Are Veterans Getting a Fair Shake?
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by Frank Shortt
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More and more the Media is exposing possible flaws of the Veteran’s Affairs Department. Whether these alleged flaws are substantiated will be ironed out as soon as we get a leader who truly has a heart for what our military really means to America. A person, who has not experienced the day to day grind of being in a combat situation, or just fulfilling one’s commitment to Uncle Sam, would be hard put to understand the needs of a veteran. It seems sad that none of the candidates have ever served in the armed forces and known the discipline of day to day grind.
Trump says he understands what veterans need. How could he? He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His every wish was his parent’s command. Veterans groups have spaced themselves from him stating, “You’re a loser. You’re a third-rate politician who clearly doesn’t understand issues…” Trump at one time said that he feels very close to veterans because he was in military type schools as a youngster. This is not a fair comparison.
Hilary Clinton has a mixed record of voting on Veterans issues. Should she become president of the U.S., she would continue the policies of long-standing democrats, which has been a mixed record of helping our veterans, determined by whether an election is imminent. Republican records are not much better.
There are alleged long lines at Veterans Hospitals. Some wait for hours with almost life-threatening illnesses, others get to go ahead with a simple earache. I suppose it is ‘who you know’ that determines the wait. While in the military in the 1960’s I was exposed to very strong jet fuel while working on refueling rigs. Some of the strong fumes leaked into my ear, causing a major infection, and eventually a hearing loss. It is on my records. When I went to the Veterans, the office in San Jose, Ca. told me that I didn’t qualify because I had waited too long. Later, I went to the office in Placerville, Ca. and they proceeded to try and get me a hearing aid. My appointments, for examining my ear, were in Palo Alto, Ca. The doctors there told me that I did not qualify because I had waited too long to pursue my case. It is still on my records that I had this infection! I am not homeless, I am not dependent on Social Security for my retirement, I pay my own medical insurance, and consider myself very blessed of God with good health. How much would a small hearing aid cost the government, when they pay millions of dollars for bombs and ammunition to blow away in the oceans, killing millions of fish, polluting the waters of the world, and paying twenty-five dollars each for a small finish hammer from unscrupulous contractors?
Ted Cruz has attended the best schools America has to offer. He did not serve in the U.S. Military. Ted Cruz voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package, yet he insists that he is for helping all veterans, and that it is our responsibility as Americans to do so!
Bernie Sanders was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, although he did not speak out against those who served. During his tenure on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, the greatest scandal regarding Veteran’s health care was perpetrated. It is alleged by some Veteran’s groups that he did not do enough for Veterans while on the Committee.
The President’s 2017 Budget includes $182.3 billion for VA in 2017. This includes $78.7 billion in discretionary resources and $103.6 billion in mandatory funding. The question remains, how much is spent for day to day operations, such as, administrative costs, high salaries for administrators, and then dwindles down, down, down, to the lowly Veteran?
It is hoped that the next president will make the changes necessary in the Veteran’s Administration to assure that all our veterans are treated equally. After all, who has made all our freedoms possible throughout the history of our great nation?