I have written a number of times about the abysmal failure of our congress to pay for the costs of war, which include our wounded veterans and those veterans rotating back into civilian life and looking for decent employment. We all, as Americans, should bear the burden of paying the price, whatever it is, if our country goes to war, whether a war we didn’t choose or one of choice. Lip service in the form of bumper stickers to support our troops, ostentatious display of the American flag, and other acts of patriotism do nothing to help those who paid the price and need and deserve our help.
I did not see it reported in the MDJ, but it was reported in the liberal/lame stream New York Times and AJC, among other media outlets, that all but five Republicans in the senate voted against a five year, billion dollar jobs training bill for our veterans. Part of the bill would have been paid for through fees levied on Medicare providers and suppliers who are delinquent on their tax bills. Republicans defended their action, or inaction, by claiming that the bill did not specify where the money would come from. Since any kind of tax, in this instance a war tax, is unthinkable by Republicans, I assume the message sent to our men and women in uniform, intended or not, is to eat cake. For those who have been touting for the past three years a slam dunk Republican victory in November, this should really help to make it across the finish line. Especially when voters recall the billions spent in earmarks in past years.
At the same time that the veterans jobs bill was voted down, former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates (an Eisenhower Republican---an extinct species) commented on the sequestration effects that will occur on the defense budget in January if Congress doesn’t address the problem. The Obama haters are blaming him for the problem, but the fact is that it was a bi-partisan agreement in which both houses provided for automatic cuts and tax increases to offset the debt over ten years by 1.2 trillion dollars. That includes big cuts to the defense budget and all discretionary federal spending that happens to encompass federal law enforcement, aircraft controllers, and a myriad of other services that the American people depend on. Gates pointed out that defense contractors have figured out how to diversify their manufacturing to as many states and congressional districts as possible in order for our elected representatives to resist shutting down any projects that would impact jobs---even weapons systems that the Defense Department says it doesn’t need. Those who are angry at the potential defense cuts and consequences should look at their own delegations for answers, many of whom also voted down the veterans jobs bill.