PoitiFact PolitiFarce is at it again:
In a promotional spot for his MSNBC program, Lawrence O’Donnell speaks proudly of his father attending college on the post-World War II benefits package that transformed the nation.
O’Donnell further says of the original GI Bill: “It’s the most successful educational program that we’ve ever had in this country — and the critics called it welfare.”
They did? Austin lawyer Terral Smith, a former Republican member of the Texas House, urged us to check this after seeing the ad in January.
So what did they rule?
We found no evidence of critics referring to the GI Bill as welfare. Yet some fretted that the law’s unemployment compensation element would encourage laziness. We see a touch of truth to O’Donnell’s claim, which we rate Mostly False.
Well OK, they didn’t call it “welfare” verbatim, but they did say this:
Comments from Rep. Rankin about fearing 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.” Another Rankin comment, suggesting the proposal would reward those who delayed seeking work: “The bane of the British Empire has been the dole system.” He also aired a racist comment, saying: “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.”
“The dole system” is what the British call welfare, so I have to give PolitiFact a “pants on fire, bunch of idiotic hacks” for this one. It seems like they are getting that more and more.