This video has been making the rounds in the news and the blogosphere, but I do not find that the way in which Obama's comments are being described to be accurate in any way.
Firstly, - brief note on what the G.I. Bill actually is:
"The term GI Bill refers to any Department of Veterans Affairs education benefit earned by members of Active Duty, Selected Reserve and National Guard Armed Forces and their families. The benefit is designed to help servicemembers and eligible veterans cover the costs associated with getting an education or training......"
In every account that I have read or heard, Obama is said to equate the G.I. Bill with other government programs such as welfare or student loans with the G.I. Bill.
This description is incorrect - what Obama was doing was equating welfare and student loans with the G.I. Bill. It may seem like semantics, but there is a key difference in the means by which he made the comparison. He was not attempting to belittle the G.I. Bill in any way; he was trying to make welfare look good. What he was doing was making welfare, which requires no monetary or service-related contribution on the part of the beneficiary appear to be similar to a program that entails a significant investment of earned income, hard work, and some of the prime years of one's life.
Obama would have us believe that welfare recipients, by trudging over the the local assistance office and filling out a few forms, have made a similar sacrifice of their time and effort ( and maybe, taxi, gas or bus money for the trip downtown) as members of the military who voluntarily subjected themselves to years of rigorous work away from home and gave up a not-insignificant portion of their earnings in order to be eligible for the benefits at a later time.
Welfare is a good thing, it's just another helping hand that we offer - like the G.I. Bill.
I saw a similar thing occur last year that was also not noted any any media outlet of which I was aware. A spokeswoman/representative for the ultra-liberal Catholic group Nuns on the Run was featured in a brief video debate with a conservative female (At the moment I can't recall who she was). The former was talking about her pet topics such as a youth job-crushing $15 dollar an hour minimum wage. At one point near the end of the debate, the representative made a reference that caused my ears to perk up like those of a dog and my eyes to be fixed on the video. I replayed the remark several times to ensure that I heard it correctly. The Conservative had noted that a large subset of Americans are receiving government assistance rather than earning a salary and paying taxes. In response, the representative made a terribly accusatory remark that in part was intended to do precisely what Obama did. I can quote it verbatim:
"I hope that you don't have a problem with me when I turn sixty-five and begin receiving Social Security benefits"
The nun knew fully well that this was not the case; she was actually doing two things by this statement:
- Falsely equating an earned benefit with government assistance that requires no effort or contribution and is received during years in which most people have jobs and pay taxes, such as retirees who receive payments from Social Security Insurance.
-Demonizing her opponent by affecting to believe that conservatives have a problem with individuals who receive benefits from a program to which they were required to contribute a lot of money during their working years and consider them to be the equivalent of welfare recipients.