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Korean GI bill. The computation of educational time earned, however, would be based upon the formula of 1 day of education for each day of military service. Public Law 550, as you will recall, offers 112 days of education for each day of service.
The formula contained in H.R. 2259 thus recognizes the concept of a more limited benefit than that offered for war service. The need for a program of this nature cannot be overemphasized. Every day young men are being drafted. Their civilian pursuits are interrupted and personal plans are postponed.
Spokesmen for the Department of Defense have alleged that postservice educational programs will encourage persons to leave military service, thus resulting in a serious handicap in retaining qualified personnel. The solution to this problem, in our judgment, does not sie in making civilian life less attractive, but rather, in making a military career more attractive. If the Department of Defense recommendations are followed, it would be equally logical to devise a means of limiting and controlling the wages of civilian electronics technicians and the like because the higher salaries in industry will encourage qualified personnel to leave military service.
Should there be any validity to the Defense Department contentions, however, it is ÅMVETS belief that the “day for a day” formula contained in H.R. 2259 will overcome any problems of retention. Should this bill be enacted into law, beneficiaries seeking to earn enough school time for a full 4-year college course must spend more than the minimum 2 years in military service.
It has been indicated that enactment of the Nat nal Defense Education Act with its provisions for loans to needy students lessens the necessity for a special educational benefit for post-Korean veterans. This reasoning is difficult to accept in the light of statistics furnished this committee by the U.S. Office of Education and the Department of Defense. The Office of Education stated that approximately 70,000 needy students will be aided by this program in the current academic year. Included in this number, of course, are veterans and nonveterans alike.
The Defense Department, on the other hand, tells us that approximately 600,000 peacetime veterans have been separated each year since Korea. Korea. Thus, a tota
Thus, a total of approximately 3 million persons would be immediately eligible for benefits if H.R. 2259 were approved.
While the National Defense Education Act is certainly serving a worthy purpose, it is the opinion of AMVETS that it falls woefully short of filling the need for a program of education and training for the post-Korean ex-serviceman. Even more important, however, than the benefit to the individual serviceman, is the benefit that will accrue to the Nation if the proposed legislation is approved. The results obtained from the World War II and the Korean GI bills is impressive evidence of the value of such a program. Not only do we have a better educated citizenry, but the ability of these people to earn greater incomes has resulted in more tax income for the Federal Government.
Just a year ago the then national commander of AMVETS, Dr. Winston Burdine, in testimony before this committee cited his own case as a living example of the return to the Federal Government on their investment in him. Dr. Burdine said that he had received $3,200 worth of education under the World War II GI bill and that in the 5 years following the receipt of this education, he paid the Federal Government $30,000 more in income taxes than he had paid in the 5 years preceding it. If all of the Government's investments provided a return of this nature, balancing the budget would be no problem.
Even the Bradley Commission, not particularly noted for its praise of veterans benefits, had these kind words to say about the World War II GI bill:
There is little question that the veterans education program has been a great
benefit to millions of veterans and to the Nation.
They went on to say:
Veterans who took advantage of the educational benefits of the GI bill are more likely to be in managerial, professional, and scientific jobs, and receive higher salaries than veterans who did not use such benefits or nonveterans, when age and experience prior to service are taken into account. The veterans educational program was a major contribution to the national welfare, and the country would be weaker educationally, economically, and in terms of national defense, if educators, veterans organizations, the President, and the Congress had not seen fit to embark upon this new and momentous educational enterprise.
We of AMVETS are confident that a program of education and training for the post-Korean group as provided in H.R. 2259 would be equally productive of results. We respectfully urge the committee to report this measure or a similar measure as soon as possible.
Mr. Haley. Thank you very much, Mr. Holden, for your statement setting forth the views of the AMVETS.
Mr. Adair, have you any questions?
Mr. ADAIR. Yes. From what you have said, Mr. Holden, it seems to me that we could summarize your views thus—and I wish you would comment on this—that it is the attitude of your organization that peacetime veterans, since the Korean conflict, are entitled to some consideration in this field of educational benefits. You do not feel, however, that they should be entitled to benefits at the same level as wartime veterans.
Is that a correct summarization of your view ?
Mr. HOLDEN. Yes, sir. Basically, that is a correct summarization, Mr. Adair. We feel that there should be a distinction preserved between the benefits received or benefits accorded to the wartime veteran and those accorded to the men who are now serving in the military. Yet, at the same time, it should be more extensive than the benefits provided to the straight peacetime serviceman, because we are recognizing that men are either being drafted or are serving under the compulsion of the draft, and there is some hazard connected with duty today, or some potential hazard.
Mr. Adair. Would it be the attitude of your organization that if we come to the time when the draft is terminated, then such a program as this ought to be terminated?
Mr. HOLDEN. Absolutely, sir.
Mr. ADAIR. You make reference to a proposal, H.R. 2259. Does that include provisions in addition to educational provisions or did it include home purchase?
Mr. HOLDEN. No, sir; it does not. It has only the educational and the vocational rehabilitation.
Mr. ADAIR. It does have two parts, educational and vocational rehabilitation ?
Mr. HOLDEN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HALEY. Does the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Everett, have any questions?
Mr. EVERETT. No, sir.
Mr. HALEY. Does the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Saylor, have any questions?
Mr. SAYLOR. Yes; I do.
Mr. Holden, you have a new impression here in your formula, that you have reiterated on page 4, which you say is included in your bill 2259.
You state that:
Should this bill be enacted into law, beneficiaries seeking to earn enough school time for a full 4-year college course must spend more than the minimum 2 years in military service.
If your program is that good, and that formula is that good, might not a half a day's education for a day's service be a better formula!
The reason I raise that question, it might counteract the arguments put up by the Department of Defense.
