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STATEMENT OF HON. RALPH YARBOROUGH, A U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF TEXAS
Senator YARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman and members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, it is a great privilege and pleasure to appear before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs which devotes its attention to the affairs of veterans, on behalf of the cold war GI bill.
I want to express my gratitude to the chairman for his generous remarks, but of course I cannot take, and will not attempt to take, sole credit for the legislation which passed the Senate, and which I think of as being the greatest act as of this date, of the 86th Congress, because there were 26 cosponsors on this measure, as introduced into the Senate on February 19, 1959, more than 25 percent of the Senators from every part of the country, and including some Senators from both political parties.
Also, this bill was on behalf of the many young Americans serving in our military establishments without receiving any educational or other governmental help after their discharge at this time. This country needs their full educational development, for to train men is to aid the Nation.
Mr. Chairman, it was also a pleasure, in working on this bill on the Senate side, to be associated with persons there who had devoted a great deal of time to the original GI bill.
A number of Senators were in the House when the original concept was developed during World War II, and some of them were cosponsors of the original bill as well as cosponsors of the cold war GI bill passed by the Senate.
The principles and concepts of the World War II GI bill were further developed by the chairman of this committee, and this committee in the formulation of the Korean conflict bill. And we had, over there, helping very assiduously with the cold war bill and making very able arguments in the days of debate in the Senate, some of those who were in the House and helped originate this idea and bring it to fruition with the type of postservice training that the GI bill provides.
Now, S. 1138, which the Senate passed by an overwhelming vote, provides for educational readjustment for 414 million veterans of the post-Korean cold war, that is, from January 31, 1955, the termination date of such training under the Korean GÌ bill, to July 1, 1963, the date of termination of the draft, who served as the Senate bill provides, for longer than 6 months at a rate of 172 days of schooling for each day of service, not to exceed 3 years' schooling. I might point
I out here, Mr. Chairman, that the Korean GI bill had the limit of 3 months of service. That is a tougher bill on the veteran. He has to serve at least more than 6 months now to come under the provisions of this bill that was passed by the Senate.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you expect that if the draft were extended the bill would be extended beyond 1963?
Senator YARBOROUGH. I cannot look into the seeds of time, Mr. Chairman, and say which grain will grow and which will not. I think it would be a just thing to do if we had the same economic circumstances prevalent then, that we have now, and if we had the same lack of service by a majority of the young men that we have now.
I will touch on that more fully in the course of this. I will point out that only 45 percent of the young men serve at this time.
Now this payment rate is the same in dollars as the Korean rate, $110 a month for single men up to $165 a month for married men with two children. But even the Korean monthly allowance of $110— and this was proven by the testimony on the Senate side, concerning the present value of that allowance, in 1952 dollars would be only $78.40.
The purchasing power of the 1952 dollar has gone down that much; so in keeping this allowance at the amount in dollars that the Korean bill provided in 1952 you are only giving the veteran 78 percent as much in purchasing power.
In the meantime, I would like to point out, the average tuition rates of American colleges, all 1,400 of all types, public and private, have gone up 72 percent in the last 8 years. That is an average across the board.
Under the Korean plan, unlike the World War II plan, the veteran's tuition is paid by him to the college of his choice. He picks his college and has to pay his tuition out of his educational allowance.
These payments run from $110 a month for single veterans up to the maximum of $165 per month for married veterans with two children, and also provide for guaranteed home and farm loans, and for vocational rehabilitation for disabled veterans. There are no guaranteed business loans, as there were under the World War II and Korean GI bills.
I think, Mr. Chairman, as was said on the floor of the Senate yesterday in the statement by the able Senator from Alabama, Mr. Sparkman, who was a Member of this House and who helped originate the first GI bill—the World War II bill-I think, as he stated, in his opinion, there has been no more constructive act by this Government in any particular field in the course of its legislation, because the GI bill was so all-embracing after World War II, giving the veteran the chance to go into business, take on-the-job training, business training, or to go to school.
