-by Kid Bucket-
Just as the religious right only seems to care about babies before they’re born, so it is with veterans as well. In a joyous Veteran’s Day spirit (seen here and here) I decided to look into just how much thanking the troops has been done by those who flaunt them so much. Trust me, it’s not exactly shocking, but it’s still pretty fucking sad.
Just recently, the first part of Obama’s Jobs Bill was voted on before a Senate recess so the Congressmen could go home and stand in front of some flags in a corn field. The bill, giving businesses who hired unemployed veterans up to $9,600 in tax credits was passed near unanimously, with a 94-1 vote.
Jim DeMint R-S.C., the dissenting vote, was quoted as saying:
“I cannot support this tax credit because I do not believe the government should privilege one American over another when it comes to work.”
I don’t think I’m special because I was in the service, but this guy is kind of being a dick.
This is a bright spot in an otherwise black hole that the veterans’ benefits are in danger of sinking into, because when many Congressman (cough Tea Partiers cough) see the budget, they see the money going to veterans’ benefits as not being paid for. The idea that money going to benefits is considered not to be paid for while also inflating the defense budget with weapons and vehicles that are unnecessary is completely ridiculous. The defense budget is full of projects that have inflated budgets, had no real timetable of production, and while that money could be used to pay the troops at a higher rate, it is mostly government contractors that will end up doing the work on these. When you take into account how much government contractors get paid for jobs active-duty service members could do, that bright spot in the black hole shines a little bit less.
Earlier this year, the GOP slashed 10,000 housing vouchers for homeless veterans in an effort to cut $75 Million from the budget. What they don’t seem to have a problem with is the project to develop a backup fighter jet engine that has been costing over $450 Million dollars a year. With the cost of one housing voucher equaling around $7500, you would be able to buy 60,000 housing vouchers every year.
I would also like to point out that the engine is being developed by GE, which has just a little bit more sway in congress than a group made up of unemployed veterans. Also, it is being developed in Ohio, which coincidentally in where Speaker of the House John Boehner is from. It’s really not hard to connect the dots at all.
Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann, the fan of America that she is, proposed cutting 4.5
hundred thousand million billion from the VA budget, cutting veteran’s health care spending and disability benefits. When confronted about the proposed cuts, she said that her plan was intended to start discussions on what could be cut from the nation’s budget.
In other words, she wasn’t outright saying she wanted to cut those items from the budget BUT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA.
But like I said, this isn’t anything new. The G.I. Bill is arguably the greatest veterans’ benefit to be offered by the government, and in 2008 it was made even better. Instead of a flat rate given out over 3 years, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill now offers a housing allowance and book stipends every year. There is no way to accurately measure how this piece of legislation has helped this country. When the new Bill was voted on, it was painfully obvious, again, who cared about helping servicemembers after their time in the military: