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Can someone help me understand the GI Bill flap?

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 12:44 pm
Does McCain have a case? I don't really get why he's against it. What Webb's recommending seems good to me. McCain has said that he's worried that people will leave the service more quickly -- but don't they deserve benefits if they've served? And isn't withholding benefits unless they've served a certain amount of time (12 years?) kind of... mean?

This is an issue I've read a fair amount about and still don't really get, so if anyone gets it I'd love to have it broken down for me. Fine if it's partisan -- McCain person says "McCain's totally right because..." and someone else says "Webb is totally right because...", since it'd still probably be illuminating.

Thanks.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 12:52 pm
Re: Can someone help me understand the GI Bill flap?
sozobe wrote:
Does McCain have a case? I don't really get why he's against it. What Webb's recommending seems good to me. McCain has said that he's worried that people will leave the service more quickly -- but don't they deserve benefits if they've served? And isn't withholding benefits unless they've served a certain amount of time (12 years?) kind of... mean?

This is an issue I've read a fair amount about and still don't really get, so if anyone gets it I'd love to have it broken down for me. Fine if it's partisan -- McCain person says "McCain's totally right because..." and someone else says "Webb is totally right because...", since it'd still probably be illuminating.

Thanks.


It's not going to be a winner for him. I'm not up to speed on every detail of the case, but it seems pretty clear that McCain is more interested in keeping the forces strongly manned then he is interested in the general welfare of those who make up said forces, or who served their time for America. It can and will be used as an example of Republicans not really caring FOR the troops.

Cycloptichorn
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:01 pm
The reason McCain's resistance seems to make no sense to you Soz, is because it doesn't. The Webb/Hegel GI Bill has been out there talked about since at least early 2007, and those who are now resisting it are doing it mostly (IMO) because they didn't think of it first, and they don't want the Dems to get too much politcal capital out of it.

It is a win/win all around. In a nutshell it would pay room and board and a stipend of 1000 dollars a month to anyone who has served 2 (or 3, not sure) years active duty.

The old GI Bill enabled a whole generation of vets to opt for better lives, and people of good conscience can see this new one for what it is - an attempt by a veteran for veterans, to give them back something instead of just constantly paying lip service to "our men in uniform".
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:18 pm
Thanks, especially snood for further details.

McCain has a competing version, right? Am I in the ballpark that it'd require something like 12 years of service before benefits are granted? Or is that just status quo?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:21 pm
Ah, more here -- seems to be three years:

Quote:


http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/05/22/webb-wins-big-one-for-gis/
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:22 pm
The original GI bill came about to prevent massive unemployment in the US after WWII. As the army downsized, all those soldiers came home and the economy couldn't absorb that big a shift overnight. There was also a feeling of obligation to the troops, but don't think that was the only driver.

McCain's point is that today's army is not down-sizing and providing generous benefits to soldiers (and sailors and airmen) getting out does not benefit army retention in a time when it already has a severe problem.

The current benefit to GI's is very limited and arranged in a manner that most won't take it. You have to sign up at enlistment for a non-refundable portion of your pay to be contributed to a fund with a significant government match. Most soldiers aren't willing to give up pay and once you turn it down, you can't sign up later.

Where Webb is right on the money is that sending soldiers to college is a fundamental investment in the future of the US. All of those educated former soldiers can take the disipline they learned in the military combined with the education they got in college to form a solid core of leaders who will lead the country forward and vote for Obama.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:29 pm
:-)

Cool, thanks.

Motherlode here -- I think I'm starting to get it:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10561.html

Quote:


McCain's focus -- career officers and NCOs. Webb's focus -- regular vets.
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hanno
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:33 pm
The problem is we've got wannabe students in the trenches - no one's going to come out and say it, but if the military is to be any good to anyone, themselves included, we've got to eliminate the non-professional-soldier mindset. We're headed that way anyway, as-per Heinlein's vision (not unlike that of Brando's Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' if anyone wants to do their homework) - but as always the Dems take the moral high-ground and play it like a stradivarius.

