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Thursday, October 27, 2016

While Congress eagerly prepares its latest political stunt – a resolution to oust Gen. Eric Shinseki as Veterans Affairs Secretary – members might want to consider their own responsibility for the scandalous inadequacy of veterans’ health care. Unlike most of them, especially on the Republican side, Shinseki opposed the incompetent war plans of the Bush administration that left so many American service men and women grievously wounded. And unlike most of them, especially on the Republican side, Shinseki has done much to reduce the backlog of veterans seeking care, despite the congressional failure to provide sufficient funding.

Anyone paying attention knows by now that those secret waiting lists at VA facilities – which may have led to the premature deaths of scores of injured veterans – are a direct consequence of policy decisions made in the White House years before Barack Obama got there. The misguided invasion of Iraq, carried out with insufficient numbers of troops shielded by insufficient armor, led directly to thousands of new cases of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other physical and mental illnesses requiring speedy treatment.

A substantial portion of the estimated three-trillion-dollar price of that war is represented by the cost of decent care for veterans. But even as that war raged on, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress repeatedly refused to appropriate sufficient funding for VA health care. This financial stinginess toward vets was consistent with Bush’s refusal to take any steps to pay for his expensive war (and to protect his skewed tax cuts instead). As Alec McGillis explained in The New Republic, legislators who voted for war while opposing expansion of the VA are hypocrites, particularly when they claim to care about veterans.  So are the Republican governors who claim to care about vets but refuse to expand Medicaid, which would provide coverage for more than 250,000 impoverished veterans.

Breaking down the voting record, year after year, the pattern along party lines is clear: Republicans regularly seek cuts in VA funding and oppose Democratic efforts to increase that funding — a pattern that extends back to the first years of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts and continues to this day. As recently as last February, Senate Republicans filibustered a Democratic bill that would have added $20 billion in VA funding over the next decade, which would have built at least 26 new VA health care facilities. The Republicans killed that bill because Democratic leaders refused to add an amendment on Iran sanctions – designed to scuttle the ongoing nuclear negotiations – and because they just don’t want to spend more money on vets. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee, said the costs of the expansion bill would be covered by savings from the end of troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. But with cruel irony, according to The Washington Post, “Republicans indicated that they prefer to dedicate the savings toward deficit reduction” rather than improved services.

What those who have served should get is the kind of care that has made the VA among the most successful health systems in the world (for those who can access its services). Instead they will get political swaggering, as members of Congress seek to score points against President Obama by attacking Shinseki, and dogmatic opportunism, as right-wing ideologues insist the VA is just another big government program to cut or even abolish. The Republicans who are susceptible to such proposals should be very careful, lest they arouse the anger of the normally conservative American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, whose leaders react with anger and outrage to the idea of privatization. As American Legion commander Dan Dellinger said in congressional testimony last week, his organization overwhelmingly “finds that veterans are extremely satisfied with their health care team and medical providers.”

So let’s not be misled about the VA by Washington’s loudmouths and poseurs — the warmongers who never face up to the price of their enthusiasm in lives and treasure. When politicians demand accountability from their betters, including a war hero like Eric Shinseki, let’s remember that they should be held accountable, too.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Independent1

    “But with cruel irony, according to The Washington Post, “Republicans indicated that they prefer to dedicate the savings toward deficit reduction” rather than improved services.”

    It appears that the scumbags that comprise the GOP weren’t content with keeping millions of their constituents struggling in unemployment by nixing the extensions of unemployment benefits several times; and with keeping millions of those even working struggling with incomes below the poverty level by nixing any thoughts of an increase in the minimum wage; and allowing thousands of Americans who currently can’t afford medical care to die prematurely by nixing the expansion of Medicaid benefits. They’ve also gone even further into the depths of depravity by choosing to let thousands of wounded war veterans that they were responsible for putting into harms way suffer and even die prematurely by choosing to use available monies to reduce deficit spending which was never a priority when Bush was in office,instead of to expand VA services for our wounded veterans which could have not only extended the lives of many of them but which should also have made life much easier to live for those who did not die. How, just how, do these absolute lowlifes even look at themselves in the mirror each morning without feeling guilty for all the suffering they’re causing or how do they sleep at night knowing the great suffering their ridiculous actions are inflicting on so many other human beings???

  • Independent1

    Great article Joe. This is the kind of information that we need to splash across the front pages of every media outlet in America, so more and more Americans can see just how depraved the GOP has become.

    • RobertCHastings

      I am so glad that he points the finger directly at Bush and his VP and Secretary of Defense. We should all remember that the point was made when Obama appointed Shinseki to head the VA that Shinseki was the one that REFUSED to render an invasion plan without adequate troops. Gen. Franks, more a politician than a general, gave in, leading to the tens of thousands of injuries which are now flooding the VA. And, during the W administration, the Republicans in Congress repeatedly reduced benefits to these same injured warriors, even going so far as to remove guarantees that had been in place for years to assure them their old jobs when they returned from service. Iraq and Afghanistan represent the first wars the US has fought that were basically NOT financed. Like Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” the Republicans supported mandated actions without mandated funding, setting up conditions for the burgeoning Debt and the collapse of 2008.

    • exdemo55

      “Forget for a moment that Republican outrage,” said King on his CNN show this morning. “More and more Democrats in key 2014 races are calling for the president to get a spine, they say, and fire his Veterans Affairs secretary. And what more and more Democrats are saying privately is scathing, calling the president and his team detached, flat footed, even incompetent.

      “Maggie Haberman,” said King turning to a panelist, “that’s what strikes me, what democrats are saying privately in the wakes of the problems, they see a president who doesn’t want to take command, doesn’t want to act fast. Raising the competence question. Some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn’t appear to have its hand on the lever.”

      Haberman of Politico agreed, cited more examples, and added: “All of this adds up to somebody who just doesn’t seem at all involved.”

      • jmprint

        SO if they are saying something in private, how is it that it is private. if King knows about it?

        • exdemo55


          • Sand_Cat

            So how do we know that the “leaks” are true, and – even if they are- that they have any connection to anything whatsoever except another spineless and vain attempt to take the heat off and mollify the GOP? Many of the Dems still don’t seem to realize the GOP will continue to milk this – why wasn’t it done sooner, etc. – for as long as they can, then move on the next “scandal,” which – like pretty much all the others except maybe this one – will almost certainly be entirely of their own manufacture.

  • dmhlt_66

    Like Sen. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly told the Rethuglicans:

    If you won’t agree to take care of our veterans when they come home, then don’t send them to war in the first place.

    • docb

      It is about access NOT the quality of care! We have had 2 MILLION Vets come into the system as a result of the Afghan and Iraq Wars and have the bureaucrats handling the appointment schedule..NOT the Physicians! A regular Hospital has little experience with the kind of wounds suffered and the multiple amputations and theraphy necessary to treat the wounded. Unless attached to a Medical teaching facility!

      Then there is this:

    • Dominick Vila

      Sending our young to war, while cutting taxes to the point that adequate armor could not be provided, and spending much of the limited financial resources that were available on sole source contracts, was a recipe for disaster. Add to it the need to restructure our government institutions to make them more effective, and the consequences should not surprise anyone.
      As it happens so often, the ones that are feeling the pain of decisions driven by political imperatives, greed, and incompetence are the ones who risked it all, expecting nothing in return. Add

    • dpaano

      Bernie always knows what to say and how to say it!!!

  • Charvi3

    Blame all those Republicans in Congress and those in “The Right Wing Replublican Movement” that has been ruling the U.S. like it cannot rule itself, like, John Boehner, expressed to me…it has been nothing but, “Nasty Politics” and to put the icing on the cake please read below: in ref to who wants to hurt the Veterans:

    The GOP Wants to Take Away our Veterans’ HealthcarePosted on
    It has become apparent over the last three years that Republicans talk
    about helping vets when they come home from combat, but in reality want to take it away. Since 2011 the GOP has tried unsuccessfully to cut benefits our disabled veterans desperately need.

    Veterans have been fighting for what the government promised them after
    their service ends, since George Washington was President. If veterans
    hadn’t fought for their benefits in the past centuries, they wouldn’t have
    any benefits today. The fight continues to this day. Since President Obama won his first term the Republican Party has demonstrated just how vigilant they can be in taking away our veterans’ promised benefits.

    Recently the right-wingers have backed off cutting veterans’ health care
    and concentrated on the failed attempt to get one of their own elected
    president. Soon thereafter, the GOP returned to the healthcare issue using the Affordable Care Act as a tool to extort and eventually shut down our government.

    The irony here is that if they would use the ACA to provide veterans with
    much needed health care, they could save billions in taxes and give our
    vets better healthcare than they have now. There leaves no doubt that the GOP doesn’t want anyone to have health care.

    The Republican Party is steadfast in its attempts to take away all veteran
    benefits. February of 2011, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced her plans to reign in federal spending, in part by cutting $4.5 billion from
    the Department of Veterans Affairs – specifically disabled veteran
    compensation. Bachmann’s vile attempt to cut so deeply into benefits our
    disabled veterans deserve, further evidenced the GOP’s willingness to stop at nothing when saving their rich benefactors tax money.

    Shortly after Bachmann’s attempt to cut the $4.5 billion, Rep. Paul Ryan
    and the House of Representatives tried to end VA healthcare benefits for
    disabled vets. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts
    specified in “Option 35,” would end healthcare for over 130,000 veterans.
    Veterans who have illnesses caused by agent orange, for example, would not be able to get treatment.

    The VA currently spends over $4 billion yearly on benefits to treat
    disabled veterans, despite co-pays intended to offset the expense. Ryan’s
    cuts are intended to shave $6 billion off the VA’s tab and $62 billion
    over the next 10 years. This means, in plain arithmetic, that Ryan wants
    to cut more money than the VA is receiving. It means Republicans want to
    take away all our veterans’ benefits and leave nothing in its place.


    Fran Perry

  • joe schmo

    In vowing to make the Veterans Administration the model of national
    health-care reform back in 2008, the outlook for scandal-plagued
    Obamacare suddenly seems even worse.

    During his transition into the White House in 2008-09, President Obama proposed in his “Obama-Biden” plan to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.”

    However, instead of fixing the VA, the administration has had to defend its role in the death of veterans by neglect.

    during his transition into the White House in 2008-09, President Obama proposed in his “Obama-Biden” plan to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.”

    However, instead of fixing the VA, the administration has had to defend its role in the death of veterans by neglect.

    Eight years earlier, in a failed run for Congress, Obama unveiled a
    sweeping health-care plan that modeled aspects of the Veterans
    Administration’s medical system.

    The VA problems became a national sensation April 14 when CNN
    reported that at least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at
    the Phoenix VA, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

    The discovery of the Obama-Biden VA plan fits a pattern that has come
    to light this week in which Obama repeatedly warned, or was warned, of
    serious problems at the VA but apparently did little in response.

    In the document labeled the Obama-Biden Plan from the Office of the
    President Elect, Obama makes a series of promises to veterans,

    -Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy: Hire additional claims workers, and
    improve training and accountability so that VA benefit decisions are
    rated fairly and consistently. Transform the paper benefit claims
    process to an electronic one to reduce errors and improve timeliness.

    -Strengthen VA Care: Make the VA a leader of national health care
    reform so that veterans get the best care possible. Improve care for
    polytrauma vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging,
    and women’s health.

    -Fully Fund VA Medical Care: Fully fund the VA so it has all the
    resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it.
    Establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget

    The Obama-Biden plan seems to have fallen so far short of its promise to “Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy” that the VA itself has admitted 23 vets have died waiting for care, and investigations of possible death-by-neglect have spread to 26 VA facilities around the country.’


    • edwardw69

      The ACA requires people to buy private health insurance. The VA is run by the government. Do you see the difference? No? I’m not surprised.

      • joe schmo

        Yes, and the government is striving for single payer. Like Medicare, like Medical like the VA. Some of my family members were Drs. in Europe. You see the system did not work all that well because people had to wait sooo long to see their Drs. So my family opened a private clinic but, then, of course, you had to pay for that. I believe that is what our medical system will turn in to. It is not peachy. I can honestly tell you that and, I predict it will turn out to be handled much like the VA.

    • rockcut

      You are assuming a lot in your post. First, to complete the plan you need the Funding of Congress. If one looks over the years the GOP opposes increased VA funding. You zeal to blame Obama shows that you do not consider many other aspects of this problem. I think a more level head claim would be that “there is enough blame to go around on botrh sides of the political parties !!!!

      • joe schmo

        This comment I agree with. Both parties are to blame. Sooo let’s cut funding somewhere else within some other useless government program. Let’s start with Tom’s idea and stop giving money to some Countries we don’t need to help. Remember charity starts at home. Oh, and maybe we need to relieve some people in the VA of their duties. There is way to much heaviness on the top to begin with. Salaries need to be cut, people need to be let go who are not necessary because let’s face it the Government wastes money all the time. The Unions need to really think about what they are doing. Keeping someone who is worthless and not being able to fire them is ridiculous. New laws within Unions need to be changed.

      • Duckbudder

        Do people really think that the POTUS is dealing with every aspect of every department? Who on the right called for C. Christie’s head for the actions of a subordinate. Heads should roll, but only the responsible heads.

