Tag Archives: re-enlistments

The Wages Of War In A Recession

One of the unseen fall outs from the recession is its impact on serving in the armed forces. Since the stock market collapsed and the unemployment rate has risen, the United States military have witnessed a rather significant rise in re-enlistments as men and women flock to the military in the absence of job opportunities. Since the 2009 fiscal year, there have been 427 re-enlistments in the Washington National Guard, and many who are not re-enlisting, are planning to become a full fledged member of the regular army. Sergeant Jerry Frazier, who handles retention for a brigade, notes: “when we first deployed,(last fall) a lot of them didn’t want to re-enlist… but a few months later, a lot of those same guys came back up to me and said they were worried a bout the economy, about paying bills.” Soldiers are being paid extra money to supplement the GI Bill.

There is little question the surge in enlistments stems from the current economic situation in which jobs are being lost and young people are frightened about their futures. Some recruiters are encountering soldiers who want to be deployed to Iraq because it will bring extra money. Is there something wrong when we must entice young men and women to serve their country because it is the only hope for those who lack money or jobs? Is there something wrong with this picture?

No To GI Bill Transfer Rights Says Senator

A Pentagon initiative which would allow career service members to share GI Bill e ducation rights with a spouse or children was opposed by the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Sen. Daniel Akak said: “I believe that those who would rely on transferability as an incentive to longer service would be disappointed.” He said studies indicate fewer than 2% of soldiers showed interest in giving their GI Bll benefits to family members which indicates there is need for further testing and review “before anyone can positively say that this benefit would have the desired impact on retention.”

Akaka is one of the sponsors of the 21st Century GI Bill pushed by sen. James Webb. Webb’s proposal would ncrease GI Bill benefits from the current $1,100 a month for those with at least three years of service, to cover full cost of attending a four year college plus provide stipends for living costs.

The House version of the bill would cover costs by adding a surcharge of 0.47% to couples with incomes of $1 million and to single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $500,000. There is no question President Bush will oppose raising taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for the cost of the Iraq war. He, naturally, would prefer cutting taxes since it violates his political beliefs that wealthy people should ever be forced to endure any financial burdens.

American Dilemma-Good GI Bill Or Poor One?

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office highlights the dilemma confronting America’s military– enact a GI Bill of Rights which will honor the sacrifices of those who have served or reduce benefits in order to force more soldiers to remain in service. The report said passage of the proposed legislation, which provides free tuition and living assistance, would most probably result in a 16% drop in re-enlistments. It suggested the only way the military could avoid such a conclusion was by raising its re-nlistment bonus payment. The estimated cost of the new bill over the coming ten years is about $51.8 billion.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been fought on the assumption the American people will not have to endure any hardshps such as higher taxes or requirements that people are drafted into the services. It is among the first wars in American history in which taxes were cut rather than raised. Perhaps, the nation must confront the issue as to whether it is time to institute some form of national service for young Americans. A nation can not endure over time only relying on volunteers, at some point the entire society has to meet its responsiblities. Or, perhaps, the alternative is not to become involved in wars leading nowhere and having no purpose.