Poking Sacred Badgers With Spoons
I am going to poke a sacred badger with a spoon here and ask a question or two about the goings on in Washington, D.C., specifically with regard to the “Expanded Veterans Benefits Bill.” The Bill, as proposed, would have expanded education benefits for survivors and new veterans, worked to reduce the Veterans Affairs claims backlog and opened VA care to more veterans.
Look, I am all about Veterans. I am one. But in all my years it never crossed my mind once during my time of service that I was doing what I was doing “for” the post service benefits. Yes, we understood that they were there, but it was never – for me at least – the motivating factor.
Bernie Sanders, who claims to be independent but caucuses with the Democrats, maintains that the bill is reward for the sacrifice of so many. Which again, in my mind, is not what we sacrificed to gain. But, let’s say that it is what we Veterans want and need. The payment for this bill is “from the money we used to spend on the war (Afghanistan/Iraq).” Senator Sanders claims that this makes it fundable to the tune of $21 Billion, since we “won’t” be fighting that war anymore.
The problem is pretty obvious, which is – as Democrats have been gleeful to point out – the war was never funded “on budget” in the first place. The money was off budget borrowing. Which means that IF we use that money, we will need to borrow another $21 Billion to fund this particular Veterans Education and Health program.
This differs from the recent discussion over the cuts to the COLA’s from Military retirees, in that those benefits were not “new,” but were cut by the GOP as a part of their budget collapse after which we were told that if we didn’t support the cuts – via the budget deal – that we supported deficits. The GOP tried to blame the Democrats for those cuts, but it was pretty clear who was really at fault.
But now, the Democrats have agreed to a budget deal, which this expanded veterans benefits bill clearly violates, even if it could be funded off budget by borrowing $21 Billion more money to fund it.
So my question is simple for my fellow Vets, is what this bill promises to do worth the cost to the nation? Is this what we asked for and need? Should we support the bill and push the GOP to pass it or should we stand for fiscal sanity?
What say ye? Let me know via eMail (HERE) or text or even voice mail (209-565-DAVE)