        • rockcut

          I am with you. People who hate Obama will blame him for everything wrong on earth. I, like you want to see a complete investigation and those responsible should be fired.

      • Sand_Cat

        He’s assuming people here are stupid enough to believe his BS.

    • Bill

      I’m tired of the GOP assholes blaming everything that goes wrong on Obamacare and Obama when they block everything he tries to do. The VA is not part of Obamacare, it is health care provided by the Government to Vets. I’m a vet that uses the VA for all of my health care and its the best health care I’ve ever had.

      • joe schmo

        Single payer/Medicare system is what Obama is shooting for. Trust me on that one. Harry Reidtard is the roadblock in Congress and covers Obama’s ass. Cutting down the conservatives gets the president no where. Congress has enacted so many suggestions but the President refuses to acknowledge any of them. How can you have a government that works one side against the other and visa versa. Besides, in my entire life I have never heard of one president who handled Republicans so badly. What does a dog do when it is backed into the corner?

        This is a good point and one that makes a ton of sense. Why don’t you ask yourself this question when you think Congress is the problem that holds the country down.

        ‘Anyone else sick of hearing Obama whine about how it’s all one parties fault? Clinton worked with Newt Gingrich and the idealistic freshman class of 1994 – a congress controlled by GOP all the way with plenty of idealogy- and reformed welfare and earned a budget surplus for the first time in decades. Reagan faced a congress that openly made fun of him and even had some dem senators calling our enemies giving them “tips” on how to make him look bad, but managed to win the cold war and turn around an economy that had been in the doldrums since Gerald Ford. I can’t believe with that precident we can’t ask Obama why he can’t get something done. He had a purely dem congress for 2 years and the GOP only holds one now, an has spent trillions. Are we really supposed to believe this isn’t a failure in leadership?’

        Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

        • JPHALL

          Why must Obama do what one party in Congress demands? That party has blocked just about everything Obama has constitutionally proposed. Why can’t the Republicans do what is best for this country instead of their party? Why not pass tax and immigration reform, a jobs bill and others things not ties to “Obamacare”? They know the Democrats will block those bills. Move on and do the country’s business.

          • joe schmo

            How would you know what is best for this Country. Your idea for this country has become quite different than mine. Yah, they block everything because he simply refuses to work with them and meet in the middle. It is his way or the highway.

            Tax Reform? Geez, don’t we pay enough in taxes already. Liberals just want more and more money. Immigration reform? No friggin way! Bracero Program yes. Legalization no. My parents came over here as Legals and I resent anyone getting a free ride. Besides if the immigration system were fair then people from all countries would have a chance. As it is we let in the most deprived and undereducated. If there were a quota like there used to be everyone from every walk of life would have an opportunity to immigrate here and as far as taking up their culture. Screw that one too. I am bilingual and I do not speak my 2nd language in public. It is simply rude.

            Jobs bill. He’s been trying to pass this thing since he has been in office and it is not budging. Reason being, there is a tax increase attached. Seriously, $200,000 is rich? Not by today’s standards. If you want to tax the uber wealthy then start at lets say 3 million on up, but then there are not enough of those type of millionaires to go around and the greedy government won’t get their hands on all that much. Unfortunately, many of those things you mention above are attached to Obamacare and if the VA issue is indicator about what’s to come.

            the Republicans! — that is central to President Obama’s campaign. –

            For starters, higher taxes on the wealthy and on oil companies – two moves that were dead on arrival in the House. It also required Congress to
            come up with additional spending cuts on top of the $1.5 trillion required of the debt ceiling agreement. That was unlikely in the extreme, since Congress had yet to actually agree on any budget cuts of substance.

            The Act also included expansion of unemployment benefits. A new study from Deloitte confirms fears that doing so is counterproductive, saying “current UI policy actually keeps the unemployment rate high because it can dissuade workers from relocating and making other hard decisions when they can receive close to 50 percent of their former wage in UI benefits.” The GOP was never going to go for that.

            In anticipation of the proposal, Republican House leaders sent a letter to the president asking
            to meet with him, in order to craft a plan that might actually have bipartisan support. At the same time, Senate Minority leader Mitch
            McConnell suggested, “(the president) might start working with Congress, instead of writing in secret, without any consultation with Republicans, a plan that the White House is calling bipartisan.” That request went unanswered.

            Anathema to Republicans, the Jobs Act
            contained restrictions and rules that might make for good campaigning but that would sock it to taxpayers – such as a “buy American” clause
            and “prevailing wage” language that would inflate costs and pander to unions. Muddying the bill further, it included waivers in case such
            rules went against the “public interest.” It was, in short, vintage Obama – relying on government to get things going but including a back door exit in case of failure.

            Clogging up the nation’s commercial bloodstream with inflated costs and impenetrable rules will
            only make us less competitive and weaker in the long run. The White House doesn’t understand that – or why offering temporary tax cuts to
            hire workers will fail. It also continues to pretend that only small businesses create jobs. Heads up! Half our workers are employed by big

            You also have this notion that the minimum wage should be increased. Fine and dandy but most likely what will occur is that, by trying to curb costs, companies will hire less people to make up for the now higher wage.

            So any way you look at it it is a lose, lose situation. It takes two to tango and neither side wants to dance….

          • Sand_Cat

            Well, one thing that’s best for this country is preventing malicious and delusional idiots such as you from getting their way.

          • joe schmo

            Did you happen to read the post that you keep ignoring. Fat chance Sand_Cat. Instead of working with them, your Man consistently goes behind congress. Told you so…. What are they supposed to do….punt?

          • Annemb

            …people NEED a decent wage to live — to support themselves / a family. $7.25 is not enough and neither is $10.10. There is income disparity between men’s and women’s wages too. People don’t ask to be poor!

          • joe schmo

            No one wants to be poor but, seriously, $15.00 per hour. Look and see how Companies retaliate. There will be less people hired, more part timers and less full time work. You know businesses always know how to work around the system. Mark my word on that one. Problem is high schoolers and college kids used to do the 7.25 jobs. Now we have the illegals doing that work. Don’t worry this is one I can honestly say down the road…..I told you so… Your emotions are now getting in the way. Those poor people. Yah, those poor people will soon be out of a job….

          • joe schmo

            Because Obama is not doing what is best for this country, refuses to work toward the center, as a result, Congress bulks. Not sure why you can’t see that. Why should everything go Obama’s way?

          • Sand_Cat

            Idiot. By “moving toward the Center,” he’d be getting more liberal.
            You want him to move toward the extreme lunatic right, where you are.

          • joe schmo

            Sand_cat by name calling why bother. Obama is an extremist. Why do you suspect the Conservatives are so outraged. He is FORCING us to do things we don’t want. It’s more than natural for you to stick to your side. Rightly so, but your center is no longer that. I have some left leaning ways but mostly I think like a Conservative. I really don’t see that with you people. You tend to verge on totalitarianism and that is something we Conservatives see and you do not. Since meeting in the middle is not an option for you people. See you in the USSA. Just wait until you no longer have rights. Then who will be screaming just like we are now. Only we already saw it coming up the road. July 1st will be an eyeopener…..

            Seriously, his latest stunt to release five ‘extreme’ terrorists from Gitmo and he wants to release the remaining. He is doing everything he can so underhandedly. I really hope it comes back to haunt his legacy. Pleeeeaassse. His Muslim roots are showing. It is all too clear.

          • Sand_Cat

            His “Muslim roots,” eh? So in addition to racism and delusion, we now know you subscribe to the idiotic “birther” BS as well. You’re right: I shouldn’t call you names, but rather sit back and watch you do the talking for me.

          • joe schmo

            Oh get off it, you have no clue what racism is. That is the term u use for anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

          • Sand_Cat

            Sort of like “Communist” is for you?
            No need to project your faults on me.

          • joe schmo

            No one is void of faults.

            Now you know how it feels don’t you. With the exception that your statement addresses both sides of the aisle (Not me. I have indicated that many times). There is prejudice and racism coming from both sides.

            Communism definitely fits Liberal ideology, not Conservative.

            Case in point:
            -Equality for everyone (Not possible we are each unique individuals with different talents, abilities, religions etc..

            -The same paycheck for everyone (Seriously, a doctor and a plumber?

            -No wealth (share the wealth)

            -No Innovation due to lack of competition (lack of competition spurs lack of innovative ideas)

            -Run by the government (From Healthcare to Unions, the writing is on the wall)

            -Working 8 to 5 no more, no less (incites laziness. I have seen this with my Communist cousins)

            -Globalization (One big happy family….won’t work. It is a fantasy in your own mind. Forced globalization will not be accepted)

            Sound familiar. Didn’t work in Russia, won’t work here either.

        • Sand_Cat


          • joe schmo

            Honestly, Sand_Cat you have so little to say….why bother.

        • Annemb

          It IS the TGOP’s fault!

          • joe schmo

            Oh, boo hoo hoo, they are just such a disgusting group aren’t they. Thank God whether TP or Constitutionalist, or Conservative, sometimes Independent we tend to stick together….. Everything is the TP’s fault or the Koch’s fault Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. Next time you want to put the blame on someone look in your own realm of extremists.

        • RobertCHastings

          Ad single-payer is by far the cheapest and most efficient option we can choose. Countries that have single-payer, including some of our industrialized European allies, have a much better system than ours, in terms of cost AND outcomes. The myth of waiting lines for emergency care in Canada is just that, a myth, perpetrated by those who have an agenda which you are apparently incapable of seeing. A main goal of single-payer is the elimination of the private insurance industry, which has been conservatively estimated would save us in excess of $300B/year, MORE than enough to cover ALL costs incurred by a single-payer system. Germany has a system that includes private insurers; however, they are constrained by the government to ALL offer the SAME product for the same cost. Like our current system of crop insurance, the ONLY difference is in service.
          You better refresh your take on the Clinton/Gingrich “détente”. Things were not as rosy as you apparently believe they were.

      • Duckbudder

        This Vet is very satisfied, also.

    • RobertCHastings

      I realize it may be a little difficult for you to grasp this, but without adequate funding, NOTHING will improve with the situation at the VA, and the reason for inadequate funding? You want to take a wild guess?

      • joe schmo

        Of course, you will blame Congress. Since everything is blamed on the Republicans. Lest you forget that Congress consists of the House and Senate. Liberals and Republicans. Remember this, Obama is not a God and his jesters Peloser and Reidtard are not flawless. It takes two sides to tango and neither wants to dance. You have once again been fed bullshit by your media…

        • RobertCHastings

          Congress does, as you so brilliantly realize, have TWO separate and distinct Houses. When they are NOT operating hand in hand, as they have many times in the past, not much will get done regarding the business of the people. What is to be gained by the House’s passing a bill for the abolishment of the ACA when the know it will not be acted upon by the Senate. It does do one thing. It illustrates the validity of the Mark Twain definition of stupidity – doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

          • Annemb

            Each vote to “repeal” the ACA costs the taxpayer $1.45Million.

          • joe schmo

            I guess that puts the Liberals in a new light doesn’t it. The new achievers of Marxist values. What a bright new idea for this country and the worst thing is that you have absolutely no clue what you are asking for. Let me guess…..60’s hippie. What a worthless generation that was. I came a little later. I hated the pot and long hair. For some reason drug addicts think they are superior to normal folk. Gee, I guess drugs really do some brain damage after all.

          • RobertCHastings

            Do you even have an understanding of “Marxist values”? Communal ownership of “private” property” is a far cry from an equitable distribution of wealth. During the 1960s (an era which you apparently did NOT live through), wealth distribution was NOT the issue it is today for one very simple reason – in the 60s, wealth was equally distributed between the wealthy 10% and the rest of us. Middle class people had no difficulty buying and financing a house and two cars and sending their two children to college, all at the same time. Unless you have been on the moon or somewhere else totally isolated from the realities of today’s economy, very few in the “middle class” are able to do that today. While it is not the result of a “slide into communism”, it is a result of a slide into oligarchy, in which capitalism rules, rather than democracy.

        • JPHALL

          Still being a Republican troll I see. Read the US Constitution about how the government should work. Then tell me why Obama must do what one party wants while that party can vote no on anything he proposes.

          • joe schmo

            There you go name calling again, kind of childish if you ask me. The US Constitution? You mean your interpretation of it. As far as I am concerned, it is slowly becoming null and void. The Repubs vote no on everything he proposes because some of his ideology is rooted in Marxist ideology and anti-colonial virtues. Not only that, they are excluded from his self proclaimed sorority. Why should he get his way on everything.

            As far as I can see the Republicans have been wimps in not standing up to Obama even more than they do. They just let him free roll over them with his policies and the sign of a pen on paper. Boehner, McCain, Christy, Jeb Bush, McConnell. All the RINO’s. The only reason they raise their voices at the moment is because of the upcoming election. After that it will be back to business as usual.

          • Annemb

            The Constitution will NEVER be null and void, however hard the right-wingers attempt to make the USA a theocracy! Hell no!!!

          • joe schmo

            As long as you keep pouncing on it, it most certainly will be.

            Simon Black article:

            ‘A lot of places in the world go out of their way to drive away productive, talented foreigners. In Chile, they roll out the red carpet for them.

