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Failing Our VeteransThe G.I. Bill and the Vietnam Generation$
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Mark Boulton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724873

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724873.001.0001

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Mr. President (Have Pity on the Fighting Man)

Mr. President (Have Pity on the Fighting Man)

Nixon’s Right Turn for America, Wrong Result for the Veterans

(p.119) 4 Mr. President (Have Pity on the Fighting Man)
Failing Our Veterans

Mark Boulton

NYU Press

This chapter examines how Vietnam veterans' benefits became the subject of attacks from the conservative Right. World War II veterans came home to an expanding economy that offered numerous opportunities. In contrast, many Vietnam War veterans returned at a time when the economy suffered its most significant downturn in decades. The nation's economic woes were compounded by a host of factors, including the enormous costs of the Vietnam War, the federal programs created under the Great Society, and the oil crisis during Richard Nixon's second term. This chapter considers how fiscal conservatism under the Nixon administration affected the plight of Vietnam veterans. It discusses Nixon's attempts to prevent Congress from passing a more generous G.I. Bill, along with the passage of the Veterans' Readjustment Act of 1972 and its failure to address the main problems created by the previous law with respect to benefits for Vietnam veterans.

Keywords:   veterans' benefits, conservative Right, Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, fiscal conservatism, Vietnam veterans, Congress, Veterans' Readjustment Act 1972

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