Because military service creates unique problems for those who enter the Military Establishment, as compared with those who remain in civil life, governments have always recognized the special situations of the veteran of military service. Until the establishment of the World War II GI bill, however, consideration for their situations was generally expressed in law by some kind of bonus-type program. Then came the World War II GI bill. Its program provided for important readjustment benefits which were not intended as mere cash income, but which provided constructive, long-range direction and training, intended permanently to improve the veteran's economic status in terms of income, job prospects, and homeownership; his whole status as a civilian for a fuller life.
This new approach has been completely successful, as we all know by looking at the results of the veterans education and training assistance program and the home loan assistance program.
The results and success of these programs are legend throughout our land and the Halls of Congress. I cannot refrain from commenting on the success of those laws because I am firmly convinced that it was good legislation then and it is good legislation now, and I am inclined to agree with Senator Sparkman that it is one of the very best programs—if not the best program, ever provided by the United States, and I do not mean only for veterans alone, but I mean for the entire country.
Mr. Chairman, I have some charts here that will help illustrate this very briefly.
Here is a reproduction of a drawing that appeared in the American Legion Magazine for June of 1955, with a brief showing of what had happened under the World War II GI bill.
This was too early for the Korean GI bill to be in effect. Under Public Law 346, the World War II GI bill, there had been produced by June of 1955, under that bill, 2,200,000 college students.
I want to commend this committee at this point on the fine research it does, and its fine publications. On the subcommittee on the Senate side we get the publications, but you know, being well versed in veterans' affairs, that of our total of over 31 million veterans in the history of America, about 1512 million were veterans of World War II. Of that 151,2 million veterans, approximately 7,800,000 took education training under the World War II GI bill, and of that 7,800,000 who took the schooling or training, 29 percent went to college and the other 71 percent took on-the-job training of some type, or business college training or correspondence courses or high school. However, only 50 percent of the 151,2 million went to school.
Now when the GI's of the Korean conflict came along, again 50 percent took advantage of the training although they were much younger than the veterans of World War II. It was thought that the percentage going to school would be much higher.
As I say, again the percentage who went to school under the Korean bill was about 50 percent, but the schools that they went to changed, to the extent that where 29 percent of the World War II veterans went to college, 51 percent of the Korean veterans who took the training went to college, on-the-job industrial training, on-thefarm training, and all other types, and also to finish high school.
Going back to the World War II GI bill, of this 7,800,000 veterans who took educational training under it, 2,200,000 were college students, 450,000 went into communications, 380,000 into highly technical construction workers, 100,000 lawyers, 63,000 doctors, 180,000 mechanics, 238,000 schoolteachers, 75,000 farmers, and 145,000 engineers. Under the homebuilding part of the bill there were 4 million homes constructed, furnishing that many homes for Americans, and also that much employment to the people who built the homes, and that much employment to the people who built the appliances that go into the homes.
This was one of the greatest stimuli to the postwar economy we have known, and it kept our gross national product up to 1952 to about 412 percent a year as against 212 percent a year gross product increase since 1952, with a resulting economic lag.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out here, briefly, the tremendous lag—and this is well known publicly-in the output of engineers and scientists in our country as compared to the people behind the Iron Curtain.
We did not have this lag when the GI bill was in its heyday, because these young men who served in the armed services dealt with radar and electronics equipment and the number who go to college and take scientific training after they get out is much higher than the number who take scientific training from civilian life.
I also want to point out the teacher shortage, 150,000 schoolteachers, is alleviated somewhat by the number of teachers turned out, but, in addition, there were turned out, and this is not shown in the chart, about 110,000 medical technicians serving in the laboratories, or medical nurses who serve, in other words, at the right hand of the doctors, and we have a shortage of medical personnel in this country.
In 1958 we graduated 7,000 medical doctors. Russia graduated 16,000 medical doctors in the same year.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am not urging this just because of the educational lag in this country, as a means to stopping that alone, but I intend to point out here why these veterans are in a special class and that they are among a group whose educational opportunity is gone without the aid of this bill, and whereas the schools are opened, all of them, the grammar schools and high schools and colleges, to those who have not suffered this detriment of having more than 2 years pulled out of their civilian life.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to place in the record at this time a copy of this chart.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be placed in the record.
(The chart referred to follows:)