            Panama has a similar policy. It’s so easy to obtain residency in Panama, in fact, that citizens from dozens of countries can become
            residents of Panama with almost no prerequisite whatsoever.

            Even in stodgy old Europe, many countries like Belgium and Lithuania provide residency visas for individuals who set up companies there.

            Estonia (which is definitely on Europe’s cutting edge) recently announced a program for foreigners to apply for and receive residency, all online.

            They aim to grant residency to a whopping 10 million foreigners over the next decade.

            Singapore is another place famous for its straightforward residency programs, especially for those who come to Singapore and start a business.

            And according to an article this morning from Xinhua News, even ‘Communist’ China is looking to drastically lower the bar for foreigners to obtain permanent residency “in order to attract overseas talent.”

            Talent is everything. Just like a business which cannot thrive without productive, talented workers, nations too need talented, productive people.

            There are obviously a lot of places in the world which understand this very simple concept. The United States is not one of them.

            Here in the Land of the Free, the government chases talented people away.

            If you’re from here, they’ve sucked out almost every possible incentive for you to take risks and achieve more.

            They’ll take a massive portion of your earnings. Regulate the hell out of you. Burden you with unnecessary compliance costs. Get the IRS to
            chase you around. And even the President of the United States will point his finger and say “you didn’t build that..”

            Meanwhile, if you’re a foreigner, the US government can’t build a wall quickly enough to keep you out.

            Talented foreigners who get trained here at the universities are shown the door and thrown out on their bupkis as soon as they graduate.

            Other foreigners whose sole desire is to come to the United States, start a business, and create American jobs are being shot down like pheasants at a hunting lodge.

            It’s hard to imagine this government being any more anti-job, anti-business, anti-growth. But I have no doubt they’ll soon figure out an even dumber approach and slide further down the slippery slope.

            It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is going. People.Savings. Ideas. Businesses. In the long-run, all of these things will go where they are treated best.

            Those nations which welcome them will thrive. Those nations which punish them will decline. It’s always been this way.

            Welcome to the new USA who let’s in the very uneducated and untalented where do you think we are headed….3rd world, honey, 3rd world.

        • Sand_Cat

          Of course we blame Congress. They are the ones primarily to blame.
          Of course you will blame Obama. The people you support are primarily to blame.

          • joe schmo

            That’s purely heresay. It takes two to tango and neither wants to dance….

          • Annemb

            There are solos where it doesn’t take two to dance!

          • joe schmo

            LOL, fat chance….at the moment they are solo. That’s the problem.

        • JPHALL

          So why is Obama responsible for the failure of Congress to do its job? What have the Republicans done to fix any problem or expose the malfeasance of anyone the last six years? Several “scandals” but no indictments. I guess just another wave of Whitewater – years of investigations and millions spent for nothing.

          • Annemb

            You are absolutely correct.

            And how many times has Boehner asked, “…where are the jobs”?

            My response? Check President Obama’s “Jobs Bill” collecting dust on your desk … for how many years now?

          • joe schmo

            Dude, you have got to quit blaming Congress. It takes two to tango, remember. Stop protecting Obama’s failures. Obama is not doing his job. He leaves much of his work in the hands of his henchman.. You know Jarret, Peloser, Reidtard, Holdup. No indictments because everyone is either retired, placed on leave or pleading the 5th. He fires no one. Holder is the hold up. Our attorney general is a total crook. The media protects these idiots with every once of their being. Obama has made so many blunders that we can no longer count them on our hands. The reason Congress does not work with Obama is because he refuses to work with them. How many times do I have to keep repeating myself. You sound like a broken record….

        • RobertCHastings

          And FOX has apparently been servicing you phallus to put you into sweet ignorance.

          • joe schmo

            Of course it hasn’t. My ideology comes from my family who has lived through 3 regimes and has stated this one leans towards Communism. How would you know if you have never lived under it.
            ‘Hastings’ is an English name and I doubt that you have ever had any family in a modern Communist country. So who is ignorant? Certainly not me.

            As far as the phallus idea. Maybe you need to do that to yourself because you just don’t get it.

          • RobertCHastings

            “Communism”: “a theory advocating elimination of private property; a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.” Source is Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. If you believe that is what America is or is on the road to, you are indeed unduly influenced by your ignorant family and by FOX News. I can understand your fears this our government MAY be heading that way, especially since you have experienced it, that in no way justifies your apparent denial of reality, a sign of either ignorance or a serious mental disorder.

          • joe schmo

            If you read the definition below you will see how close to your thought pattern this is. Communism strives to eliminate a distinction between classes. Nationalism and Capitalism are repugnant and equality reigns supreme. The wealthy class needs to be destroyed. The escalation of the poor to equal status is the goal of communism. Everyone is equal and there is no class distinction. Remember Hillary’s ‘every village needs a child.’ Although it is an African forethought, the meaning is clear and very conducive of Communist ideology. Of course then you have the Vanguard society created by Lenin which advocates that power to be held by the government/state which oversees everything.

            Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of classes, money,[1][2] and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order.


            In modern usage, the word “communism” is still often used to refer to the
            policies of past and present self-declared socialist governments
            typically comprising one-party states wherein the country’s vanguard party is governing the state exclusively, operating centrally planned economies and a state ownership of the means of production, with the state, in turn, being legally obliged to represent the interests of the working class.

            The classless, stateless society that characterizes this communism is
            one in which decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue
            are made by a free association of equal individuals.
            In such a higher-phase communism the interests of every member of
            society is given equal weight in the practical decision-making process
            in both the political and economic spheres of life.

            Like other socialists, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels sought an end to capitalism and the systems which they perceived to be responsible for the exploitation of workers.


            The purpose of a Leninist revolutionary vanguard party is the forceful deposition of the incumbent government; assume power (as agent of the proletariat) and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Moreover, as the government, the vanguard party must educate the proletariat—to dispel the societal false consciousness of religion and nationalism that are culturally instilled by the bourgeoisie in facilitating exploitation, and to instil the material scientific outlook of the world and the sense of proletarian internationalism.

            .. the dictatorship of the proletariat—i.e. the organization of the
            vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of
            crushing the oppressors. . . . An immense expansion of democracy, which
            for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the
            people, and not democracy for the rich: . . . and suppression by force,
            i.e. exclusion from democracy, for the exploiters and oppressors of the
            people—this is the change which democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to communism. (HELLO….IF THIS DOESN’T SOUND LIKE YOU ALL…..)

            Trust me I know what I am talking about, and if you can prove to me how you I am not then go for it. I am quite sane thank you very much. It is your denial that makes it so sad. The signs are there. It is a mere warning of sorts. If Hillary gets in, there will be more of the same. Remember how enamoured Hillary and Bill were with China. You are treading on very scary ground. Believe me I am far from ignorant and that is the problem. If I were I wouldn’t even bother.

      • Annemb

        You are absolutely correct.

        Reagan took funding away from the VA as he did from seniors, etc.

        Great post!

    • JPHALL

      Despite all your talk you miss the point. Obama, by the Constitution, cannot make Congress do anything. Instead of complaining about Obama’s failure to get Congress to do its job, you should be complaining to the Republicans who refuse to do anything to improve the situation by putting amendments on bills to stop the ACA. Tell Congress to do its job.

      • joe schmo

        Obama, only wants his way, so the Republican’s stick to their own guns. Again Obama wants to raise taxes. This time for infrastructure. That is all the Liberals know how to do. That being raise taxes and spend our money. We cannot afford to spend any more money and raising taxes is killing the little guy. Ever since Obama got into office there has been no cohesion between the Senate, and the House. One side is pitted against the other. Where our government used to work together to resolve many of our crisis, they no longer do. Instead of being diplomatic and working on middle ground between the two parties, Obama just demoralizes Republicans. So you just tell me what to think. Does Obama act like a child and stomp his feet every time he does not get his way or is the House pulling back on the reins because they are being excluded from any form of decision making. Hard to say. If I were to venture to guess it is a little of both. However, being the Leader of this Country I would think a president would see above the pettiness and be diplomatic in arriving at a solution that works for both sides. Pitting the right publicly only causes dissension and a resistance to comply not only in the political realm, but it also has it’s ramifications with the average American as well.

        • dpaano

          Boy, are you ever misguided! Apparently you don’t care that Ryan’s budget wants to cut taxes for the wealthy, which would mean the middle class would have to pay more. The Republicans have vowed from the very beginning NOT to support anything that President Obama suggests, and they’ve stuck to that since day one…..this is why nothing gets done and Congress has the lowest score of all for their lack of getting anything done……we, who are intelligent beings, know who’s to blame, and it certainly isn’t our President.

          • joe schmo

            Sorry, I’m not reading that anywhere. It actually works off of Obamacare and Medicare and, unfortunately increases the retirement age by trying to pay down our debt in 10 years. It is not a popular plan for either side but is better than the Democratic plan that raises taxes:

            “Some of the commenters have noted, fairly, that I’ve critiqued the Ryan
            budget without comparing it to the weak and irresponsible budget
            proposed by Senate Democrats, one that would raise taxes by nearly $1.5
            trillion and make no real spending cuts. I’ll echo the editors of the Washington Post in saying that the Democratic budget “deepens these senators’ commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda.”

            “The Republican Study Committee, which represents the conservative wing of the House Republican caucus, has released its own budget,
            that would reach balance in 4 years. It takes the Ryan plan and builds
            upon it, by implementing the Medicare reforms for those younger than 59;
            raising the Medicare and Social Security retirement age to 70 over
            time; implementing the “chained CPI” adjustment for Social Security
            benefits; and other measures. Like the Ryan budget, it uses the tax and
            Medicare baselines from Obamacare.”


            ‘The GOP plan, by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would cut
            more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024,
            relying on sharp cuts to domestic programs, but leaving Social Security
            untouched and shifting more money to the Pentagon and health care for

            Part of the plan includes cutting Farm subsidies. Farmers who get subsidies from the Government have way too much money. You should see the homes they live in and the cars they drive. They can afford to cut there. It’s a shame about Pell Grants but I’m sure that there will still be some money available for struggling students.

            This coming from the Huffington post.


            You who are intelligent beings need to do more research. You do realize that most people who are wealthy will always find ways to get around taxes don’t you…..

            News Flash….this budget plan was neither popular with Republicans or Democrats but then I don’t think any kind of plan would have been acceptable to Democrats no matter how the Republicans cut it.

        • JPHALL

          You still do not get it. This has never been about Obama. I see that you are deluded. So this is my last response to you. Go embarrass yourself somewhere else
          Subject: Re: New comment posted on In VA Scandal, Let’ s Have Accountability For All — Including Congress

    • JPHALL

      So how does Obama get his programs going when the Republicans vote it down over and over? How can things get done when Congress votes to cut the VA’s programs and brags that they will allow nothing Obama proposes to pass? Where is the responsibility of Congress in these failures. But it is Obama who is breaking his promise!

      • joe schmo

        During his 2008 White House transition, president-in-waiting Barack Obama promised to “make
        the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.”

        In his own eyes at least, this President remains unstained by that failure. Shame remains unknown to this unnecessarily confident man.

        Now, Obama not only tells us he is shocked to find that the crisis he has ignored is still there, he also insists, “I will not tolerate it.”

        If you can’t fix the problem, of course, fix the politics. “No-Drama Obama” often pretends to share our anger to defuse it. His performance art, however, has grown
        obvious and condescending. When he throws vacant words like candy to the masses, he only fuels our anger.

        Confronted with providing services that require originality, adaptation and sensitivity,the VA is lost. On what form does a bureaucracy measure compassion,
        originality, or the respect a veteran has earned?

        And the worse the VA bureaucracy performs, the angrier all of us become — and we demand even more regulatory government action. The leviathan that is the VA grows
        larger as bloat is piled upon excess.

        In a wonderful new book, “The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State,”authors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge note that enlarging thebureaucratic inadequacies of the modern industrial state are unlikely to improve it.

        Instead, they found thatfixing our government’s bloated bureaucracy with even “more state” inevitably leads to failure on an apocalyptic level: “Ninety-four
        percent of federal IT projects over the past ten years have failed — more than half were delayed or over budget and 41.4 percent failed completely.” They note that, “The Pentagon spent over $3 billion on two health-care systems that never worked properly.” (THIS IS VERY SCARY INDEED)

        The VA is government-run health care, financed by government, and delivered through government-run hospitals. Liberal collectors of old social antiquities
        like Paul Krugman cannot let go of it. Krugman confesses,”Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine.’ … But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of U.S. health care more broadly.”(DON’T THINK I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS BUT OH WELL.)

        Can the fix for the most outdated health care system in America really be more of the same?

        The breach between what we fund and what veterans get from the VA is getting larger. The gap between our good intentions and the help those in need actually receive
        is growing broader.

        It is time for something fresh. (BINGO) Our old federal government’s inability to do what it promises is one reason it is less popular than King George III during the American Revolution.

        An idea may be to Transform our old, closed bureaucratic VA system to an open health care system. It’s time veterans who don’t want to travel five hours or wait
        for months were allowed equal access to all the health care available to the rest of us.

