most comprehensive education benefit offered since World War II.

Many veterans who served after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are eligible for full tuition and fees for four years at a state university, a monthly housing stipend and up to $1,000 annually for books. Among those covered are members of the Guard and Reserve who spent three months or more activated for war service, giving them vastly improved benefits.

If they opt to attend a private institution or graduate program, they can receive aid up to the cost of a public college in the state. About 1,100 schools and colleges are offering additional scholarships for veterans that the VA is matching under a Yellow Ribbon program.

Many veterans say they can't help but be thankful.

''It definitely makes it more valuable,'' Reininger, 25, a member of the New York Army National Guard, said of his combat experience. ''Without that deployment, I couldn't be eligible for anything.''

By 1947, nearly half of all college students in America were veterans. The program cost $14.5 billion, and more than half of the nation's 15 million World War II veterans participated in some sort of educational program.

One of them was Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., 85, the child of immigrants from hard-scrabble Paterson, N.J., who fought in Europe at age 18. The GI Bill paid for him to go to Columbia University.

''In a way, I'm not even sure I would've gone to college,'' Lautenberg said. ''The horizon was so limited. I couldn't think in terms of the future.''

Lautenberg signed on early to the new GI Bill legislation, which was authored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., 63, a Vietnam veteran whose Marine son fought in Iraq.

Webb attended the U.S. Naval Academy before his war service and Georgetown University's law school afterward. He said paying for education sends a signal about the value of military service and helps veterans with readjustment issues.

''There's a tremendous downstream effect on the emotional well-being on the people who have served if you treat them right,'' he said.

Webb said he's had success convincing others in Congress of the need for the new GI Bill by showing that when inflation is considered, veterans from the current wars are receiving about 15 percent of what some World War II veterans had received.

Aubrey Arcangel, 27, an Iraq veteran who attends City College of New York, recalls chatting with some of his Army buddies in Iraq worried about finding a job in the recession, and telling them about the new benefit.

''They were worried about getting out and looking for a job, and I said, 'Listen, this new GI Bill will do good for you,''' Arcangel said.

The legislation didn't pass without a fight. Some lawmakers complained about the cost, and the Pentagon expressed concerns that many troops would leave the military to attend college. A popular benefit was added that allowed members of the military to transfer the benefit to spouses or children if they agree to serve an additional four years.

It's anticipated that 485,000 veterans or their family members could participate in the first year. About 112,000 claims have been processed so far, and more than 1 million callers have flooded a VA call center this year with questions. About 25,000 service members have applied to use the transfer benefit.

There are concerns that universities and the VA could be overwhelmed, in part, because the benefit is complex. And, there are complaints that veterans attending private schools in states like California that kept their public tuition low face a major disparity in what they receive.

Keith M. Wilson, education service director at the VA, said agency officials are working with Congress on solutions to potential problems, but the agency overall feels good about its ability to execute the program.

''There's certainly going to be things that will not go as expected. We would expect to be able to learn from those situations and correct them quickly and move on,'' Wilson said.

Veterans from the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which aggressively lobbied for the bill, are back on Capitol Hill pushing for what they call a GI Bill fix. Among other changes, it would seek to solve the disparity in tuition amounts covered and grant new benefits for vocational programs. It would also provide a living allowance for those who live too far from a university and take classes online.

''The benefit is fantastic, it's transformative, it's historic, but we also have serious concerns about where it stands right now,'' said Paul Rieckhoff, the group's executive director and founder.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., said Friday his committee will address the proposed fixes this fall, and he anticipates they will be implemented a year from now.

Iraq veteran Isaac Pacheco, 27, from Union, Ky., a Marine in the Individual Ready Reserve who is publications editor at AMVETS, said he's grateful for the thousands of dollars he's receiving to help pay for a graduate program this fall at Georgetown University.

''Veterans are a really valuable resource to the learning pool, to the marketplace of ideas, so they're going to bring a lot of valuable experience to these universities,'' Pacheco said.


