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Monday, February 07, 2005

Bush's "budget man" hates the troops...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From the third presidential debate: George Bush

I propose a detailed budget, Bob. I sent up my budget man to the Congress, and he says, here's how we're going to reduce the deficit in half by five years.

When the president first told the American people about his "budget man," I envisioned a tiny fella that looked like Buddy Lee running around Capitol Hill with a briefcase, screaming about how low low low his prices are and how crazy he must be for slashing them everywhere.

Little did we know that the "budget man" carried a big stick, and instead of swinging at the reckless tax cuts for the wealthiest among us--he is reaching out of the strike zone and attacking the troops. In fact, the budget man and the president HATE the troops.

Now the VA and the same troops "we support" are forced to fight a war on two fronts: One in Iraq & Afghanistan, and another for the most basic care and fulfillment of benefits promised when they signed the contract that the government wrote:

Support the troops?

President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday. [...]

The government had no immediate estimate of how many veterans would be affected if the user fee and co-payment proposals were adopted. But veterans' groups said that hundreds of thousands of people would end up paying more and that many would be affected by both changes. [...]

Mr. Fuller added that the budget would force veterans hospitals and clinics to limit services. "We are already seeing an increase in waiting lists, even for some Iraq veterans," he said.

In Michigan, for example, thousands of veterans are on waiting lists for medical services, and some reservists returning from Iraq say they have been unable to obtain the care they were promised. A veterans clinic in Pontiac, Mich., put a limit on new enrollment. Cutbacks at a veterans hospital in Altoona, Pa., are forcing some veterans to seek treatment elsewhere.

What a dick. I can't wait to see Jonah Goldberg and his fellow warrior typists defend this bullshit budget. The contract that the men and women of our armed services sign is apparently only good for the promises they make to our government, and not the ones we owe in return for their service.

As if the stick wasn't short enough for existing veterans and new ones returning from Iraq. Currently:

1.) At least 250,000 veterans are forced to wait for their disability claims to be resolved by the Veterans Administration (VA). Sometimes up to two years. Despite the fact that thousands of veterans returning from Iraq will file disability claims, the FY 2005 budget reduces to number of staff responsible for processing those claims.

2.) A 2002 study showed that 150,000 veterans wait more than six months for an appointment for primary care.

Oh yeah, here is the kicker.

3.) For every dollar in disability these wounded warriors will collect, they will have to forgo a dollar of their Social Security benefits. That is, of course, if the president can't take away social security from those troops (and the rest of us) first.

And after all of the bullshit that our veterans have to endure when they come back home from combat, they are forced to take a stick in the eye with this 2006 budget while they listen to Republicans scream "support the troops," while they dip their fingers in purple ink in the most spectacular show of grandstanding and hypocrisy of all time.

So let's be honest with ourselves from now on. I don't care what color the stink finger you wave at me is; if you supported the troops, you would fulfill the promises made when you wrote the contract.

Posted at 03:53 PM in DNC Chair | Technorati