        The most critical decisions about a veteran’s health shouldn’t be made the old way: top-down, politically and artificially, by a pulseless bureaucracy that reports to Washington.

        Those decisions should be made naturally and bottom-up, closer to life, in the sacred space
        between doctors and those who have offered the highest possible sacrifice to our nation. (ABSOLUTELY)

        Yet this problem started long ago. It is not only a Conservative problem, it is also a Democrat problem. It is far from Congress’ fault. It is the fault of the entire government in charge and it has been for a very long time. So don’t go blaming solely the Conservatives like you always do. You know damn well, if you have lived long enough that veteran healthcare has always been mishandled didn’t matter who was in charge. Problem is some Vets died under Obama’s watch. If this is any indication as to how our own government healthcare will be run in the future, it is looking pretty scary. Many people may die.

    • Annemb

      Thank God you don’t run the country and are not in a position to do so.

      • joe schmo

        Tell you what, it would be run so fair ( I hate unfairness don’t care who’s side your on) and so organized your head would spin. We would have so much of a surplus because I would go through each and every government program cutting as I go along. By cutting I mean salaries, bonuses etc…. I would investigate each person to make sure they really need the aide. I would make able bodied people work for food stamps and welfare. I would make sure the disabled and single mothers were taken care of. We would have a strong military but stay out of senseless wars. I can assure you of that. Mental institutions and clinics would be reinstated to get the nuts off the streets. Criminals would be severely punished. Drugs wouldn’t even make it over the border because I would put the military there. Illegals wouldn’t be able to come over like they do now. I would set up a Bracero program so that they could take their money home. China would have to pay import tariffs. I would allow intelligent and talented people from abroad to study here and stay if they can find work. I would reinstate the space program. I would make environmentalists work with scientists to find the best and cleanest form of energy. I would not cut it off like Obama is doing. I would encourage Liberals and Conservatives in the House and Senate to work as a team. You know the word ‘team.’ I would implement a flat tax or sales tax. I would bring back manufacturing. There is no reason why we cannot manufacture fertilizer and steel. I would eliminate the IRS and have competitive rates for health insurance across the Country (get rid of Obamacare) I don’t believe in health savings accounts unless you work for a Corporation and they take a certain amount out of your salary every month. Companies need less restrictions and regulations here in the US. I would again work on exports and innovation would be huge for me.

        I’m most certain that many of these things would make you shudder but let me tell you what, I know how to manage and organize and I am very fair that is for sure:)

    • dancerboots

      President Obama did fully fund the VA.
      He also was instrumental in expanding the recruitment and retention of mental health workers…and a program using/hiring veterans.
      Unbelievable that applications for benefits were still being done on paper, the president is working toward instituting electronic record keeping.
      “Government reports show improved efficiency
      in processing claims, but also dramatic increases in the number of
      filed claims (**no duh!!!)– up 48 percent in the last four years. Among the many
      reasons for the uptick in claims are a decade of war in Iraq and
      Afghanistan, increases in the number of medical conditions among today’s
      veterans and expanded benefits available for veterans to claim. The Obama administration has made progress, though. As of October, five
      of the 56 regional offices had gone digital, with another 13 in the
      pipeline by the end of 2012. The other 38 are scheduled to go paperless
      by the end of 2013, though skeptical testimony before Congress by
      experts at the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars suggest it will take longer.

      Meanwhile the heads of the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs have
      agreed to a general plan for a unified electronic health records system
      within the military, as Obama wanted. Their stated goal is to have all
      military records systems connected by 2017.

      So, it appears that what Obama promised and what has happened during
      his presidency will eventually result in a comprehensive paperless
      benefit claims system. However, less than a third of regional offices
      will be electronic by the end of 2012, the measuring stick we use for
      the Obameter. Therefore, we rate this a Compromise.

      • joe schmo

        Wow, isn’t that an ear full after the scandal and all. Is this the future or Obamacare? I venture to guess….yes.

        Yes, the veteran’s administration healthcare system was always a shambles but it has gotten worse under yours truly….

  • joe schmo

    Nearly 1,500 Californians have complained to state regulators in the
    last four months about their Obamacare coverage purchased through
    California’s insurance exchange.

    New data reveal the biggest category of complaints centers on getting confirmation of health plan enrollment and basic issues such as getting an identification card to obtain care.

    Many consumers have also encountered difficulty finding a doctor who accepts their new coverage, as well as frustration with inaccurate provider
    lists, according to the California Department of Managed Health Care.

    Not surprisingly, Green said, the two largest health plans in Covered
    California accounted for the most complaints overall and in the
    category of access to providers.

    Anthem Blue Cross, a unit of industry giant WellPoint Inc., received 658
    complaints through April and nearly 13% dealt with provider issues,
    state data show.

    Blue Shield of California was next with 461 complaints and 17% focused on finding an in-network doctor.

    YAH, IT IS REALLY WORKING HERE. Many doctors are taking cash only and you cannot choose your Dr. while waiting to see if a certain Dr. on your list will take you. Wait, Wait. Wait in line. Just like Europe and what about that VA. The poster child for Obamacare…….HaHaHaHaHa

    • edwardw69

      The VA system has absolutely zero to do with the ACA.

      • Tom_D44

        You are right, but it is a prime example of government ineptness – regardless of which side of the aisle they are on. The ACA is a screwed up mess as is the VA apparently – but are you really surprised? The right wing blogs are quick to point the finger at the democrats and blogs like this are quick to point right back at the GOP. Spin it however it suits your side the best is all that is happening. Really? Do you people here really think that this is all the work of one crazy party and that your side has no hair on their own a$$es? They are all corrupt and none of them care about the little people. The little people are just in the way of the parties getting the power they want. The VA has a long history of average service and I know that first hand from family members and friends who have had to deal with them. It’s a big beaurocracy plain and simple.
        Yes we have a debt problem and yes the proponents of fiscal conservatism are right in that we need to reduce expenses to pay down the debt. Wake up people – its a debt problem not a deficit problem. Reducing the deficit does not solve the problem as the democrats so proudly run around telling everyone. Reducing the deficit is only a tiny insignificant step towards the problem and it is likely all based on spun and misrepresented information anyway. Don’t blame people, regardless of what party they belong to, who are trying to get our financial house because that must happen if we are to survive as a country. The hypocrisy lies in the ignorant politicians who will play stupid games at the expense of the people. Maybe a few more bucks prioritized towards the veterans care and a few less spent on subsidizing electric cars for rich people who can afford them if they want them anyway, or hearings to uncover scandals that will never be uncovered whether they are true or not, or SPENDING money to have guards on station to keep people out of public parks that don’t require supervision anyway just to show their base how wrong the other side is for shutting down the government, or sending oodles of money in aid to countries who’s governments are not our friend and who’s people never see the benefits of those dollars anyway, or greasing the backs of your big donors with government loans and special deals which only benefit a few of the priviledged, and you could go on and on and on. But why start applying common sense to government now – its really only about winning regardless of what side you are on. Everytime there is another story about a screwed up beaurocracy making ridiculous judgement decisions on policy, the right calls it a scandal and the left blames the right for cutting spending. Really? Can we finally get some politicians with some integrity to stand up to the establishment and really solve some problems?

        • RobertCHastings

          The expenses CANNOT be reduced because, like the discretionary budget of every household in the country, there is no more room for cutting. There is, however, plenty of room for tax increases, especially on the wealthy, the only ones benefiting in any way from these two worthless and stupid wars. Afghanistan SHOULD have been the extent of our involvement, and we should have completed the task there before going to Iraq. Afghanistan is where the terrorists waged their war from, and it was the government that gave them sanction. Iraq, like “climate change”, is just something the right cannot understand. We knew beforehand about the nonexistence of WMD in Iraq, and we knew before we invaded Iraq that the cost of these wars was NOT being funded and was doing nothing but adding to the DEBT. Tax cuts for the wealthy have in no way enhanced job creation in this country, or helped us escape from the black hole of unfunded government spending from the Bush administration.

          • joe schmo

            No more room for cutting? You have got to be joking right. Didn’t you just read what Tom had to say. We give money to countries who don’t respect us. Why? Why should we. We could save billions. As far as the social programs go, in California seems illegals have more rights than veterans and while they get the treatment they need our veterans are ignored and left to die. All this in my opinion needs to be investigated and changed.

            Will you friggin get over Bush. He is history. We have been in the now of this idiot for 6 years with little to show for it but strife. We should see some results, yet all we see is more and more issues as well as more and more scandals. You and your damned blame on the wealthy. How many times do I have to state that the Liberals hold the trump card as the new 1%. I cannot believe how impaled and brainwashed you people all are. Instead of whining help us become one country again. Geez.

          • RobertCHastings

            An please tell us where you would cut the budget for foreign assistance. And, just how large to you think this budget is? As for getting over Bush, he is the reason we are in the financial and world situation we are in. EVERY large country MUST tax. Without a certain level of taxation, all we will have is the military and the government itself. Hmmm, sounds sort of like Myanmar. Is that what you want this country to become? As the scandal with the VA has shown, a large bureaucracy tends to get bogged down in its own confusions. It is the responsibility of Congress to oversee the VA (and everything else the government spends money on). The VA, like ALL other government agencies MUST have a certain level of funding to operate efficiently. If you think the VA is at that level, then explain why it is not functioning properly. If you think we sent enough troops to Iraq and funded both those wars adequately, then there are a few other things I would like to hear you explain. If you think the federal government spends an adequate amount of money on public education, then I would like to hear your explanation as to why we rank near the bottom of all industrialized nations in education. I hope you understand that this list could go on and on. I just hope you get the point; but, based upon your previous posts, I am not holding my breath.

          • Annemb

            Excellent post! Thank you.

          • RobertCHastings

            Thanks! I have not yet receive a response, nor, to be honest, do I expect to get one that makes any sense.

          • Annemb

            You are most welcome.

            Have a good day today.

          • jmprint

            Yes, we are trying, and as long as you vote republican we will get nowhere.

          • JPHALL

            Where can I see a listing of these billions in unnecessary aid? Why keep harping about Obama when the entire system is rotten. No more complaining. What can be done to fix things?

          • joe schmo

            The United States is notorious for having its fingers in many pies. One of the ways Uncle Sam tries to coerce other states to get in line with his preferred policies is by doling out foreign aid — lots of it.

            The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) states that itsfunction is to provide “economic, development and humanitarian
            assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.” While the effectiveness of foreign aid remains up for debate, the United States recently has continued to pump around $50 billion in aid to other countries each year.’

            …..And this comes from the Huffington Post!

            $37,680,000,000: That’s How Much the U.S. Spent on Foreign Aid in 2012.

            We are holding up Africa, Mexico and the Middle East. Why? Helping them medically and with food is one thing. Money is another.

            Thirty-two foreign countries receive more direct aid from the U.S. government than the city of Detroit. This is not to say that Iraq and Nigeria and Mexico don’t need foreign assistance or are undeserving of help from the United States. But when you look at the raw numbers, you
            start to wonder if some of that cash could be better served in Oakland and Baltimore instead of Karachi and Kabul.

            I just stated in the above post we can cut costs by reducing the spending on foreign aid. Why should we give millions to Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan when they hate us. Why should we give 2 billion to Brazil to drill for oil and the list goes on and on and on and on. Do you really think these countries would be so generous to us? I rather doubt it. We have enough issues here at home. Why let China get away with not paying an import tariff. They make millions off us. These are just some things that may help our Country economically.

          • Annemb

            GW Bush is history? We are still reaping the fruits of his invasion of a sovereign country.

            The World Court ruled that he is a war criminal. He needs to be brought to trial and convicted for every life that his lies cost (both our service men and women and civilian) when he and those in his administration pushed invading Iraq and Afghanistan! Yet, he’s still running around free even though Canada refused him entry several years ago.

            Who’s brain washed? With the truth! You need to watch what you say, because one day it’ll hit you right back along with your anger!

          • joe schmo

            Yes he is. So let’s move on shall we. The world court. You most likely mean the UN. Sorry, I don’t believe they should have any jurisdiction in our Country. The UN does not own us. When they do we will surely be a Global entity and that is something the Europeans are even realizing is not such a good deal. Look at France…. They are always one step ahead of us nowadays because of their experience for hundreds of years. If you want to talk about war criminal why don’t we just have a conversation about Lyndon B Johnson. He was one of the worst of the worst. He was the buffoon that got us into Vietnam. A senseless war where millions lost their lives. All because his wife’s family owned Huey.

            I could go on and on about how Obama has brought this country down in the last 6 years. If I am to think the same way you do then he should be tried for treason and impeached for all he has done to ruin this country.

            No my dear I am not brainwashed. I go by life experience and the experience of my elders who have a lot of wisdom and intelligence. My father lived through 3 different regimes. He escaped communism and states the direction we are going in is much the same as what he left. I have heard from others on this site who have left communism and I know people who have had Communism infringed on them so they left their countries. They are still Communists even though they live here. Then their are others like my father and Ted Cruz’s parents who left Communism and never went back to those thoughts. I just don’t want you to infringe your ideology onto my belief system. My father is a true blue Capitalist because of the Communism he left and his success is attributed to the American dream. I am not angry, I just don’t want your ideology forced on me. That part makes me angry. Like any other American I want my freedom to be sacred as it always has been.. We still have a 1st amendment until further notice….

