So, last night, a Presidential speech about ending combat operations (not really) in Iraq became an economic diatribe. At least the President promised to stand by veterans:
...That effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation’s strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.
Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.
And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it is our turn. Now, it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for –the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.
Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.
Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That is why we have already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We are treating the signature wounds of today’s wars post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we are funding a post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II- including my grandfather- become the backbone of our middle class, so today’s servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American economy. Because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it...
And today we have the President's adviser, former Senator Alan Simpson, talking about reasons for our high (and getting higher everyday) deficit. From the Boston Globe:
..."The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess," said Simpson, an Army veteran who was once chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee...
I know that many of you are scratching your heads on this one.
First, unlike all of the other government programs that give handouts to people who do not deserve them or have not earned benefits, the Department of Veteran Affairs seeks to help veterans who have done EVERYTHING we have asked of them.
...Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat who currently chairs the VA committee, said Tuesday he will address the broader issue of so-called presumptive conditions at a hearing previously set for Sept. 23. The committee will look to "see what changes Congress and VA may need to make to existing law and policy," Akaka said in an e-mail.
"It is our solemn responsibility to help veterans with disabilities suffered in their service to our country," said Akaka, who served in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. "That responsibility also requires us to make sure limited resources are available for those who truly need and are entitled to them."...
But it's okay to use stimulus money to fund research into weather patterns on Venus or to bail out banks run by the relatives of Congress or fixing runways at airports that have been shut down for years?
...VA used an age-adjusted formula in its latest proposal and estimated that it could cost some $67 billion in the next decade.
"It's the kind of thing that's just driving us to this $1 trillion, $400 billion deficit this year," Simpson said. "It's not that I'm an uncaring person, but common sense is the most uncommon thing in Washington.
Sooo, the VA and the Pentagon are to blame for the skyrocketing budget deficits? Sure, the war has cost us severely. Sure the VA is the biggest government arm in existence. But it is the reason for the huge deficits. Not TARP/Stimulus? Not bailing out GM and supporting union companies that cannot sustain themselves? Not funding universal Obama-care? Not the biggest expansion of government in the history of our government?!
Seriously, Senator, you are out of your g*ddamned mind!