Email responses to PolitiFact Texas from Lauren Skowronski, director, media relations, MSNBC

Feb. 8, 2012

Some info from one of our producers that might be helpful:




Here are some quotes that may be helpful for Politifact.   Please keep in mind that “relief” in the 1940s is synonymous with what modern audiences understand as “welfare.”


The Saturday Evening Post, 1950: “The education and training section of the GI Bill became, in reality, a relief act or a bonus act… more than 15 million veterans [still] entitled to an average of 40 months of schooling at Government expense, including subsistence.”


Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago:  “Colleges and universities will find themselves converted into educational hobo jungles… [The GI Bill] is a threat to American education [and] education is not a device for coping with mass unemployment.”


The Army Times 1944 editorial:  “[Some members of Congress fear] ‘encouragement of idleness through over-liberal unemployment compensation provisions.’ What kind of people do you think are fighting and winning this war?  The GI Bill is not charity… [Service men and women] have been taken from jobs, homes and futures to win a war. Certainly they deserve a little assistance in making their readjustments.”


Rep. John Rankin, Veterans Cmte Chairman: “There are two developments I see in it: I see the most violent discrimination against that strong, virile, patriotic determined man who goes into the Army to fight for his country and comes back and says, ‘I don’t want anything. I am going back and going to work and that is what the rest of you out to do… At the same time, I see a tremendous inducement to certain elements to try to get employment compensation. It is going to be very easy… to induce these people to get on federal relief.”


Rep. John Rankin, Veterans Cmte Chairman: “If every white serviceman in Mississippi… could read this so-called GI Bill, I don’t believe there would be one in 20 who would approve of it...  We have 50,000 Negroes in the service from our State and in, in my opinion, if the bill should pass in its present form, a vast majority of them would remain unemployed for at least another year, and a great many white men would do the same.”


“Not-for-attribution comments were drifting out of the committee that the provision would make loafers out of the veterans. ‘In some sections of the country, at least, men would rather loaf than work,’ was another observation floating around Congress.” (Michael Bennett)


Rep. Dewey Short (R-MO): “Have we gone completely crazy? Have we lost all sense of proportion?  Who will have to pay this bill?  You who think you are going to bribe the veterans and buy his vote, you who think you can win his support by coddling him and being a sob sister with a lot of silly, slushy sentimentality are going to have a sad awakening.”


Robert Watt, Intl Representative of the AFL: “If we give special status to the veterans today, we will be faced with the problem of special consideration for minority groups tomorrow.”


Four veterans’ organizations wrote in an open letter: “Everything that glitters is not necessarily gold … Certain features of the bill, notably the title on Educational Aid, are so broad in scope and potential cost… might jeopardize the entire structure of veteran benefits and provoke another Economy Act… Any legislation which grants entitlement to four years of college training at government expense to any able-bodied veteran who had ninety days service should be carefully examined in the light of our tremendous war debt…”

Feb. 8, 2012, 4:59 pm

Lawmaker quotes are from congressional record

Other are from publications from the era -  Saturday Evening Post and the Hearst papers