            Let’s just see what happens to the dollar July 1st…. We’ll see….

          • Annemb

            I stand by my post!

            GW Bush, the one who was selected – not elected – will go down in history as one of our worst presidents … hand-in-hand with “Saint” Ronald Reagan, who played the biggest role in his life! Bush is NOT history…his (and Cheney’s) legacy is still alive.

          • joe schmo

            6 years! Come on. The ball is now in Obama’s court and you know it. Loser, loser, loser. He keeps making one blunder after another. At this point, he could care less because he is on his way out in 2.5 years. Too long….. What damage can he still do? Tons!

            Things should be waaayyyyy better by now.

        • Independent1

          You really need to get our head out of the sand because many of your points are misguided.

          To begin with, spending IS NOT the problem. On an inflation adjusted basis, and considering the huge increase on our population over the past 60 years, spending is at the lowest levels in 60 years- which is more reason why the GOP’s insistence on cutting spending above doing things to improve people’s lives like providing better funding for the VA – is absolute TOTAL NONSENSE!!

          And despite the GOP’s every effort to keep the economy from expanding as it should have after the 2008 debacle, Obama’s policies since 2008 have increase GDP faster than any previous time since the end of WWII, such that America’s debt to GDP has decreased to where the CBO says it is now below 73%; so given that every industrialized nation on the planet similar to America is currently running a debt to GDP of over 80%, with Canada’s being around 87%; even our current debt IS NOT THE PROBLEM!!

          The problem is lack of tax revnues. Because the GOP has insisted on not going forward with passing Obama’s jobs bills that would have created 2-3 million jobs plus according to the CBO, tax revenues are more than 500 million/per year below where they historically would be had the GOP even been the least bit helpful on helping the economy recover.

          As an example, even their refusal to allow increasing the min wage, has kept millions from being able to earn enough money to get their incomes above the poverty level. This has meant that millions are continuing to have to use food stamps and collect welfare, when had the GOB agreed to the min wage increase, the CBO has projected that over the next 10 years our government would have saved over 46 billion dollars just on food stamp usage not to mention saving billions in reduced welfare.

          So despite what you misguidedly believe America’s problem is related to ONE PARTY, the party of NO!! The GOP!!

          • joe schmo

            Increase in the population! That is insanely outrageous and just where do you think that population is coming from? Does South make sense to you. Guess what you moron, the VA gets no money because those damn illegals get better healthcare, welfare and food. Who suffers we do.

            Spending is at its lowest because we have no jobs. Everything is outsourced. Hey how about several part-time jobs at McDonalds and Walmart for ya.

            If the GDP was growing faster than at any other rate well we would most certainly be out of the gutter and we wouldn’t even be complaining would we. This is pure and utter bullshit. George Bush inherited a high GDP and it went down to 1.7%, however; since Obama has been in office, due to inconsequential spending the GDP has gone down to 1.6% and has only gotten worse.

            ‘President Obama “inherited” (another favorite word of the president’s enablers) a low GDP base and did terribly with it, well worse in comparison to his much-maligned predecessor. He inherited a high government spending base and still managed to increase that number at a rate 50% above general growth. In a rational world, we’d stifle such a failure from still having access to the controls.’

            How much more money can this man take from the common folk. He needs to stop spending. Here we go another ‘jobs bill.’ Boo hoo hoo, more contracted union jobs. Do you know the average person cannot even get a job. We are in that category so give me a friggin break. You know nothing. THIS WILL NOT HELP THE ECONOMY RECOVER. IT DIDN’T THE FIRST TIME AROUND AND IT WILL NOT THIS TIME. IT’S WISHFUL THINKING.

            Increasing the middle wage. Geez, OMG. This will only make more people loose jobs. Your thinking is just not logical. Think about it if I were an employer and had to increase my wage, I would most likely have to let some people go to cut costs to be able to pay for higher wages. Please. It’s wishful thinking.

            Why not cut taxes? Hey, there’s a concept.

          • Annemb

            Where do you get your information from? IMHO, it is not only inaccurate but your words are angry and hateful!

          • joe schmo

            Here you go:



            I know this to be true because I live in the God forsaken state of California and we see what is going on in this state.


            This from the American Legion:


            This from the US Border Control:


            I don’t give a flying ‘F’ if you think my words are angry. Our life and jobs have been affected by illegals. I live is a state where I see what is going on 24/7 What I am stating is NOT inaccurate you moron.

            What about OUR servicemen and women. Suppose they don’t count in your quest to save the planet….and you propose to be the saviors of humanity. Only when it fits your agenda. Hypocrites each and every one of you.

          • Annemb

            Our GOP senator visited the veterans home where I work. This was around Christmas time and the vets were asked to write a note and sign the greeting cards for our service men and women. She was given a tour of the Home, visiting with vets. Before leaving she visited with each vet and employee in our large meeting room where cards were being signed. She thanked the group of veterans, commending them for their service. When she returned to D.C. and when the vote to raise benefits for veterans, SHE VOTED AGAINST the Bill. So, who’s the hypocrite?

            After the vote, I sent her a lengthy email and ended calling her a HYPOCRITE.

            It is the TGOP that is the PARTY OF NO that is the problem. Last week, Boehner stated that there is no difference between the tea party and the GOP. Alas, they were suckered in by the TP.

            The GOP was once a credible party, actively involved in building this country. In my many, many, years of life and of political involvement, I have never, never, never, seen anything like them since President Obama was elected by the American people.

            This group (TP) that wraps themselves in our flag, uses the word “Constitution”, is bent on destroying our country not only with words but with its treasonous, seditious actions and their insurrection: for love of money and power. They forget that PEOPLE OF COLOR are the MAJORITY race in the world and the WHITE RACE IS THE MINORITY race in the world …something which, try as they may, they cannot change!

            Also, look up the Reagan and the blight he was to our country.

            THEY WILL NOT WIN!

          • joe schmo

            Honey, you and yours think you are the pillars of humanity. The VA situation has been broken for decades. No one has fixed it, yet no one died so, in my opinion, things went from worse to worst under Obama. He is extremely sloppy about who he hires. Many very young people who don’t have the political sense in their heads yet. Term limits for the old geezer’s in office for ‘centuries.’

            Oh, I can hardly wait, Obama stated that the VA was the poster child for Obamacare. Wow! If that is true we are in deep doo doo.

          • Annemb

            Sir, although you assume to know me by your remarks, you don’t have a clue who I am and what i believe or stand for.

            Conservative? The correct word is authoritarian! These are NOT conservative to the true meaning and sense of the word.

            It appears that you need to “cover” your lack of facts or inadequacies with name-calling, just as the TGOPs have been doing when they have nothing of substance to say. How sad, the Republican Party once great, patriotic and actively legislating FOR the USA and her citizens. has allowed itself to be swallowed up by the tea party. Sadly, for too long now, decades in fact, they have given in to “other”, as they use the word “Constitution” to cover their tracks while they worship at the altar of greed and give in to big money because they have nothing – that’s right – nothing – to offer our country and her citizens except grief — suppression, and everything the opposite what our Constitution guarantees us – using their ideology to accomplish their goal towards a theocracy, when our Founders designed a secular nation to give all peoples the right to practice their religion without fear of persecution .

            I suggest the following:

            “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John W. Dean; The Authoritarians” by Bob Altemeyer;
            “A New Religious America: How a ‘Christian Country’ Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation” (by Diana Eck, 1997);
            “Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America’s Radical Right” by Claire Conner and
            “The Declaration of Independence” by our Founders and “The Constitution” by our Founders.

          • joe schmo

            My dear, I by no circumstance claim to know you or anyone else on this site. I merely, like many Liberals believe that you think a certain way politically. You also assume the same about me. As your above statement indicates, you don’t know a hill of beans about me either.

            Let me then inject some questions your way
            -Do you believe that America is still a sovereign nation?
            -Do you still believe in the idea of freedom where the people in this country own the trump card over the government and hold the final decisions on all matters by the rights of the Constitution.

            -Do you believe in the American flag and what it stands for?
            -Do you believe in the Constitution and Amendments as the law of the land?
            -Do you believe that we are all free to believe in what we want without infringing that right on anyone else within bylaws of the Constitution meaning life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

            -Do you believe we have immigration laws that need to be enforced.
            -Do you believe in civil rights for all?
            -Do you believe that everyone has freedom of religion no matter what it is and not infringe that religion on others without condemning it like they do Christianity nowadays. You realize that the first immigrants wanted to escape the persecution of their Christian religion and the founding fathers were Christians. So why are we condemning Christianity now in this Country. I have no problem with religion as long as you leave my belief alone.

            If you answer yes to merely one or two of these questions then I may deduce you no longer believe in America.

            You do realize that immoral and criminal acts result in consequences otherwise the world would be full of criminals killing and maiming…..

            I wouldn’t touch those books you suggest with a 10 foot pole because they degrade my belief system. Just as I wouldn’t suggest any books I’ve read contradicting your belief system. They are most likely bias and don’t do either one of us justice. Oddly nowadays, we see each other in a very contradictory light. Pitting one against the other. I do not want to change you just as i do not want you to change me. I’m here to try to find a semblence of balance between the two sides. I argue largely because of the untruths told by Liberal media and social media about Conservatives. I stand for things you don’t. You find we have an extreme side and we find you have an extreme side. Times are tough. We can relate to that. If we don’t start meeting somewhere in the middle, if the economy keeps getting worse we will lose a very precious thing. Our freedom.

            Obama was a very bad choice for president and not because he is an African American. It is merely because his policies are totalitarian. Not only has he torn the very fabric of this country apart, he has divided us as Americans. His international policy is a disaster. His raising of taxes is a disaster. Everything he does is not well thought out. Bush was bad. I even admit that but…… I guess we all hold to our straw polls with a vice grip. Basically, we can’t change who we are and our belief system. My only hope is that somewhere down the road we can once again meet in the middle. We need a uniter not a divider.

            News for you, the Conservatives (not the politicosl) still believe in our Constitutional rights. Now I ask you do you?

          • Annemb

            I stand by my post! Read and learn!

          • joe schmo

            Wow! If you can no longer answer those questions than I believe that things have gone past the point of no return. So sad. Over 200 years and we will be history. Thanks for nothing. Maybe Cuba would be more up your alley. Good luck! I suppose I may put you in the extremist category and I truly believe you don’t know what you are asking for. You have no idea what it is like to be a Communist. That I can tell for sure…

          • Independent1

            Wow!! You can really throw the lies around. Fact is that back in the 1960s, the population of America was around 205 million people, it is now 317 million people. That’s an increase of about 112 million people. That’s a 54% increase or so in our population.

            I’ll guarantee you that all of those 112 million DID NOT COME from the “south”. A great many of them are current generations of Americans who were already in America in ithe 1960s due to quess what – procreation.

            And when the Great Recession slide CREATED BY BUSH had run its course in the around the 3rd quarter of 2009, America’s GDP had fallen to about 14.7 trillion; it is now close to 17 trillion. That’s around a 15% increase in GDP under Obama.

            The lies and distortions just keep acoming!!!

          • joe schmo

            Yah, you wish this was a lie. I live in California, I know all about the freebies and fringe benefits the illegals here get. We were pushed out of jobs because of them and they get better treatment than we do. How do you think I know this? I see it. This year the Hispanic population will equal whites. Get a life. The only reason you want to give them amnesty is to be able to have more votes. It is solely for political reasons. What a crime and how unAmerican can you get.


            Unless we act to change our country’s immigration policies, U.S. population will double this century – practically within the lifetimes
            of children born today.

            By the year 2020, if current population trends continue, the U.S. will add enough population to create another New York City, Los Angeles,
            Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Indianapolis, San Jose,Memphis, Washington D.C., Jacksonville, Milwaukee, Boston, Columbus, New Orleans, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle, and El Paso – plus the next 75
            largest cities in the U.S.3 – if we don’t act now to stabilize U.S. population.

            “For NPG, immigration is strictly about the numbers,” says Craig Lewis, the executive director of Negative Population Growth. “It
            is not a leading contributor — it is THE
            leading contributor to our nation’s population growth. Studies have shown that immigration — legal, illegal, and the children born to immigrants — is responsible for 80 percent of U.S. population growth.

            “America has an estimated population of over 11 million undocumented immigrants, with some estimates ranging to nearly 20 million. Each year, we permit over one million legal immigrants to
            arrive. The average immigrant family (regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, or nation of origin) has more children than the average
            American-born citizen, and the children of those immigrants also tend to have larger families.

            “The fact is simple: The United States must slow, halt, and eventually reverse our population growth to preserve an enjoyable quality of life for future generations. To do so, we must reduce our
            immigration levels.”

            Read more:

            Educated European types find it extremely hard to immigrate to this country. We have a family friend with a PHD in chemistry who is trying to get approval to come here to do research at Harvard. What a hell of a time he is having just getting a Visa. Yet we let all the ignorant people from the south come over here. Nothing wrong with that but I have a problem with balance. I think people from all countries should have the same opportunity. Remember when there used to be a quota. Just makes too much sense. Besides how many of these people do you want to allow here. When does it stop. We obviously can’t have them all come in. Our economy just cannot carry the financial burden of these freeloaders. Can we?