The Dems love un-committed combatants as much as they love playing carrot-and-stick with people - Snood has it right for the most part - they want the military to feed into their constituency, to be another food bowl with their hands in it. I want that for my protectors least of all - give them some dignity. With the post office it's a nuisance, but the military is mission critical to the nation.

10-12 years to pay off, fine by me, I guess with the risk and demands it should be significantly quicker than retirement, pay them more money upfront, cool also, but why give them and incentive to want to be out in 2-3? What if General Electric worked that way?
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:34 pm
sozobe wrote:
McCain's focus -- career officers and NCOs. Webb's focus -- regular vets.

As ex-military myself, I don't get this. Once in for 10+ years, it makes sense to stick it out to the 20 year retirement. I knew very few people who bailed after they reached the 10 year point. Also, by that time, servicemembers have families and find it a lot harder to go back to school. A soldier who enlisted at 18 and is ready to start college at 21 or 22 is in a lot better position to go to school full time. I think McCain is just trying to prevent the military from losing personnel.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:38 pm
hanno wrote:
why give them and incentive to want to be out in 2-3? What if General Electric worked that way?


If General Electric featured randomly exploding workstations and getting shot at regularly, I think most people would want to be out ASAP anyway -- and I'd want to provide benefits to them for their bravery and service.

engineer, yeah, that's the sense I get too (that McCain is worried about retaining military personnel).
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 01:53 pm
hanno wrote:
The problem is we've got wannabe students in the trenches - no one's going to come out and say it, but if the military is to be any good to anyone, themselves included, we've got to eliminate the non-professional-soldier mindset. We're headed that way anyway, as-per Heinlein's vision (not unlike that of Brando's Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' if anyone wants to do their homework) - but as always the Dems take the moral high-ground and play it like a stradivarius.

The Dems love un-committed combatants as much as they love playing carrot-and-stick with people - Snood has it right for the most part - they want the military to feed into their constituency, to be another food bowl with their hands in it. I want that for my protectors least of all - give them some dignity. With the post office it's a nuisance, but the military is mission critical to the nation.

10-12 years to pay off, fine by me, I guess with the risk and demands it should be significantly quicker than retirement, pay them more money upfront, cool also, but why give them and incentive to want to be out in 2-3? What if General Electric worked that way?


Our military is not and should not be manned solely by 'professional soldiers.' While I will readily agree that these folks are an important part of the armed forces, the inclusion of those who wish to do SOME duty, but not devote their lives to the armed forces, greatly swells our ranks and also provides a sense of humanity and continuity to the armed forces themselves; the inter-play between those who are civilians and those who are soldiers and those who are in move between the two states keeps the army from becoming detached completely from our society. Those of us who don't wish to see Heinlein's dystopia come about appreciate this.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 02:26 pm
hanno wrote:
The problem is we've got wannabe students in the trenches - no one's going to come out and say it, but if the military is to be any good to anyone, themselves included, we've got to eliminate the non-professional-soldier mindset. We're headed that way anyway, as-per Heinlein's vision (not unlike that of Brando's Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' if anyone wants to do their homework) - but as always the Dems take the moral high-ground and play it like a stradivarius.

Funny you should mention Heinlein. He did not espouse professional military. He thought government service should be a requirement of citizenship. His best opus on that is Starship Troopers. That should be required political reading. (Ignore the movie.)
0 Replies
 
hanno
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 02:28 pm
sozobe wrote:
hanno wrote:
why give them and incentive to want to be out in 2-3? What if General Electric worked that way?


If General Electric featured randomly exploding workstations and getting shot at regularly, I think most people would want to be out ASAP anyway -- and I'd want to provide benefits to them for their bravery and service.

engineer, yeah, that's the sense I get too (that McCain is worried about retaining military personnel).


Platitudes, platitudes, platitudes, we killed maybe 50% more in the Bush years than in the Clinton years. I mean, 'randomly exploding workstations' - how quirky and cynical but what's that got to do with running this thing professionally as opposed to like a game-show and/or soup kitchen? I wouldn't mind giving up pro-active defense, most Libertarians are all for it, but however far we take this I say get it right.

