Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Talk is Cheap! (part 2)

This post is part 2 of my, “Talks Cheap” post. If you haven’t read part 1, please scroll down and read the previous post first.

Year after year the patriotic rhetoric from Pres. Bush’s administration grows louder while our veterans’ benefits continue to be cut and woefully under funded. There’s a name for the type of behavior this adminstration's displayed in supporting our troops; hypocrisy. Here are some of the headlines and excerpts from newspapers across the country in 2004 & 2005:

Demand Strains VA Sites in State
By Marsha Austin
Denver Post Staff Writer
Dec. 2004

Colorado’s veteran’s healthcare system is straining under unprecedented demand and a budget shortfall as thousands of ill and injured soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan in need of care.
“It will be a very difficult budget year,” said Ed Thorsland, director of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System. “We just hope and pray that we make it through”.
The $245 million budget for fiscal 2005, which has already started, is nearly $1 million less than 2002 funding levels.

Michigan State Clinic Reaches Capacity for Veterans Patients
Associated Press

Ted Sperling a 57 year old Lansing resident, who served two years in the Army, began going to the clinic 5 years ago. He recently saw a sign about cutting off new veteran patients. “It certainly isn’t fair,” he said. “I don’t like seeing other veterans denied something that’s permitted to me”.

VA Medical Center to Cut Back Services
Altoona Mirror, Altoona, Pa.
Dec. 2004

The Van Zandt VA Medical Center will cut back funding for patient services, eliminate money for military celebrations and strike all capital projects and hiring to ease a projected $5 million shortfall this fiscal year.
“It perturbs me,” local veteran Charlie Ofiesh said. “Costs keep going up, but they (Congress) don’t raise funding in the same percentage,” he said. “I can’t figure it out”.

Togus VA Medical Center Faces Budget Shortfall
By Dan McGillvry
Blethen Maine Newspaper

With a 14.2 million dollar shortfall projected for the annual allocation at the VA Medical Center at Togus, officials are exploring ways to cut costs while maintaining services at current levels.

In March 2005 the Togus Va Med. Center was forced to cut their staff by 50 employees.

Funds for Health Care of Veterans $1 Billion Short
2005 Deficit Angers Senate Republicans, Advocacy Groups
By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 24, 2005

The Bush administration, already accused by veterans groups of seeking inadequate funds for health care next year, acknowledged yesterday that it is short $1 billion for covering current needs at the Department of Veterans Affairs this year.
The disclosure of the shortfall angered Senate Republicans who have been voting down Democratic proposals to boost VA programs at significant political cost. Their votes have brought the wrath of the American Legion, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and other organizations down on the GOP.

If I wanted to make this blog post a book I could go on and on with headlines from every state saying the same type of things over and over, budget shortfall, cuts in funding, layoffs of medical staff, unable to service new veterans, closing VA pharmacies, closing VA medical centers. I think you get the point.

While this Republican administration and Republican controlled Congress talk a great game about the importance of supporting our troops, that’s all it is, Talk, their Actions in continuously under funding the VA speak much louder and clearer to the truth than their words ever will!


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