          • jmprint

            You cry about the illegals, boo hoo, boo hoo. Most are self sustaining. What you don’t cry about is our land in the United States, thanks to your rich buddies they are selling it off acre per acres to foreigners that don’t want to become citizens or are looking for a better life, no they are just wanting to have more control of us. The older rich stole the land from the poor and and the younger rich sell it off to foreigners…so much for concern for future generations.

          • Duckbudder

            Who was in Cali. that named all those places with names that start with San, El, La, and Los?

          • joe schmo

            You are sooo hopeless. Why don’t we just open the border and annex California, New Mexico, Arizona (Texas won’t go down without a fight) to the US. Then we can really get the ball rolling and become just like Mexico. Since we’re heading down the road of 3rd world anyway might as well join the club. It truly is lovely down there. So clean and honest. The people are friendly and just like the Yanomami stab you in the back when your head is turned. It’s just their way. New businesses will flourish and everyone will owe their sole to the drug cartel.
            You will definitely need bars on your doors and windows or better yet live in a cardboard box. No need for a trash can. Litter removal is free because all you have to do is either burn it (which mind you will further pollute the air) or just throw it out the back door. There are no wild animals or grubs anywhere to be seen because there is no food and the natives eat and poach everything they can get their hands on. Agriculture, oh well sometimes the people show up for work sometimes they don’t and by gum food will be somewhat free because all you need to do is go out to the fields and take it. The farmers don’t have much of a crop but oh well, who needs to eat anyway, there are so many Americans that need to lose weight…and what about the Police. Better beware if they think you have money they will snare you for a little hand out lest you want to be put in jail…..and most of all, make sure you don’t let the locals think you have any money on you because you may have a ‘mickey’ slipped into your soda, your money will be stolen and you may end up half dead. While we’re at it let’s just change ‘Ingless’ to Spanish as the new national language. Speaking Latin will take you further when looking for a job. Don’t have to worry about spreading the wealth because the only wealthy people will be the corrupt government, police and drug cartel and, let’s face it, you need to add more socialists to your pool of voters so that you can really put the kabash on the US. If you haven’t been down there to enjoy the gated hotels (you know there is a reason for that) then you truly must go down and spend some time away from the resorts because you will initially see what it will be like when they change all communities to names that start in San, El, La, Los, Santa….

            Oh and by the way, many of the things I have mentioned. I have either heard about, read about (Yanomami) or been told about by inhabitants South of the border. Remember these states were not conquered from Mexico. They were bought by America.

          • Annemb

            What you call “illegals” are human beings and should be referred to as human beings, not things. Too many here? Humph!

            Also, remember the TGOPs voted against funding for family planning … with the lie that they “fund abortion” and against contraception – both responsibilities which belong to a woman and her doctor not to government!

            We are a secular nation … NOT a theocracy … thank God and our wise Founders!

          • joe schmo

            My parents are also human beings. They had to come here LEGALLY. There was a quota . Why can’t you get that in your head. If we let every Tom, Dick and Harry into this country we will be heavily burdened with social programs. Programs we will no longer be able to pay for because there are so many we cannot help either get jobs or through welfare (which I think able-bodied people need to work for) How do you propose to take care of everyone who enters this country? Especially uneducated ones? Now you tell me…
            Let them work here and have a work visa, pay taxes and then take the rest of the money home to help improve their country, period.

            You are right the government should not fund abortions. Why is funding an abortion up to us. Wasn’t it the womans choice whether she get birth control or not. We used to have nonprofits for that. Remember ‘Planned Parenthood.’ As far as I know Christian organizations have no power over a nonprofit. I do believe in a woman’s choice.

            We are secular within limits. We should not try to infringe anything on anyone who believes yay or nay. I believe in individual choice and no infringement by the Government on those rights that are set forth in the Constitution and Amendments.

          • Annemb

            Of course your parents are human beings! There was never any question about it. My parents came here legally too with their parents who were looking for a better life – a life of opportunity
            which they did not have in their native country.

            We are brothers and sisters, no one better than the other! We need immigration laws that would help, not hinder or punish, those who came here illegally. This would help our country too. This would help our economy because no one would need to depend on public assistance but will have a decent-paying job … as everyone needs to live with struggling to exist.

            Regarding abortion…Yes, we both agree that women have the right to choose, but this Congress has deemed to IMPOSE THEIR WILL on women when they vote against women’s rights that include contraception. That is NONE of their business. And the TGOP has REFUSED to fund
            Planned Parenthood.

            Our Founders deliberately formed a secular republic — not to infringe on anyone’s right to their own religious beliefs, including corporations. For example … Hobby Lobby’s case presently before the Supreme Court…want to impose THEIR beliefs on their female employees regarding contraception.

            There are those who trash the Constitution for a theocracy. Heaven forbid! Our Founding Fathers and Mothers struggled to form our republic – so we could have freedom of, for religion without persecution or fear of being arrested and executed for their beliefs. They remembered their history — ancestors in England who suffered religious persecution.

            NO ONE … and I mean no one will destroy this nation. Many have died over the centuries for this great nation! And many today struggle to maintain this great and secular nation despite those who would destroy what has been and what we have accomplished so far for everyone. We still have a long way to go!

            I love my country and daily thank God for my country.

          • Annemb

            Thanks for you true post!

          • Independent1

            Why not cut taxes?? Because reducing taxes keeps the wealthy from spending their money to spur the economy. When you cut taxes, it encourages the wealthy to keep their money in offshore investments because the low taxes lets them pile up wealth much easier than putting it into risky adventures like starting or expanding a company.

            Several studies have proven that it’s raising taxes to a reasonable level that encourages the wealthy to invest – because taxes are taking a bigger byte of their investment income. It was actually cutting taxes that is a large reason why the economy is not expanding – the rich, including corporations, are holding trillions of dollars stashed away in overseas accounts because the tax bite on the income they earn is so low that it doesn’t make sense for them to pull it out of those profitable investments.

            Wake up!! You don’t know the 1st thing about what you are posting!!

          • Independent1

            In case you don’t believe my post about cutting taxes inhibits reinvestment, here’s a little lesson on the fact that cutting taxes is destructive to the economy:

            Some excerpts from the article on:

            Economic Stagpression

            Ironically as we gave our businesses more and more money with lower taxes, less regulation, tax funded price supports, hand-tied their unions, and made free new technology at our taxpayers expense, despite all these perks and incentives, they invested less. So what are they doing with their money? Pick up any financial publication and read the headlines. They all will let you know.

            We need a system to return that money to the bottom so it can rise again and again and again.

            Here are the options that have been tried across our lifetimes..

            1.Price and pay freezes.
            2.Government set and regulated prices.
            3.Lower tax rates.
            4.Cash incentives from taxpayers to reinvest.
            5.Pleas and entreaties from the Oval Office.
            6.Higher marginal tax rates.

            Only one of these has worked. Can you guess which one? If you guessed higher tax rates spur reinvestment you are absolutely correct.

            Notice the rates of reinvestment climbing in each of these presidencies: Eisenhower, Kennedy-Johnson, Carter, Clinton each time Congress legislated higher marginal tax rates.

            Also notice the drops under Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush as Republicans cut the taxes…

            The Bush Tax Cuts held through Obama’s first term, and account for today’s sluggish reinvestment.

            If you’re interested in seeing the graphs which are referenced in the above excerpts, here’s the link to the article:


          • joe schmo

            Not a big fan of the ‘Daily Kos,’ because it is a Liberal think tank, but nonetheless.

            Your ideation comes from the old keynesian economic principle enacted by Roosevelt in which raise taxes and reduce spending to slow down an “overheated” economy. Well, it ‘ain’t’ working is it.

            One weak argument doesn’t mean we shouldn’t cut taxes. Here are eight good reasons for a cut in income tax rates:

            1. In a free country, money belongs to the people who earn it. The most fundamental reason to cut taxes is an understanding that wealth doesn’t
            just happen, it has to be produced. And those who produce it have a right to keep it. We may agree to give up a portion of the wealth we
            create in order to pay for such public goods as national defense and a system of justice. But we don’t give the government an unlimited claim
            on our money to use as it sees fit.

            2. Private individuals and businesses use money more efficiently than governments do. People with their own money at risk spend or invest it
            carefully. You don’t find many $600 hammers or insolvent retirement programs in the private sector. Money will do more good for more people
            in private hands than in government hands.

            3. High taxes discourage work and investment. Taxes create a “wedge” between what the employer pays and what the employee receives, so some jobs don’t get created. High marginal tax rates also discourage people from working overtime or from making new investments. It’s true, as some critics say, that our current marginal rates of 39.6 percent (somewhat higher when combined with other taxes) do not depress economic output as much as the 70 percent rates that taxpayers faced in 1980. But most economists now agree that a reduction in marginal tax rates will increase output to some degree.

            4. Income taxes should be cut because the overall tax burden is quite high right now. Prosperity has made Americans more accepting of the rising tax burden, but the current economic slowdown will make high taxes harder to bear.

            5. If we don’t cut taxes, Congress will spend the money. If one thing is certain in Washington, it is that Congress will spend every dollar it
            can get its hands on. Every interest group wants something—a road, a dam, a social program, more teachers, more policemen, more corporate
            welfare—and members of Congress want to be liked. The only way to “put the surplus in a lockbox” is to let the taxpayers keep it.

            6. Lower taxes are the only real check on the expanding size and scope of the federal government. If we want smaller government, our best strategy is to reduce the amount of money Congress has to play with.

            People are moving to lower taxed states, Companies are relocating to lower taxed states.
            States without a personal income tax experience more growth.

            The data is clear: states with a lower tax burden are able to achieve higher rates of growth in almost every economic category. In the 2013
            legislative session, 18 states received this message. If the remaining 32 states desire to stay competitive, it is best they follow their
            low-tax, pro-growth counterparts.

            Many conservative states with low taxes and business incentives like Texas and Wisconsin now have a cash surplus. It would be interesting for you to note that states like California with the highest taxes have companies leaving the state like flies. FYI, California the poster child for Liberalism is last on the list for business and in debt up to their eyeballs. Of course, California has some of the highest taxes in the nation next to probably New York.

            I seem to recall a time when we visited Praque, Czechoslovakia shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall. To jar the economy the government lowered taxes on goods which allowed the population to florish. They also allowed the private sector to invest in Government agencies. This spurred people to spend more because they had the money to do so. They were the first European success story after the fall of the wall.

            So what you say is not entirely accurate. Keynesian economics is dated and needs to be readdressed.

          • JPHALL

            You really have little connection to reality. Try reading something besides right wing websites, I have read your sources and most are a joke. Just opinions. no facts.

          • joe schmo

            I get my information from all sources including pulling from my own life experience and those I know around me. In fact, I am extremely intuitive as to what is going on around me. Many of my statements are facts with figures. That is just your interpretation and it’s no joke!

          • Annemb

            A very well articulated post: truth, not lies or selective memory as the GOP!

        • joe schmo

          Apparently, you did not get my statement. The VA was Obama’s initial poster child….. Loser! He wants a single payer system run by and for the government so prepare yourself. Standing in line for Drs. and treatment. Not being able to pick your Dr…. Sounds like Communist ideology if you ask me. It has not worked for the Veterans for a long long time. Even before Obama came into the picture, however; I believe it has gotten worse under our current Man.

          I might add, Tom you are absolutely right. We do need some politicians with integrity on both sides of the isle to make this thing work once again. We can only hope…

          • Independent1

            Did he get your post that included more distortions and lies??? I hope not!!!!!!

          • joe schmo

            Lies….I wish.

            I cannot wait until the dollar completely devaluates….It’s coming. I bring this up because we cannot possibly support all the illegals much less ourselves when that happens. The Russians and Chinese are working hard at getting rid of using our once almighty dollar. When that happens. Hello Mexico 2….LOL Who do you think will be having the last laugh and it sure as hell won’t be you…..

            Germany is getting smart. They have a constant influx and have just recently stopped giving away jobs to immigrants. France is sick and tired of all the illegals and high taxes. England is coming close to being fed up. We are the last of the Mohicans and what fools we are ……

        • JPHALL

          So what can be done to fix this and other situations?

    • jmprint

      Joe, name me one project that is 100% flawless, during it’s conception. Even you are full of faults.

    • JPHALL

      Where do you get your information? Please share your source with the rest of us. I hope this is not an other right wing site making up their facts.

      • joe schmo

        In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens.

        In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

        In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.

        In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America’s warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six-hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.

        In Arizona, illegal aliens incurred health care costs totaling an estimated $700 million in 2009.

        In Phoenix, at least 40 veterans died waiting for VA hospitals and clinics to treat them, while government officials created secret waiting lists to cook the books and deceive the public about deadly treatment delays.

        At the University of California at Berkeley, UC President Janet Napolitano (former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) has offered $5 million in financial aid to illegal alien students. Across the country, 16 states offer in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland,
        Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon,Texas, Utah and Washington. In addition, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the University of Michigan Board of Regents all approved
        their own illegal alien tuition benefits.