I couldn't turn out deck-furniture with a 3-year employee turnaround - is what they do less complex? If it's more dangerous, all the more reason to employ professionals that ain't counting on having benefits provided to them for their bravery before they can legally buy their own beer. It's like anything else, a few people knowing what they're doing and why their doing it will make anyone else look like chumps - the fundamental lemma of western civilization. If we have to lure 'em in with college for their bravery and servileness let them stay the hell home and whine about something less consequential.

Cyclo - I feel ya, brother, I dig to the Posse Commitatus Act and general de-Federalization for the same reason - but once someone throws down, I say lay it on as thick as it'll go.
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 02:38 pm
hanno wrote:
Platitudes, platitudes, platitudes, we killed maybe 50% more in the Bush years than in the Clinton years. I mean, 'randomly exploding workstations' - how quirky and cynical but what's that got to do with running this thing professionally as opposed to like a game-show and/or soup kitchen? I wouldn't mind giving up pro-active defense, most Libertarians are all for it, but however far we take this I say get it right.

Yes, but we sure have maimed more.

hanno wrote:
I couldn't turn out deck-furniture with a 3-year employee turnaround - is what they do less complex? If it's more dangerous, all the more reason to employ professionals that ain't counting on having benefits provided to them for their bravery before they can legally buy their own beer. It's like anything else, a few people knowing what they're doing and why their doing it will make anyone else look like chumps - the fundamental lemma of western civilization. If we have to lure 'em in with college for their bravery and servileness let them stay the hell home and whine about something less consequential.

I think the concern is overblown. Many people in the military are there because college was not an option they wanted to pursue. Either they want a career in the military or they feel college isn't right for them. Some of them want to learn the advanced skills they can pick up in the military and some just want three meals and a cot plus enough money to enjoy the weekend. Even for those who won't take advantage of the GI bill, I think it is a statement of our respect for their service to offer it.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 09:29 pm
You're not the brightest bulb in the pack because you"get the feeling that McCain wants to retain military personnel."

Duh...that's it!

If we have an all volunteer military does it make any sense at all to give the same benefits to someone who does one term of service as someone who does multiple terms?

Get your heads out of your partisan ideological asses. This is common sense.

If you don't like an all volunteer military, fine, but to suggest that someone who is attempting to apply common sense to an incentive plan that is based on an all volunteer military is somehow anti-soldier, is idiotic at best.

McCain is not suggesting, for one minute, that the one term soldier be short changed. What he is suggesting is that it doesn't make sense to provide the same incentives for differing lengths of service.

Clearly there are assholes who will twist this into a sign that McCain doesn't respect the enlisted man, but they are, after all, assholes. (See Cyclo)

The notion that Obama has a greater regard for our military personnel than McCain is just too laughable. I'm not suggesting that he has no regard, but to think that he is the soldier's advocate while McCain wishes to exploit them is such cynical partisan crap as to be truly offensive.

Would you buy that McCain cares more about inner-city blacks than Obama? Of course not, so please cut the crap on this issue if you can.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 09:45 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Our military is not and should not be manned solely by 'professional soldiers.' While I will readily agree that these folks are an important part of the armed forces, the inclusion of those who wish to do SOME duty, but not devote their lives to the armed forces, greatly swells our ranks and also provides a sense of humanity and continuity to the armed forces themselves; the inter-play between those who are civilians and those who are soldiers and those who are in move between the two states keeps the army from becoming detached completely from our society. Those of us who don't wish to see Heinlein's dystopia come about appreciate this.

Cycloptichorn


I think you've nailed it, Cycloptichorn.

You're right, engineer, but remember that in Starship Troopers, serving members of the military weren't allowed to vote till they either resigned or retired.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2008 06:39 am
engineer wrote:
sozobe wrote:
McCain's focus -- career officers and NCOs. Webb's focus -- regular vets.

As ex-military myself, I don't get this. Once in for 10+ years, it makes sense to stick it out to the 20 year retirement. I knew very few people who bailed after they reached the 10 year point. Also, by that time, servicemembers have families and find it a lot harder to go back to school. A soldier who enlisted at 18 and is ready to start college at 21 or 22 is in a lot better position to go to school full time. I think McCain is just trying to prevent the military from losing personnel.


