Commentary: The New GI Bill

President Obama explained the rationale this way: “This is not simply a debt that we are repaying to the remarkable men and women who have served — it is an investment in our own country…The first GI Bill paid for itself many times over through the increased revenue that came from a generation of men and women who received the skills and education that they needed to create their own wealth. The veterans who are here today — like the young post-9/11 veterans around the country — can lead the way to a lasting economic recovery and become the glue that holds our communities together. They, too, can become the backbone of a growing American middle class.”What applies to veterans should apply to all. The President is right in saying that a societal investment in higher education (especially public higher education which is where the vast majority of students attend) will pay for itself with increases in employment, wages, tax revenue, and job creation.  Not to mention the gains in the areas of culture, civic engagement, and personal satisfaction.  PHENOM has been arguing for Free Community College (as a first step toward free higher education) in Massachusetts.  With this law, we now have achieved it for a significant segment of our population.  Let’s use this as a springboard and fight to achieve Free Community College for all.  See PHENOM’s discussion paper for a proposal for how to achieve it in Massachusetts.  Write to to invite PHENOM to your campus or community for a presentation and discussion.