        In 2013, the nation’s most selective colleges and universities had enrolled just 168 American veterans, down from 232 in 2011. Anti-war activists have waged war on military recruitment offices at elite campuses for years. The huge influx of illegal aliens in state universities is shrinking the number of state-subsidized slots for vets.

    • dpaano

      1,500? That’s interesting considering that that’s just a very small percentage of the population of California so it means absolutely NOTHING. As for complaints, insurance companies ALWAYS get complaints…..nothing new or unusual. I live in California and things are going relatively well with our healthcare program; in fact, we’ve been touted as having one of the best ran enrollment programs of all the states.

      • joe schmo

        Of course we are inundated with Liberals. What do you expect. There is a large divide in this state between the wealthy and the poor. Many people are on Medical (that’s where you are seeing your enrollment numbers) including my spouse who cannot get a job because of alllll the Hispanics and the freebies they get. Yes, we are the poster child for the future. That’s why we are last on the list for creating jobs (the tax base is leaving), high taxes and 4 out of the 10 largest cities in the nation going bankrupt. You can thank Governor Moonbeam for that. Hey….and what about that train…dude doesn’t even know how he is going to power it and we the taxpayer has to flip the bill for that ludicrous thing. Typical of the Liberal mindset. Not very well thought out. When SF wanted to implement the road tax last year even the Liberals screamed bloody murder. I see another Detroit in the making. You should be so proud of yourself.

  • exdemo55

    WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is blaming former President George W. Bush for the Veterans Administration scandal, but, according to the VA’s own numbers, she has the facts wrong.

    Pelosi never mentioned Bush by name at a press briefing Thursday, but she left no doubt as to whom she was talking about.

    She referred to “the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans.”

    Pelosi then blamed the VA scandal on an increase in veterans due to recent wars.

    “[W]e go in a war in Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan for Iraq with unfinished business in Afghanistan. Ten years later, we have all of these additional veterans. In the past five years, two million more veterans needing benefits from the VA. That’s a huge, huge increase.”

    Actually, according to government statistics, there are far fewer veterans in the VA.

    According to the VA, the number of vets declined by 4.3 million from 2000 to 2013.

    Democrats such as Pelosi claim more money is the solution.

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said, “If the VA does not have enough doctors to see these patients, then these problems are a result of a lack of funding.”

    But spending on the VA actually tripled from 2010 to 2013.

    John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily crunched the numbers and found the VA’s budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines.

    Even more telling, wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are not increasing treatment costs.

    Those vets are actually far cheaper to treat than aging vets.

    In fact, the costs of treating veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is almost half of what it cost to treat other vets.

    A Congressional Budget Office report found that the younger vets cost $4,800, on average, in 2010 compared with $8,800 for other veterans who used the system.

    It also found, while the Iraq and Afghan vets account for 7 percent of patients treated, they were responsible for only 4 percent of health costs.

    Iraq and Afghan vets, the report found, “are typically younger and healthier than the average VHA patient and as a result are less expensive to treat.”

    A problem that Democrats such as Pelosi face in trying to blame Bush for the scandal is Obama’s long history of declaring the VA needed fixing and claiming he was working on the problems.

    In a 2007 speech, then-Sen. Obama said: “Keeping faith with those who serve must always be a core American value and a cornerstone of American patriotism. Because America’s commitment to its servicemen and women begins at enlistment, and it must never end.”

    During his transition into the White House in 2008-09, Obama even proposed in his “Obama-Biden” plan to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.”

    Obama was also warned of severe problems at the VA repeatedly over the years, even before he became president.

    WND discovered that Obama was briefed on problems at the VA as far back as 2005, when he was a senator and a member of the Veterans Affairs committee.

    The Washington Times reported Monday that the Obama administration received notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care.

    VA officials reportedly warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the wait times the facilities were reporting were not trustworthy.

    More recently, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., wrote a letter to Obama on May 21, 2013, that warned of “an alarming pattern of serious and significant patient care issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country … (including) failures, deceptions, and lack of accountability permeating VA’s healthcare system. Miller concluded: “I believe your direct involvement and leadership is required.”

    reported last week that Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., reminded VA Secretary Eric Shinseki that Congress had been informed two years ago that gaming the system at the VA was so widespread, employees would look to get around regulations as soon as the rules were implemented.

    Pelosi even had the temerity to suggest Obamacare might be the key to fixing the VA scandal, stating, “We have the Affordable Care Act that is out there that is providing resources for more federally-qualified health clinics around the country.”

    Critics such as Rush Limbaugh have pointed out just the opposite, warning that the immense problems with government-run healthcare at the VA are a preview of such horrors as death panels under the Affordable Care Act.

    Similarly, John Fund wrote in National Review that the VA scandal was “a warning sign of what could happen as the pressure to ration, inherent in all government-managed health care, is applied to the general population.”

    However, Pelosi did make a suggestion favored by advocates of free-market reforms of the health-care system.

    She implied it might be better to treat vets in private clinics rather than at VA facilities.

    “Maybe we should take a look at how we deal with our veterans’ needs in a way that says let’s help them closer to home, whether that’s a federally qualified health clinic or in some other institution that provides health care closer to home. [It’s] especially important for our veterans who live in rural areas.”

    Many Republican critics have said recently that having the federal government provide vouchers to allow vets to see private doctors would be a humane way to get them help and an efficient method to deal with the tremendous backlog in the VA system.

    When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., floated the idea, even the editorial board of his home-state paper, the left-of-center Arizona Republic, said “that might make sense.”

    In the video below, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., who served as a physician at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital and as a medical officer in the Naval Reserve, makes the case for health-care vouchers so vets can opt out of the VA health system, calling it “the real free-market solution for helping our veterans.”

    • edwardw69

      Anybody who thinks these problems are new, needs to get their head examined. I was retired for physical disability in 1972, after being wounded in the Vietnam War. I was in and out of VA hospitals numerous times after that, and thought I was receiving good care.
      In 1980, after years of spinal pain, and many examinations, I was told that the problem was mental. In 2001, I finally went to a private neurologist: my spine had been broken years before (apparently when I got blown up) and had healed improperly. No MRI or TAC was needed; he showed me the break on a simple x-ray. But the VA doctors couldn’t see it on a simple x-ray. My spine is now fused.
      The claims process has been a constant battle. In 1988 (during the Reagan administration) I applied for an increased benefit for a wife and one child. Every three month I would receive a form letter telling me that they were working on my claim. This lasted for ten years–through the Reagan and Bush administrations, and into the Clinton administration. When they finally approved the claim, I received no back pay: Congress had passed a law eliminating back pay.
      So, this latest news comes as no surprise to me, but I am surprised that anyone else would be surprised.

    • charleo1

      “We go in a war in Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan for Iraq with unfinished business in Afghanistan. Ten years later, we have all of these additional veterans. In the past five years, two million more veterans needing benefits from the VA. That’s a huge, huge increase.” You believe she made that up? Or, you don’t agree with the premise? That sending troops into war decades at a time, will effect the number and amount of care they will need upon their return? Frankly, how could the VA’s numbers, if not cooked, reflect anything else? Is it not troubling to you, that everything must be politicized? And presented in such a manner as to first, find where the opposition Party has been derelict, irresponsible, incompetent, insensitive, or hypocritical. Then, if any hay is made, bore down on that for the next year or two. And of course, the fact we’ve been at war the past 13 years now, really can’t have a damn thing to do with the problem, if full political utilization of the problem is to be realized. Which means we start out ignoring the inconvenient facts. Then wonder, as Americans who do sincerely care about this, why no one ever gets around to fixing the problem. And it looks to me, like we’re at it again.

      • joe schmo

        What are you talking about. Let’s just get over it and move on and fix the problem. An investigation as you suggest would take even more money. If their truly were a surplus and this is the answer to a problem then let’s investigate to see if it will really work and make it happen. I swear you people don’t want a solution unless it comes from your camp. I swear.

      • exdemo55

        Read the entire post:

        Actually, according to government statistics, there are far fewer veterans in the VA.

        According to the VA, the number of vets declined by 4.3 million from 2000 to 2013.

        Democrats such as Pelosi claim more money is the solution.

        Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said, “If the VA does not have enough doctors to see these patients, then these problems are a result of a lack of funding.”

        But spending on the VA actually tripled from 2010 to 2013.

        John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily crunched the numbers and found the VA’s budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines.

        • charleo1

          Perhaps the problem is not in the total number of patients. (WWII Vets are after all, dying at the rate of 600 per day.) And many Vets are utilizing Medicare. The incidence of PTSD of troops coming from combat zones, is estimated by psychologists to be as high as 99%. Thousands are not adjusting, for reasons I don’t think anyone fully understands. Divorce, and domestic violence rates are off the charts. On average 22 of these Vets, after surviving the wars, are committing suicide each day. So perhaps there is a shortage of people trained to deal with these problems? But those are the numbers I wish more people were concerned about exploding. That said, there has alway been this disconnect with those who were convinced from the beginning we could fight these wars on the cheap. We found out the hard realities of that fantasy on the battlefields of Iraq, and Afghanistan. Many of these same soldiers that need help right now, have already paid the price for that. My concern is the same people in Washington are hanging on to that same fantasy, determined to make our troops pay for their stupid ideology, again. And it goes purely to reputation. Paul
          Ryan’s budget calls for more cuts to the VA over the
          next 10 years, than the entire annual budget this year.
          For the GOP, when they aren’t running things, this is just business as usual. They act as if they feel no responsibility for the success of things. So there’s always fraud, and waste, cutting the fat, reducing the bureaucracy, and red tape, increasing the efficiency, and reducing the debt. But properly funding a program as to the job it’s actually being expected to preform, never enters the equation. And failures can in their minds, can always be blamed on the other guys. And, of course, these things can turn into great campaign financing vehicles, dressed up as Congressional investigations. Fodder for the 24/7 media operations, and ginning up the base. And I believe these kids, who went everywhere, and did everything that was ask of them and more, deserve better than being used as political props.

          • exdemo55

            Your liberal mind just can’t seem to wrap itself around this. FUNDING IS NOT THE PROBLEM!
            Whenever Congress throws money at any promblem it is never spent efficiently and where it need to be spent. In this case, they don’t hire more doctors, specialists, nurses, and improvements in technolgy and treatment like they should. The greedy bureaucrates always spend the money further building the bureaucracy. Hiring more administrators and worthless staff, usually more Demo voters.
            The government cannot run a lemonade stand. The best way to make this work is turn it over to the private sector. If you want to see what Obamacare will look like in the future, take a look at the curreny VA

          • charleo1

            “My liberal mind,” is not making any assumptions here. On the other hand, “somebody’s,” sure parroting the same stuff over, and over. It’s ridiculous, lazy intellectually, and ignores the fact, if the private sector wanted in the business of taking care of a group that often engage in very dangerous activity. Often with waves of people, requiring expensive, long term care. And as a group, are consistently not wealthy. I’m sure, if there was a buck to made, without the gov. the private sector would be all over it. The fact is, like the 65, and up group, the wonderful, for profit, private sector medical system, has no answer for these groups. Unless, we as taxpayers pony up the extra money the insurance cos. say they’ll need to insure these decidedly high risk, profit averse, groups. Now, those are the facts about the private sector, when it comes to medical care. The people on the Right, who are constantly twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to make every problem another example of how gov. is always the problem, become the problem. When they refuse to stop ignoring facts, like I just listed, in order to continue to keep grinding their anti-government ax. It’s purposeful ignorance, driven by political expedience, and an agenda to further empower the big money special interests over the necessary legal, and regulatory responsibilities of the gov. And, it needs to stop. One cannot be both responsible, and hold that gov. is always the problem. Look for a minute, where it has you. You’re making statements you have no particular knowledge about, besides your provably wrong, ideological opinion, it must be the gov. When the gov. is the only affordable option. You know there have been considerable work in this area. It’s not like you’re standing there, and saying, gee let’s use the private insurance cos. it would be so much better! Then, there’s this Communist, (Liberal,) that’s thinking, but how will the gov. ever control people’s lives, if the private sector shows it can take care of our armed forces much better, and much less expensively. As I said it’s ridiculous, it’s unacceptable, and needs to stop. You hate ObamaCare? Well, unlike the scourge of illegal voting, the specter of our, “free market,” healthcare system’s imploding from unaffordable cost, lack of availability, and jerry rigged way indigent care was being paid for, was real. And the free market had 50 years to find a solution, and it was going to fail. You and the Right Wingers may deny it with more false ideology. But the Country can no longer afford your fantasies, and attempted manipulations of real problems, that must be solved using real facts.

          • exdemo55

            Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

            The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.

            Driving the new policies is the cost of charity care, which is partly covered by government but remains a burden for many hospitals. The new law also reduces federal aid to hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured people, creating an additional pressure on some to restrict charity care.Continue reading the main story Related Coverage

            In St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has started charging co-payments to uninsured patients, no matter how poor they are. The Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua no longer provides free care for most uninsured patients who are above the federal poverty line — $11,670 for an individual. And in Burlington, Vt., Fletcher Allen Health Care has reduced financial aid for uninsured patients who earn between twice and four times the poverty level.Photo

            Beverly Jones, who has lupus, said new charges would “throw my budget into a tailspin” on her annual income of $13,400. Credit August Kryger for The New York Times

            By tightening requirements for charity care, hospital executives say, they hope to encourage eligible people to obtain low-cost insurance through the subsidized private plans now available under the law.