While I'd agree that most in the military that stay for 10 years stick it out to at least the 20 year point, I'd disagree with the rest of this post. Career military personnel can use their GI Bill benefits while they are still on active duty and many, many of them do exactly that. There is no limitation that requires they attend "full-time". In the Air Force at least, close to 80% of the career enlisted force has an Associates Degree and something like 40% have a Bachelors Degree (going off memory of numbers from when I was still on Active Duty here...). In the Air Force your career promotion opportunities end at the E-6/E-7 stage if you don't get your degree. The promotion system at that end weighs educational attainment very heavily.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2008 06:52 am
sozobe wrote:
Ah, more here -- seems to be three years:

Quote:


http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/05/22/webb-wins-big-one-for-gis/


Errr... "Webb and others say hogwash, if a guy or a gal spends three years - and we all know that amounts to at least one, or two years in the warzone today..."

Do we all know that? It isn't possible. In 2007 the military brought in 320,000 new recruits. There are what, 150,000 or so troops deployed in Iraq and Afganistan? The math doesn't quite work there unless we are to assume that there aren't any career personnel that serve in the warzone (which is patently false.)
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2008 02:14 pm
fishin wrote:
sozobe wrote:
Ah, more here -- seems to be three years:

Quote:


http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/05/22/webb-wins-big-one-for-gis/


Errr... "Webb and others say hogwash, if a guy or a gal spends three years - and we all know that amounts to at least one, or two years in the warzone today..."

Do we all know that? It isn't possible. In 2007 the military brought in 320,000 new recruits. There are what, 150,000 or so troops deployed in Iraq and Afganistan? The math doesn't quite work there unless we are to assume that there aren't any career personnel that serve in the warzone (which is patently false.)


There are 155 thousand in Iraq and 28 thousand in Afghanistan. This doesn't count naval deployments to the surrounding region. Troop levels are due to be drawn down to about 140 or so in Iraq and beefed up by 5k or so in Afghanistan.

It seems likely that, with troop and unit rotations, nearly every military recruit ends up spending some time in a war zone, and many do several tours...

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2008 03:22 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
fishin wrote:
sozobe wrote:
Ah, more here -- seems to be three years:

Quote:


http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/05/22/webb-wins-big-one-for-gis/


Errr... "Webb and others say hogwash, if a guy or a gal spends three years - and we all know that amounts to at least one, or two years in the warzone today..."

Do we all know that? It isn't possible. In 2007 the military brought in 320,000 new recruits. There are what, 150,000 or so troops deployed in Iraq and Afganistan? The math doesn't quite work there unless we are to assume that there aren't any career personnel that serve in the warzone (which is patently false.)


There are 155 thousand in Iraq and 28 thousand in Afghanistan. This doesn't count naval deployments to the surrounding region. Troop levels are due to be drawn down to about 140 or so in Iraq and beefed up by 5k or so in Afghanistan.

It seems likely that, with troop and unit rotations, nearly every military recruit ends up spending some time in a war zone, and many do several tours...

Cycloptichorn


It only seems likely if you ignore basic math.

320,000 new recruits/year minus ~185,000 people deployed in Iraq and Afganistan leaves ~135,000 recruits sitting outside the warzone. Even throwing in the Naval forces sitting in the Gulf doesn't get you close.

And even those numbers would require that every military person in Iraq and Afganistan be 1st termers - and that isn't the case by a long shot. At best 1st term personnel make up somewhere between 30 and 40% of the forces. The remaining 60-70% are career military.

If 1st termers made up 40% (the high end) of those deployed then you are looking at ~74,000 1st termers in a warzone in any given year. I'll even throw in an extra 10,000 Navy 1st termers to make it 84,000.

If you bring in 320,000 people and deployed 84,000/year that gives you just short of 4 years (3.8) worth of 1st termers. While they were in the process of deploying you'd be bringing in another 960,000 of them in the subsequent years that would never deploy at all.

(My calculations are based on 1-year rotations which the original comment mentioned - some rotations are shorter and some are longer but it probably does average out to roughly 1-year rotations overall.)
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