On the Net:

Veterans Affairs Department site on new GI Bill:

Defense Department site on new GI Bill:

Nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America new GI Bill site:


  1. "Fuckin Fantastic!"

  2. Yep!

    Great for the vets.

    Good for academe, too. Several hundred thousand serious students to offset the ivory tower progressives.

    Long term benefits for the country. Cheap at twice the price? I hope they don't welsh on the stipends.

  3. From a market low of 6,500 the Dow Jones Industrials have now reached 9,200.

    Almost a 41.5% climb, in just fve months.

    Man o man, is Obama ever creating wealth, here in the US.

    He was blamed, here at the EB, for the drop, so we gotta give him credit for the rise. ;-)

    Back to 06NOV08 levels, already.

    Wonder what the 'morrow brings?

  4. Doing so well, we can give away reasonable GI Bill benefits and ever more Pell Grants.

    Funding the liberal Halls of Academia for all we're worth.

  5. Better'n funding the neighbor 2 doors down with a windfall for trading in the car he was going to replace anyway, or luring his nephew into buying a car he can't afford because "look at the money I saved, uncle!" Or, driving up the price on a decent used car his niece has been saving for so she can commute to the community college between part time jobs.

    Rent seekers, tax eaters, and greenies can all go to hell. And take their cheerleaders with them.

  6. Rent seekers, tax eaters, and greenies can all go to hell.

    Why sure they can.

    An E-4 with 3 years service is makung $2,000 per month base pay.
    With housing and food included.

    So a single E-4 is making $24,000 a year. His housing allowance is valued at another $920 per month, in Montgomery, AL.

    While the BAS allowance (food) is valued at $320 per month. Basic allowances adding another $1,240 a month or $14,880 annually, to our E4s total compensation.

    $39,000 per year, for an E4 over 3 years.
    Seemingly a reasonable amount for a 21 year old supply clerk.

    Now most initial service contracts are for three or four years. Let's use four years as the median, even though that is not the reality.

    Published: July 31, 2009

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Students at Alabama State University ...
    ... A semester at ASU now costs $2,808 for in-state residents and
    $5,616 for out of state students

    With fees, let's just use $3,000 per semsester, that'd be $6,000 per year. Then the $1,000 for books. $7,000 per year.

    Which brings the value of the compensation for the four years of service to $46,000 per year.

    For a High School graduate without college, with three years experience on the job.

    Looks like a classic case of Rent seekers & tax eaters, getting more than is reasonable in return for three years of full employment.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The average accountant in the US recieving $3,300 per month, the average firefighter, $2,729.

    An E4 over 3 in the US military that takes advantage of the new GI Bill, $3,833.

  9. At that rate there is no further need to thank someone for their service.

    They should be thankng US.

  10. What with the mortality rates being higher for students at ASU than for soldiers in Baghdad.

    The 'risk factor', is not a real factor, at all.

  11. Looks like a classic case of Rent seekers & tax eaters, getting more than is reasonable in return for three years of full employment.

    Except your E-4 tax eater "supply clerk" faces a deployment to Afghanistan any day now, and how many deployments within his 4 year hitch, using recent rotations? "Rent seeker" doesn't apply, imo, but that's a technicality.

    How many of the rent seekers, tax eaters, and greenies I was referring to are employed with an 11 Bravo job description, or equivalent, and assured opportunities to travel to strange and exotic places?

  12. Just where can you get an accountant for $3,300 or a firefighter for $2,729 per month?

  13. That is the job, lineman, to travel to far away places and meet interesting people.

    The nubmer of deployments is meaningless, but average two in four years of service.
    Jr did three, but two were to Japan, only one to Iraq. He kept volunteering to go, overseas.

    But even with two deployments to Iraq or Afpakistan, there is no increase in the marginal risk, as the mortality rate compared to being in Alabama confirm.

    Want to make the GI BIll applicable only to "Combat Vets" I'd be on board, but it applies to each and every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine, and for the most part, they have already been fully compensated for their time and efforts.