Mr. HOLDEN. Sir, I believe that 1 day for a day would certainly be the minimum to which AMVETS would subscribe. I believe that under that formula the military has the opportunity to keep a man for a minimum of 3 years.
Now, if in that period of time they cannot convince a man as to the virtue of value of making a lifetime career of the military, then I believe they are justified in turning him loose.
Mr. SAYLOR. Mr. Holden, the reason I asked these questions is that I have recently had some personal experience in regard to some of these present peacetime programs, namely, the Reserve programs and their various schools, and I am finding out that the educators in our various institutions of learning, while not openly opposing these programs, are doing everything in their power to convince the students that they should not continue to belong to the ROTC, or the NROTC, or the Air Force Reserve program. They are pointing out to the students that if they follow these programs, they are substantially getting only 3 years of college education, while they are being required to pay 4 full years of education.
This program is not as simple as it seems. We must remember that the freedom that made this country the country that it is was possible because we always had a good military force. The times when this country has found itself in real difficulty has been when our military has been allowed to go down, and the public began to feel and the Congress began to feel that the place that the public budget could be cut first was the matter of the military.
Preceding World War I and preceding World War II and preceding Korea, there was a growing tendency in this country to cut down on the Defense Department.
Now, if, on the one hand, you have the educational institutions looking down their nose at the program that the military has devised to provide us with officers and leaders, this creates a very real problem.
I would like to have your comments on that.
Mr. HOLDEN. Yes; I certainly subscribe to your statement that we should look long and carefully at anything that would have the tendency to reduce the military. The Defense spokesmen, of course, have indicated that a program of this nature would do just that, would make men leave the military service because it is more attractive on the outside.
We of AMVETS fail to subscribe to that. It appears to us that the many in-service educational opportunities that the Defense Department has brought to this committee's attention are certainly competitive with anything that you can devise for the serviceman after he leaves service.
So that getting an education is not going to be the reason he leaves service; because he has the opportunity, according to Defense, in service, to get the education. A man is going to leave military service because he does not like it.
Mr. SAYLOR. Now, let us go back and look at this situation from World War II and Korea. We had this educational program. Some GI's took advantage of it. The majority of them did not.
Mr. HOLDEN. Sir, I believe the Veterans Administration statistics point out that almost 8 million of the approximately 16 million participants in World War II took advantage of the educational training features of the World War II GI bill.
Mr. SAYLOR. Still under 50 percent.
Mr. SAYLOR. Now, less than that percentage took advantage of many of the other programs, such as the home loan. Some one of these days the men that belong to your organization and make your organization possible are going to get a little older. Does your organization, thinking into the future, have any plans as to those veterans that came to the Government for nothing, and rendered their service, some of them a great deal more than many of the people who took advantage of the bill and its benefits? Is your organization going to say that those men who came to the Government for nothing, and went on their own, are going to be entitled to more than those who already took advantage of the programs that were offered?
Mr. HOLDEN. No, sir. I do not believe, based on the history of my organization, that they will come to the Congress with their hand out for a stipend for the men who failed to take advantage of any of the benefits that were offered.
Mr. SAYLOR. No; I do not think your organization ever will. Mr. HOLDEN. I do not, either, sir. Mr. Saylor. But I wonder, if the time comes that the World War II veterans would be coming into Congress and saying, "We are entitled to a pension; we are now getting to be 60 years of age; we want a pension," is there going to be any difference between the requests of the veterans?
Mr. HOLDEN. Again, sir, we have considered this question of a pension over the last 4 years, when it was one of the paramount issues before this committee; and in each instance our organization has been aware of the fact that there was a pension program on the books; that Thank you.
we, the World War II veterans and the Korean veterans were just as eligible for that pension as any other group of veterans. And so it is today. The pension bill that was reported by this committee and subsequently passed the Congress and became law is available to both World War II and Korean veterans.
I am confident that unless the philosophy of AMVETS changes drastically, we will not be seeking a separate pension program for our group.
Mr. SAYLOR. Then I would just like to comment, referring to the bottom of page 5, on the example that you use of Dr. Burdine. I might say unfortunately most Government investments do not turn out as well as the $3,200 invested in Dr. Burdine.
And I might turn to my good chairman here on my right, and I think that he and I on another committee daily see examples of that.
Mr. Haley. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is so right. If we could be assured that the Federal Treasury could even receive the amounts back that they have put into many of these projects, we certainly would not be in the fiscal situation that we are in today.
Any further questions?
Mr. Flynn. No. I glanced over these first couple of pages, and I was very happy to see the review on page 2 of the many things that the veteran since 1955 did not receive that the wartime veteran did receive. And in fact the AMVETS are pointing out that if we deny them the benefits of the educational bill, we will be adding to this long list of privileges that the wartime veteran has that the peacetime veteran did not have.
I am very happy to see the stand that you take in that regard. I am sorry I missed the entire statement, because I feel there is much more in it than this. In my feeling, the money invested in these veterans wll come back many times over, in the lifetime of the veteran, in benefits to the country. It is an investment to the country and more important an investment in the citizens of this country, which is the greatest thing the country can invest in.
And I think the AMVETS should be complimented for taking such a strong position, peacetime and wartime, in behalf of the needs of the veteran.
Mr. HOLDEN. Thank you.
Mr. Haley. Thank you very much, Mr. Holden, for your presentation. We are glad to have your statement.
Mr. HOLDEN. Thank you, sir. .
You have, I believe, Mr. Stover, a prepared statement.
Mr. Chairman, I have with me this morning Mr. Norman Jones, director of our national rehabilitation service.
Mr. Haley. Mr. Jones, we are also glad to have you with us this morning.
And, Mr. Stover, if you are going to make the main presentation, we will be glad to hear from you at this time.