Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. has one crazy idea after another. Sadly, her ideas have followers.
Nevertheless, she is rightfully taken to task for sharing an article calling for the G.I. Bill to apply to all U.S. citizens. The G.I. Bill is a benefit reserved for American service members’ higher education, but apparently she’d like to hijack it.
Many from military service go on to municipal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and the G.I. Bill is instrumental in providing marketable skills. Yet, it is something that is earned through extreme sacrifice. To distribute this benefit like an ice cream sundae is mindless and insulting.
- MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER CHALLENGING ILHAN OMAR FOR CONGRESSIONAL SEAT SAYS SHE’S AN ‘ABSENTEE LANDLORD’
Unfortunately, the chain of events began with a piece written by a Marine, Will Fischer, who reportedly served in Iraq. I adamantly disagree with his position, which was glommed onto by Omar.
Fisher, who used the G.I. Bill’s benefits to pay for his college education, argues that the benefits of paying for veterans’ education have far outweighed the costs — and covering all Americans’ tuition would benefit not only those avoiding student debt but the economy as a whole, Fox News reported.
“Imagine what it would do for our country and those who live here if we were to take the ethos behind the original G.I. Bill and apply it to everybody—canceling all student debt and making public colleges, universities, and vocational schools tuition-free.” ?? https://t.co/P6LNRv6h9w
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 7, 2020
“Imagine what it would do for our country and those who live here if we were to take the ethos behind the original G.I. Bill and apply it to everybody—canceling all student debt and making public colleges, universities, and vocational schools tuition-free,” Omar tweeted, quoting the AlterNet story.
But Omar was quickly criticized for advocating such a massive expansion.
I'm a recipient of the GI Bill. The GI Bill was earned by agreeing to serve my country for six years and to put my life at risk as an infantryman in Afghanistan. It wasn't something just given to me with nothing expected in return. Don't cheapen our sacrifice w/ this comparison. pic.twitter.com/4CNspm8gXt
— Chris Manning (@Manning4USCong) February 7, 2020
“I’m a recipient of the GI Bill,” responded Chris Manning, a veteran who ran for Congress in New Mexico as a Libertarian in 2018. “The GI Bill was earned by agreeing to serve my country for six years and to put my life at risk as an infantryman in Afghanistan. It wasn’t something just given to me with nothing expected in return. Don’t cheapen our sacrifice w/ this comparison.”
Manning’s assessment is in stark contrast to Fischer’s, and I completely agree with him.
Moreover, Cam Edwards also made the point that veterans earn their G.I Bill benefits, in comparison to those who choose not to serve in the military.
My dad was a WWII vet who went to Brown University on the GI Bill. He still worked as a truck driver on the side to pay for his family's food and housing while attending school full time.
He didn't get "free" college. He paid his way with his service to the nation. https://t.co/lRQ6oRsck5
— Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) February 7, 2020
“My dad was a WWII vet who went to Brown University on the GI Bill. He still worked as a truck driver on the side to pay for his family’s food and housing while attending school full time,” Edwards tweeted. “He didn’t get ‘free’ college. He paid his way with his service to the nation.”
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Omar, who also received some support for the expansion, has previously pushed for the idea in legislation.
Along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Omar introduced a bill that would “eliminate tuition and fees at all public four-year colleges and universities,” in addition to trade schools, community colleges and apprenticeship programs.
Whatever entitlements get legislated, they should not be contemptible toward the G.I. Bill and service members who supremely sacrificed to attain it. Omar’s articulated idea simply coddles dependency, and that will not bode well for the country.
Where do you draw the line on such an entitlement? Is it retroactive? If so, how far back do you go?
I have two sons who recently graduated from college. Since we chose to send them to a private university, we accrued a large student debt. The Parent Plus loans from the Department of Education have an interest rate of 7.9 percent attached to them. The deferred loans — principal AND interest — became like an anvil upon graduation. Overnight, about $60,000 in interest was added to the principal of $200,000. It felt more like loan sharking than help from the government. Nevertheless, we agreed to it, so I’ve never missed a payment. (So much for my retirement cabin on the lake.)
Finally, a great place to start is not more “free stuff,” but reasonable rates for repayment. There is no reason why the federal government needs to charge nearly 8 percent on Parent Plus loans. Furthermore, the blow of accruing interest while the student is enrolled in school could also be softened. A nice place to start “school loan reform” is to waive or lower accrued interest rates and then charge somewhere around 1-2 percent on these loans. Therefore, the government will still make money acting as the bank for student loans while parents and students are not falling further in debt for decades after graduation.
– Jim McNeff
Author’s note: I served in the USAF during the early 80s followed by 28 years in municipal law enforcement. There was no G.I. Bill available when I served. I received 50 percent reduction in tuition at the local community college when on active duty. I completed a bachelor’s degree after my honorable discharge and during the beginning of my law enforcement career. I paid 100 percent of the tuition out of my own pocket during the final two years of my undergraduate work.