  14. Average Salary in the United States - Job and Sector Comparison.

    The gross monthly income is obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey

  15. The answer seems to be Anywhere, USA.

  16. The cookie jar is empty.

    The quicker that sinks home, the sooner the real recovery can begin.

  17. The Service member of today is not comparable to a WWII draftee.
    They are worlds apart.

  18. It 's just that you have more empathy, based upon your life experiences, for the Service members than for the other rent seekers and tax eaters.

    But that does not change the fact that they are still rent seekers and tax eaters, if only at the entry level.

    That have already been "fairly compensated" for their time and service is beyond dispute.

  19. It's so much more fun when one needn't bother.

  20. a. Your tables are for 2005, four years out of date?
    b. You offer gross estimates for the E-4 11Bravo supply clerk, but quote net, not gross for accountants and firefighters.
    $4,321, not $3,370; and $3,454, not $2,729; respectively.
    c. Adjust for annual increases in pay, figure 3% per year, plus 12% since 2005: accountant--$4,389, firefighter--$3,868
    d. The tables may look good for a first cut comparison, but start comparing them to actual earnings in the largest 200 or 300 metro areas across the country, and they wouldn't hold up to reality.

    e. This whole exercise is bullshit anyhow, comparing apples to oranges.

  21. That have already been "fairly compensated" for their time and service is beyond dispute.

    Better compensated than you or me, certainly. And worth it. But beyond dispute? Naw.

    Damned right I empathize.

  22. Must be a slow Friday night in Scottsdale.

    Time to liven it up.

    Elvin Bishop - Travelin' Shoes

  23. You ARE helping to pay for my daughter's SAS.

    I cannot think of a better recipient.

    And I mean that.

  24. That license plate frame souvenir is yours, don't forget.

  25. Save her brother. Who will soon be sucking everything else dry.

    Congratulations, Patrick.

  26. The Bestest Porn, Ever. Now, if we can just find the video.

    Missile Intercept

  27. Sometimes we forget just "how good" we are.

  28. A couple of points:

    What is the marginal improvement in earning capacity on a university or college graduate? Assume for a moment that it is $20,000 per year over 40 years, likely less at the beginning and more at the end. That is an improvement in earning capacity of $800,000. Taxed at 30%, the government receives a cash flow, non-discounted, of $240,000.

    That is not the only economic activity generated. Each and every tuition results in ordinary income to every college and university.

    If it is $50,000 per year, the tax to the treasury is 30% or $15,000. The multiplier affect will be reduced by the savings of the wage recipient but one could expect The the spending of the $50,000 tuition would translate on round two activity of $45,000, taxed at 30% is $13,500. That means that the original tuition as it passes from hand to hand in the form of someone's pay check, generates revenue to the treasury of $28,500 after round two, and after five rounds is close to the original $50,000.

    It does not stop there.

    The government does not save money. it spends it. Most of all government spending ends up as ordinary income to someone somewhere. Every dollar taken in by tax gets spent again and is taxed again.

    The economic affect of the GI bill is a net gain and benefit by any measure to all who participate, taxpayers and beneficiaries alike.

  29. Before you say it, a university or college is tax exmept, but the earnings of their employees, vendors and contractors is not. The price of any product or service is ultimately income to someone, taxable as ordinary income.

  30. There is, absolutely, bar none, no better investment the Country can make than send these young men to College.

    We need them there for so many reasons. And, yes, we'll get our money back Many times over.

  31. And, you're right, Deuce; we'll, immediately, get a good chunk of it back. And, the rest of it, probably, many times over in the long run.

  32. I just put up a link to another successful missile intercept.

    That beautiful ship is populated by young, "high school graduates."

    You think those boys, and girls, won't make fine "Engineers, and Scientists?"

    Think again. There are probably a couple of dozen young high school graduates on that ship with IQ's pushing up against "Genius" levels.

    This is the best long-term "stimulus" program we could possibly adopt.

  33. The crux of the discussion, lineman, is whether or not the reecipreients need the welfare.
    Whether it is the proper role of Government to provide such welfare, to those that are not crippled or infirm.

