This June marks two significant milestones for America’s veterans. Earlier this month—on June 6—the new “MISSION Act” when into effect, affording veterans inside the Veterans Affairs system significantly more choice in their health care options.
If veterans cannot be seen in a timely manner, or live too far away from a VA facility, they can vote with their feet—and the dollars follow the veterans. Rather than be stuck inside bureaucratic VA health care, millions of veterans can now choose private care that serves them better.
It’s common sense, but it was a fight to pass and implement at every step. Democrats, unions, legacy veterans groups (think VFW, Legion, etc.), VA officials, and the media all opposed this concept—arguing instead for expanding the socialist, and failing, VA system.
Even worse, their argument was grounded in a condescending view of veterans. They believe the big, bad world of non-VA care was just too complicated for veterans to figure out. Better to keep them inside the sheltered VA system, even if it’s not perfect. Basically, veterans are too dumb to choose.
As a public advocate for giving veterans more VA health care choices, this is a fight I’ve written a great deal about. However, there is another anti-veteran choice movement afoot that has received much less media coverage.
This month also marks the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill—an educational benefit that America’s military veterans earned through service in the uniform of our nation. Sadly, just like veteran’s health care choices, extreme Democratic politicians are calling for restrictions on where veterans can choose to go to college. Here we go again.
Earlier this week, Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., a former university chancellor and president, introduced a partisan bill to restrict the ability of veterans to use their earned education benefits, like the GI Bill, at taxpaying career colleges (otherwise known as vocational schools, trade schools, or “for profit” schools). Never one to spare an insult in the service of partisan motives, Shalala even went so far as to call the credentials earned by veterans at these schools “worthless.” That’s liberal, condescending elitism to the max.
But she’s not alone—2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are also targeting veterans’ educational choices.
Both Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro have released proposals pushing for the full elimination of a veteran’s right to attend career colleges in the private sector using either military or veteran education benefits.
In a town hall earlier this year, Kamala Harris said she wants “to get rid of” taxpaying career colleges all together! Typical of the modern left—if you don’t like it, just try to ban it.
Worse, every sitting Democratic Senator who is a candidate for president signed onto a partisan bill restricting veterans from attending over 250 career schools attended by over 150,000 former service members.
That includes so-called “moderate” presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Just like Democrats defending the failed VA health care system, the left will stop at nothing to ensure that the government—not veterans—controls all the decision making.
This should alarm veterans—and the American public. In the service of their ideological aims, the leaders of the Democratic Party want to deny veterans the right to choose where they go to school under the GI Bill. In doing so, just like with their fight against veterans’ health care choice, Democrats have exposed themselves for who they really are: the anti-veterans choice party.
Leftwing extremists do a great job of labeling American businesses—including taxpaying schools—as predatory for-profit colleges.
It is much easier to advance a big government, anti-school choice agenda by labeling the enemy as evil for-profit enterprises.
Then Democrats falsely tell the public that veterans are victims (always, victims!) of massive corporations (and that the entire American free market system is broken!). It’s not true—at all—but it can be effective propaganda.
The research shows otherwise. Veterans use the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend taxpaying career colleges for very pragmatic reasons: they are adult-oriented, family-friendly, and career-focused with flexible schedules.
They are not duped or tricked into attending a career school. To suggest otherwise is an insult to military veterans.
I’ve met these veterans. I’ve met these college administrators. Nobody is being duped. In fact, to the contrary, these schools are improving the lives of veterans every day!
Democrats also see taxpaying career colleges as an infringement on the traditional higher education mafia—a collection of colleges and universities primarily controlled by leftist loyalists.
No wonder Democrats want to destroy career colleges and tax Americans to fund “free college”—to boost the ranks of leftist loyalists.
Here are the brass tacks of what Democrats are missing: The American workforce is in desperate need of more skilled workers. We need more aircraft technicians, truck drivers, welders and many other middle-skills professionals not being adequately served by the traditional higher education mafia.
Instead of banning veterans from using their benefits at these schools, America should applaud former service members for stepping up to study these vocations using their hard-earned veterans benefits. These vets are the future of our economy.
So, with veterans earning more health care choice—and loving it!—we should use the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill to remind Democrats of one simple truth: veterans do not need the government to hold their hand when choosing a college.
Veterans are not dumb. Let them choose!