            “Do we allow our charity care programs to kick in if people are unwilling to sign up?” said Nancy M. Schlichting, chief executive of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. “Our inclination is to say we will not, because it just seems that that defeats the purpose of what the Affordable Care Act has put in place.”

            But advocates for the uninsured point out that many Americans avoided obtaining coverage in the inaugural enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act this year because they found the plans too expensive, even with subsidies. Many uninsured people also remain unaware of the new insurance options, And immigrants who are in the country illegally are not even eligible to apply.

            “Certainly we want to encourage people who have new access to affordable coverage to take advantage of it,” said Sidney D. Watson, a professor at St. Louis University’s Center for Health Law Studies. “But I think we’re all going to have to do a lot to get that message out, and there will always be people who won’t have the option.”

            Beverly Jones, 51, of St. Louis, who has lupus, is the type of person targeted by Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s new policy. Ms. Jones, who already owes Barnes-Jewish thousands of dollars for emergency room treatment and other visits, said the hospital’s new co-payments for the uninsured would “throw my budget into a tailspin” on her annual income of $13,400, which comes mostly from disability checks.

            She has enrolled in a subsidized insurance policy under the Affordable Care Act. But she worries that she will have trouble paying the fees and deductibles required under her new plan, even with generous subsidies.

            “There’s still a lot of stuff I can’t afford to do,” she said.

            Many hospitals appear focused on reducing aid only for patients who earn between 200 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, or between $23,340 and $46,680 for an individual. Many of those people presumably have jobs and would qualify for subsidized coverage under the new law.

            BJC HealthCare, the nonprofit system that owns Barnes-Jewish and 11 other hospitals in Missouri and Illinois, gives all uninsured patients a 25 percent discount on the billed charges, regardless of their income. But the system previously provided additional discounts to uninsured patients with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Now, only patients earning up to 300 percent of the poverty level, or $35,010 for an individual, are eligible.

            And for the first time, everyone who gets financial assistance owes at least a small co-payment. For example, patients with incomes at or below the poverty level are now charged $100 for emergency care and $50 for an office visit.

            “We didn’t want to have a policy that would encourage people not to follow the mandate” to get health insurance, said June Fowler, a spokeswoman.

            In the past, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center generally provided free or discounted care for patients who were at or below 225 percent of the poverty level, or about $26,260 for an individual. But starting this year, only patients below the poverty level will receive such charity care, said Paul Trainor, the system’s vice president of finance.

            Patients “who refuse to purchase federally mandated health insurance when they are eligible to do so will not be awarded charitable care,” the hospital’s revised policy states.

            Fletcher Allen, Vermont’s largest health care system, changed its policy on April 1, requiring many uninsured patients to pay a percentage of their bill instead of a fixed fee of up to $1,000. Patients earning 200 percent of the poverty level or less will not be affected by the change, said Shannon Lonergan, Fletcher Allen’s director of registration and customer service. But those earning between 201 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level will now have to pay between 15 percent and 45 percent of their bill, depending on their income.

            Ms. Lonergan said the new policy would affect only about a third of its financial aid recipients. At BJC HealthCare, only about 3 percent of charity care patients in 2012 earned more than 300 percent of the poverty level and thus would no longer qualify for financial assistance unless there were extenuating circumstances, Ms. Fowler said.

            Officials at both Fletcher Allen and BJC HealthCare said they had worked hard to inform patients about new insurance options during the recent enrollment period and to help them enroll in coverage. Both systems provide financial aid to lower-income people with high insurance costs.

            The financial challenges are particularly daunting in the more than 24 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, including Missouri. The Affordable Care Act reduces federal aid for uncompensated care on the assumption that hospitals would replace much of the lost income with payments for patients newly covered by Medicaid.

            But the Supreme Court in 2012 gave states the right to opt out of the expansion. Now hospitals that treat the poor and uninsured in states like Missouri are losing federal aid without getting new Medicaid payments, a problem they say is threatening their bottom lines. Robert Hughes, the president and chief executive of the Missouri Foundation for Health, an independent philanthropic group, said BJC HealthCare was “in a tough spot” because of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

          • charleo1

            This is all very informative. And logical, if one’s goal is to reduce the amount, and the way indigent care is dealt with. Without Socializing part, or all of the care provided to the group that earns say, up to 400% of the set poverty level. Wasn’t this was the income group intended to be covered with the Medicaid expansion? Which for these reasons, some of the Governors who had originally decided they were going to opt out of the expansion. Which made no financial sense. Was completely paid for for I think, 3 years, then, 90% thereafter. Are coming to understand there are implications beyond just the extra money that decision will cost their taxpayers. But it’s the entire healthcare delivery systems in their State, that will suffer undue losses. Along with the several millions, that will see their care reduced, and their own costs increase. Also, if there were any doubts about the ACA being a Conservative Right, progeny, the methodology here should settle them all right away. Look, you have the built in cuts and new limitations to indigent care. With the gov. saying, we’re no longer going to chip in as much in these particular cases, billed in this particular way. The incentivizing of more individual responsibility. Means testing to qualify for gov. subsidies, that are paid to private insurers, to reimburse private, for profit vendors, and providers. Don’t you think this is classic market based theology? If a guy makes 35 a year, and has no insurance. How much help do you believe you owe him, to pay on the hospital bill, for his wife’s delivery? I think a Conservative would ask, he doesn’t know where babies come from? And he must know they are rather expensive nowadays. So, did he have to get the full package on the I-Phones for him, and his wife, instead of buying an insurance policy? I also think that’s a very fair question. But, unless he has some attachable assets, they’ll never have to pay the bill. Because it could be written off very easily by the hospital, doctor, Then you, and me, and all the other young couples that were responsible, will now pay more. Our premiums, and taxes go up, and Junior, his wife, son, and I phones are happy as clams. So now the providers get put in a tough spot. But, unless that happens, they have no particular reason to change. Again, unless we decide to go a single pay Medicare for all, National healthcare policy. There must be some incentives for those who can afford to provide for their own healthcare bills to do so. And guess what? This entire group hates it with a passion. Make me buy insurance? Well that’s Communism? No that’s rugged individualism. Society’s paying for it is Socialism. Or, as in the case of China’s Communism, somebody’s gonna pay, or it’s likely not gonna happen at all.

    • joe schmo

      Absolutely, and right on the mark. If there is a surplus the greedy bastards in the VA need to spread the wealth. This sounds like a very viable solution:)

  • Bill

    The GOP has never done anything for Vets while in service or after service. They think lip service is all they need to do, but actions speak louder than words.

    • Annemb

      That’s true that the GOP never did anything for our vets either while they were serving and after they returned.

      One of our senators visited one of the veterans home in our state where I work, where she visited veterans in our facility. After our veterans signed Christmas cards for those still serving, she praised and thanked our veterans for their service.

      Once in D.C., when the bill to increase benefits for veterans and their families came up for a vote, she voted against it.

      In my lengthy email to her, I called her a hypocrite!

  • Frank’s Inatra

    Hussein Obama is seriously delusional.

    • edwardw69

      Well, that puts you in good company.

    • jmprint

      And how is that, can you explain?

      • Duckbudder

        No he can’t.

    • Sand_Cat

      Speaking of delusional…

  • ps0rjl

    The VA was a joke 45 years ago when I got out of the service. There is enough blame to go around for everyone. I do agree though that recently the Republicans have refused to fund the VA even though their illustrious leader started two wars. I predict there will be much hand wringing and scapegoating and as soon as the furor dies down nothing will change.

    • edwardw69

      Sure, something will change:
      “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

  • dana becker

    Congress is the biggest problem with this country,

  • dana becker

    “Republicans indicated that they prefer to dedicate the savings toward deficit reduction” rather than improved services.”

    Yes, the deficit they created by not paying for anything while they had the reigns. When they have the reigns, deficits don’t matter. When a Democrat has the reigns everything must be paid for. Every time the Republicans have the reigns of power, they always blow up the deficit and claim they are the fiscally responsible ones. Have we learned yet that they cannot be trusted? Please vote them out in 2014. Exercise that right to vote these vets have died for. Support our troops by going out and voting. Give Obama a Congress that will work with him and not against him.

  • dana becker

    I loved the letters the Vet groups wrote condemning the Republicans.

  • exdemo55

    To voters angry at Washington, President Obama has an explanation for the deepening of gridlock, incompetence, and zero-sum gain thinking during his five-plus years in office: It’s not his fault.

    Not that finger-pointing solves anything, but Obama wants you to know that it was Republicans and the media who put his presidency on ice. At a fundraiser in Chicago on Thursday night, Obama said:

    “You’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible. And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses. But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific. We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early-childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.

    “They, so far, at least, have refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.

    “So the problem … is not that the Democrats are overly ideological—because the truth of the matter is, is that the Democrats in Congress have consistently been willing to compromise and reach out to the other side. There are no radical proposals coming out from the left. When we talk about climate change, we talk about how do we incentivize through the market greater investment in clean energy. When we talk about immigration reform there’s no wild-eyed romanticism. We say we’re going to be tough on the borders, but let’s also make sure that the system works to allow families to stay together …

    “When we talk about taxes we don’t say we’re going to have rates in the 70 percent or 90 percent when it comes to income like existed here 50, 60 years ago. We say let’s just make sure that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country are giving back to kids so that they’re getting a good start in life, so that they get early childhood education.… Health care—we didn’t suddenly impose some wild, crazy system. All we said was, let’s make sure everybody has insurance. And this made the other side go nuts—the simple idea that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick, working within a private system.

    “So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true. What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.”

    Obama could be forgiven for trying to motivate his liberal base with distorted and overheated rhetoric, if it wasn’t clear that he actually means it.

    Share This Story Share This Story Share This Story

    The truth is that both parties are ideologically rigid. Unbending is the nature of a political parties, especially when voters themselves are sorting into “red” and “blue” teams; when computer-assisted redistricting and other structural factors encourage partisanship; and when the media industry is being pushed (and is pushing voters) to political extremes.

    Obama can reasonably argue that the Republican Party is more rigid than the Democratic Party. I would agree, and I don’t hesitate to hold the GOP accountable for positions that place the party on the wrong side of history and demographic trends.

    But it’s my belief that Obama has overstated his obstacles to success on taxes, immigration, climate change, and other issues. The candidate of unbridled optimism in 2008 is now cynical, bowed, and nearly beaten—a leader whose excuse for failure amounts to, I can’t lead because Republicans won’t let me. By the way, that is not a conservative talking point; it’s rooted in dozens of conversations I’ve had in the past 17 months with Democrats.

    Greg Sargent, a liberal writer for the Washington Post, anticipated my response in a post Friday:

    This will prompt the Green Lanternite pundits, who continue to trace the problem to Obama’s failure to move Congress, to argue that he is merely making excuses for failure. I would note, though, that in his remarks, he also said the only remedy for the problem is for Democrats to vote out Republicans, which is to say, it’s on Democrats to fix by winning elections …

    Sargent makes a reasonable point. However, Democrats had control of both chambers of Congress when Obama took office in 2009, and most voters weren’t happy with the result. Furthermore, Sargent’s prescription for a better state of politics is exactly what’s wrong with the system. “Winning elections” is all the matters in Washington. Obama promised better.

    Sargent’s colleague Dan Balz quoted Obama at the Chicago fundraiser in his Sunday column and reached a different conclusion:

    There is truth to the president’s claim that a faction of the Republican Party has forced House GOP leaders to resist compromise and that the party’s confrontational hard-liners have changed the rules on Capitol Hill.

    But there are Republicans on Capitol Hill who are not ideological hard-liners and who lament what they regard as a president and White House senior staff who have grown increasingly withdrawn. They hear what Obama said Thursday and are offended. They think he does not try to understand the reasons they differ with his policies, believing he simply prefers to portray them all as heartless and captured by the tea party.

    Obama chafes at such even-handed analyses. He dismisses them as “false equivalence” because the president won’t be happy until every news story casts him as the hero and Republicans as the villains.

    In politics and in everyday life, rarely are both sides equally wrong, which is why journalists shouldn’t draw false equivalence. Balz is an example of how to measure blame fairly, not necessarily equally.

    Rarer still is one side 100 percent right, which is why Obama is guilty of false purity. Obama’s intellectual dishonesty has prevented him from learning on the job, which is what’s required of great presidents—the kind who overcome obstacles that others whine about.

  • Barabbus

    So anybody who thinks Shinseki really ought to resign is just guilty of engaging in a political “stunt”. Oh! And everything is Bush and the Republican’s fault. Did I get everything Joe? Thanks for such a helpful contribution to solving this problem for our Vets!
    No matter how many dead bodies Conason needs to wade through in order to get to his political cheap shot, he’ll do it. Tragedy doesn’t slow him in the least, if it can be twisted into an opportunity to smear political opponents. When you’re a political hack, you’re never really off the clock I guess. But, what an authentic A-hole.