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  •  Hate to say it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeanF

    but McCain has a reasonable position on this and making a big issue of this is terrible strategy, plays right into McCain's hands.  

    McCain wanted to get rid of the recruitment disincentive, which any labor economist will admit is there, even if they disagree on its size.  I studied the Vietnam era GI Bill, the Mongtomery GI Bill, and the Army College Fund and I suspect the data are on McCain's side on this one, even though the situation today is different.  With the All-Volunteer Force and a hollowed out dispirited military, it's critical that we exercise care in how we administer benefits to veterans that affect decisions of active duty personnel.

    Oh yeah, and giving grandpa Simpson an excuse to tell war stories is always a bad idea.

    •  OK... (7+ / 0-)

      So read his statement above again and tell me how it helps a 71-year-old man make inroads with the youth vote? A youth vote, I might add, that by and large, without help, can't afford college?

      In current times, discussion of retention rates are a red herring. They'll just stop-loss the soldier until he or she comes back in a box so they won't have to pay a DIME in college benefits.  

      "The game's easy, Harry" - Richie Ashburn

      by jpspencer on Thu May 22, 2008 at 02:49:53 PM PDT

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      •  Point taken, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeanF

        It's like the gas tax issue.  Giving consumers a "holiday" is popular except when you realize the price will bounce right back up to equilibrium levels and no consumers save any money.

        I like to see my guy take the high road and not the populist one, but if Democrats can make hay over it, I'll look the other way.  Plus, this one is not as bad as the gas tax.  There is argument to be made that (a) the recruitment disincentive is too small to matter and (b) military careerists who haven't gone to college probably won't drop out to do so.  I hope that's true anyway.

    •  Well... (8+ / 0-)

      I expect that perpetual deployment to a war zone is probably a bigger disincentive to recruitment.

      Just sayin'

      "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear" Wm. Gladstone

      by lcbo on Thu May 22, 2008 at 02:58:01 PM PDT

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    •  I respectfully disagree about the war stories (1+ / 0-)
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      Kaina PDX

      The more he tells war stories from the past, the more he seems stuck IN the past.  Plus, the more he plays that card, the less power it has.

      •  young vs. old (1+ / 0-)
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        SeanF

        Yeah, but Obama has a problem with older voters.  There is going to be a huge age gap in this election, and the demographics favor the oldies.   (This comment applies to jpspencer above too).  

        In '68 and '72 we thought we could beat Nixon with the youth vote and the demographics were more favorable and the shitty war was shittier (if you can believe it).  Still, that didn't work out so well.  We need a broad coalition to win this.

        •  Think Nixon and JFK (0+ / 0-)

          The first debate and McCain is going to look old, tired, and confused compared to Obama.  Even the old vote will be scared away from McCain.

          "War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." - Thomas Mann

          by Tom Paul on Thu May 22, 2008 at 03:28:41 PM PDT

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        •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

          about older voters.  Still, I think Obama was respectful.  And I think that in a subtle way, by bringing up John McCain's service all the time (which Obama does), Obama is marginalizing him.  And when McCain does it as well, it plays into the same dynamic.  That might be just me, however.

        •  The problem in '68 was a bit different. (0+ / 0-)

          The front runner RFK was a bit living-challenged at the nomination, and the youth vote was shafted by the candidate who made it, who then didn't run on an anti-war platform.  (Once he started running on an anti-war platform, he did much better.)

          Note: This is analysis, not advice. Therefore, I can say whatever I want and not get called on it.

          by William S on Fri May 23, 2008 at 04:49:23 AM PDT

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    •  Perhaps the availability of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spekkio

      a REAL GI Bill might increase recruitment enough to offset, at least somewhat, any losses.

      And even if you only serve one tour, how many times do you have to get shot at to "earn" GI Bill benefits? I know it only takes one bullet, one RPG, or one IED to kill or maim someone forever.

      "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

      by Dragon5616 on Thu May 22, 2008 at 03:06:45 PM PDT

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    •  Steve: you just don't get it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auron renouille, seabrook, Spekkio

      First, there's a simple matter of fairness and gratitude.  Second, and more germane to your point, although some will leave to attend college, some will enter to get the benefits, and some of the ones who left will return as competent, experienced officers.  

      This is a time for increasing benefits, of all kinds.  A revamped GI Bill is good both for veterans and for the country.  An accountant's short-sighted focus on the numbers is the wrong approach, militarily as well as fiscally.

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Thu May 22, 2008 at 03:11:29 PM PDT

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    •  What about what they deserve? (3+ / 0-)
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      Yoshimi, seabrook, Spekkio

      Are you saying that someone that did 18 months in Iraq doesn't deserve some college benefits?  

      But the disincentive problem has an easy answer.  Get the hell out of Iraq and we won't have problems with not enough soldiers.

      "War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." - Thomas Mann

      by Tom Paul on Thu May 22, 2008 at 03:27:21 PM PDT

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    •  Honest question re: sliding scale (0+ / 0-)

      OK, so let's assume that the new GI Bill has a sliding scale to keep people in the military longer - so you only can get your higher education paid for in full if you stay for a number of years.

      ...what happens if, for example, you get shot, or caught in an explosion...and you survive, but you get an honorable discharge because you're no longer fit for duty. But you've only served one tour of duty - doesn't that mean you don't get your education paid for?

      I admit I haven't read the text of any of the bills, but as I recall, the military was billing disabled soldiers to get back recruitment bonuses. (Are they still doing that?)

      I'm genuinely concerned that this "sliding scale" bit could really screw some of our wounded warriors.

    •  We can't afford to be intellectual on benefits (0+ / 0-)

      in a time of combat. I'm sorry. Look at what happens to these people when they come.

      This bill will open up a future for them.

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