Skip to comments.A Fighting Strategy for Veterans
Posted on 03/04/2005 10:37:18 PM PST by Former Military Chick
Military veterans are crying foul over President Bush's budget proposals to cut spending on their health care. The budget must not be balanced "on the backs of veterans," wrote Stephen P. Condon, the chairman of the Air Force Association, in a recent letter to The Times, a point that was echoed by other veterans at Congressional hearings last month. We agree with the veterans - but for somewhat different reasons than they have put forth.
The veterans' goal is to block the president's attempt to impose new hospital fees, higher prescription co-payments and other spending constraints - all of which would add up to an estimated 16 percent reduction in veterans' benefits in 2010. (The estimate is from the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities because the administration, breaking with 16 years of budget tradition, did not provide five-year projections for specific programs.) But if veterans succeed in preserving only their own benefits, they will have been outfoxed by the administration.
Mr. Bush knows that wartime is no time to go after veterans' benefits. But by proposing changes that are politically implausible while challenging Congress to cut spending, the administration gains a bargaining chip: if lawmakers aren't willing to make the veterans' cuts the president has proposed, they will be pressured to make even deeper cuts in programs for people who don't have the veterans' ability to fight back.
In effect, Mr. Bush's budget pits veterans against the 660,000 women, infants and children whose food assistance is on the chopping block; against the 120,000 preschoolers who would be cut from Head Start; against the 370,000 families and disabled and elderly individuals who would lose rental assistance; against the whole communities that would lose support for clean air and drinking water; and so on.
The only way for veterans to avoid those unacceptable trade-offs is to refuse to fight on the president's terms. The size and scope of Mr. Bush's proposed spending cuts are a direct result of his refusal to ask for tax-cut rollbacks - that is, to ask wealthy investors, who have had lavish, deficit-bloating tax cuts over the past four years, to contribute toward deficit reduction. On the contrary, Mr. Bush's budget proposes even more tax breaks, specifically for people with six-figure incomes or more and overflowing investment portfolios.
Most galling, the new tax cuts would be, in themselves, so large that the net spending cuts Mr. Bush has requested would not be enough to pay for them, let alone reduce the existing deficit.
Veterans have the moral and institutional clout to argue that no one group should be singled out to make sacrifices until all groups are asked to sacrifice. Bolstering that case is the fact that all successful deficit-cutting budgets have included tax increases on the affluent, including President Reagan's 1983 budget, the first President George Bush's 1991 budget and President Bill Clinton's 1994 budget. Mr. Bush's 2006 budget must do the same. If veterans drive that point home, the benefits they'll save will be their own, and those of many women and children, too.
As if the New York Slime cares about veterans! Ha!!! Class warfare didn't work for Gore nor Kerry, what makes you think that a bunch of pencil neck geek reporters can use it against President Bush? The only veterans that will pay more are the ones that can afford it, category 8 and 9. Poor and service-connected disabled veterans won't see any increase, and the NYT knows it!
I was thinking about posting this masthead editorial, as opposed to an OpEd column, but I changed my mind. If I had posted it, then it would have been with MEATHEAD EDITORIAL for the author.
As for Headstart programs, I never heard of any study that they did anything to improve academic perfomance in elementary school.
What's most appalling is that they're wanting to spend millions on healthcare for illegals...</p>
There is no cut in Vet healthcare spending.
I for one, experienced a decrease in veterans co- pays due to my income decrease. At the VA hosp care providers take time and notice problems unlike many civilian providers who are struggling to see as many patients as possible.
Even if my income were substantially higher, I would pay to have care at the VA.
None of those other groups are federal responsibilities. There is no support in the Constitution for the federal government to be spending money on them. Veterans are however part of the federal government's power to raise and support armies and a Navy, as well as it's responsibility to defend the nation.
Bottom line, don't just cut Head Start, rental assistance, WIC, etc, etc, etc. Eliminate them and either let us keep some more of our money, or put the money to raising larger and more powerful armies (including the air army that we call the Air Force) and a more powerful Navy. I think we may need them in the not too distant future. Before Bush took office military spending, as a fraction of the total economy or GDP, was at lower levels than seen since before the pre WW-II buildup. While Bush has pushed the fraction up a bit, it's still nowhere near the level it was before Ronald Reagan started rebuilding the military after the disastrous Ford and Carter years.
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