    If we we "real" economists, we'd factor in the graduation rates of the beneficiaries. As part of the cost benefit analysis.

    The truth of the matter, the E4s are well paid for what they do. They should not become welfare reciprients when they leave the Serivce.
    The old system of matching funds plus served anyone willing to make a short term financial sacrifice, while serving, to fund their college activities.

    That Program should, could have been modified and espanded, rather than just birthing another Government welfare program.

    But that is not what Federal Socialists do.

    No cost/reward ratios need be applied. The government investing in people, businesses, and the such. That is the socialist way, and away we've gone. From colleges and universities right on over to GM and Goldman Sucks.

    Another indication that it is the personalities, not the ideology that is the driving force in the US. Because ideologically, most everyone is attune, to federal socialism.

    The Government investing, to better prosper the Government.

    If that helps the People, well and good. If it does not, well that barely slows 'em down.

    That unlike Tarrington smokers, most Americans would rather switch than fight.

    The past 50 years stand in stark example of that.

  34. For bob:

  35. Always for the public good.

    Doing what is deemed 'best'.

    Embrace the expanding power of government and you get the GI BIll and Cash for Clunkers.

    Every constituency gets its' due.

  36. I'm proud to be an asshole form el-paso.....still laughing at that one.

  37. Aww, heck, Rat, we gotta do Something to keep ourselves occupied.

  38. Not saying that I agree with the sentiment (or, that I don't) but I couldn't resist the title.

    Fuck Texas

    We've all felt like this, at some time, about some place or the other.

  39. Typical Texans. Too dumb to "stump-break" a pony, and they end up "hosing sheep."

  40. I'm not hanging around, but a lightning storm took out my e-mail.

    Linear, could you send me something, so's I have you on my e=mail list again.

    This is the second time this has happened.

    I got some pics, Linear.

    Good day to you, Trish.


  41. And I am sorry. lineman, that the data sets publicly available are three years old.

    But as the news reports tells us, wages have stagnated for a decade, so I doubt there is much change, there.

    As to net or gross, the gross tax on $24,000 is 7.62% FICA and the Federal income tax:
    AGI 24,000
    *Deductions - 5,450
    *Exemptions - 3,400
    Taxable Income = 15,150
    Bracket: 15.0%
    Estimated Income Tax: 1,871

    Estimated FICA tax $1,829

    Total Estimated Taxes $3,700
    $300 per month.

    Adjusted Net Income for the E4,
    $21,300. Plus the allowances.

    The E4's adjusted monthly net income, to compare apples to apples, net to net:
    $3,533 E4 with new GI Bill
    $2,729 Fireman 2005

    Because so much of the military pay is tax exempt allowances.

  42. "Good day to you, Trish."

    Oh my God, that's it?

  43. The Impact of the G.I. Bill

    To illustrate the profound impact of the G.I. Bill one needs only recite the stark statistics: two years before the war approximately 160,000 U.S. citizens were in college. By 1950, the figure had risen to nearly 500,000. In 1942, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college enrollments.

    Yet these stark statistics tell only half the story. The extent of the profound changes had only begun. The HBCUs benefited from the enlargement of the colleges through the parallel Lanham Act (1946) that stabilized the marginal colleges and strengthened the others. Twenty-five research universities existed before the war and 125 afterwards. Before the war, 10 percent of students attended college, and the G.I. Bill led to 51 percent of students being able to attend. Seven million veterans took advantage of education and training, with 2.2 million of them attending college.

    The restrictions against Jews and Catholics were quietly dropped, and thousands of blacks attended previously white universities and colleges. The provision of subsidized housing allowed thousands of veterans to buy houses and flock to the suburbs. The "52-20" provision of the bill (a $20 a week subsidy for 52 weeks for veterans who were out of work) enabled blacks for the first time to make the same wages as whites in the South. Indeed, thousands of blacks and whites were thrust into the middle class, and their children did not wonder whether they would go to college, but where they would go.

    That profound change in American social and economic relations was brought about by the revolution of the G.I. Bill in its impact on the American people. The men and women who had fought in the war were transformed by the Act from poor working-class citizens to middle-class citizens, from citizens who worked with their hands to professionals who worked with their minds, from renters to homeowners.

  44. And the net is the thing that "really" counts, isn't it?

  45. If we need a military, then we should pay for it. Most of the vets I knew, while in college using the GI bill, were smart ambitious guys who went on to create jobs and build wealth.

  46. That certainly is true, about post WWII and the effects of mass mobilization and the resulting boom in Universities and Colleges brought on by the original GI Bill.

    Universities Federally subsidized on both the front and back ends. Bringing about the social and cultural changes exemplified by the "60's".

    Today the rate of High School grads attending College or University: 55.7%.

    So, as lineman says, comparing the two GI Bills and their prospective impacts, like apples and oranges.

    How much of a percentage raise in attendance will we achieve for $7.8 billion per year, now?

  47. Oh wait, that 55% figure was for 2004, mia culpa


    In October 2008, 68.6 percent of 2008 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Since the Army has been held to to the same manpower levels, the number of recruits can guide us as to how many service members are leaviing.

    The Army is recruiting 80,000 service members, annually.
    So it is discharging about the same. The Army is about a third of the total active force, so 250,000 leaving active service seems about right.

    So if every servicemember took advantage of the Program at $7,000 per year, that $1.75 billion.

    Leaving $6 billion unaccounted for.
    A lot of tax eating, there.

  50. Yeah, I'm not reading either.

  51. Or it is really "back loaded", like the rest of the stimulous package.

    Promise now, pay later.

  52. Percentages, pershmentages. I don't care. These are the kids I want in school. I want these kids in the "pool" of future leaders.

    We can't go wrong educating these types of people.

    Plus, they'll drive the dimwit, commie, touchie-feelie professors batshit crazy. It'd be worth it just for that.

  53. Ahh, but that makes it all the more fun, not that you'll know that now, either.

  54. This is called the Joy of Blogging.

  55. I would guess, a half a billion/yr would be the Most they could possibly spend on this program.

    Remember, just because the money is available, doesn't mean it gets spent.

  56. Oh don't you know it, rufus.

    Since the military service members mirror Ameica, it'll be more of the same.

    Looking beyond officers and new enlistees to the total enlisted population, 10 percent are Hispanic, compared to 14 percent of the civilian workforce aged 18 to 44, but 22 percent are African American, compared to 13 percent of comparable civilians. This last figure might be the source of lingering misconceptions. While the number of African Americans who join the military is about the same as the number of African Americans in the comparable civilian population, more African Americans stay in the military longer. It could be that this is due to fewer good employment options in the civilian world. However, studies have shown that the military is better racially integrated than any other segment of American society. Therefore, it is just as likely that African Americans stay in the military because it is a rare slice of America where merit matters more than race and where Americans of all ethnic backgrounds are treated fairly.

    If we are concerned about who bears the scars of war, we also need to look at who serves in risky combat specialties. Even with a higher proportion of African Americans in the enlisted ranks, it turns out that only about 12 percent of African American enlistees serve in direct combat specialties, compared to about 18 percent of white and Hispanic enlistees. Conversely, only about 12 percent of white enlistees serve in less-risky functional support and administrative specialties, compared to about 27 percent of African-American and 18 percent of Hispanic enlistees

    These guys and gals no different from the other 68% of their peers that are in college.

  57. And here I thought it was freewheeling conversation, civil and interesting.

  58. I've listened.

    I've taken notes.

    I've raised my hand and participated.

    Can I have my cookie now?

  59. One a them maccaroons with the sparklie stuff.

  60. (And that is probably the best thread ending ever,)

  61. Elvin Bishop captures Bob pretty well. Jump back up thread to Travelin' Shoes and skip ahead to 5:14.

  62. Had the tape of that on on the car stereo a couple years ago. Middle of the night, open road east of Flagstaff, nice tailwind...glanced down at the speedo...104. Not bad for an old 4Runner runnin' on blend.