Saturday, June 19, 2004

The GI Bill and the un-concentration of wealth

Title: Happy Birthday, GI Bill
Source: News and Observer
Date: June 16, 2004

The article is a look back at the benefits of the GI Bill. It's point is simple:
    The GI Bill of Rights turns 60 next week. Its impact is often noted but seldom fully appreciated. Revolutions don't produce as much social and economic change as this legislation has. Some economists will tell you the bill's higher education benefits became the building blocks of the modern American middle class.
It notes:
    In 1940, only 5 percent of the adult population had four-year degrees. A college education was too expensive for most Americans. The GI Bill changed all that. It made college possible for every veteran, regardless of economic class, ethnicity or religious background. Today, nearly 25 percent of the adult population has a bachelor's degree, and the GI Bill has a lot to do with that vast societal improvement. As if the education benefits weren't enough, veterans fueled the modern-day housing boom with their low interest, government-backed home loans.
The GI bill spread wealth out to common people, and changed millions of lives for the better. In the process, the American economy benefited from a huge pool of new consumers. What we are seeing today is the opposite -- a massive and accelerating concentration of wealth that is hurting more and more people.

When we start actively reversing the concentration of wealth, everyone in America will benefit. History has shown that many times.

[See also this post on the percentage of non-wealthy people going to college, and this post on robots and college.]


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