Over the last few years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been exposed as one of the most corrupt, ineffectual, and bloated agencies in the federal government. But even in the midst of widespread scandals involving patient wait-times, the VA thought it appropriate to pay out more than $142 million in performances bonuses.
The figures are from 2014, and they show that the incompetency and outright disdain for the taxpayers continued long after the first news reports started rolling in. In fact, if you listen to spokesman James Hutton, it continues to this day.
“VA will continue to review tools and options in order to ensure the department is able to attract and retain the best talent to serve our nation’s veterans, while operating as a good steward of taxpayer funds,” Hutton said in an interview with USA Today.
The best talent, eh? The talent to falsify documents so that it looks as though you’re not letting sick veterans die without care? That type of talent probably does take a bonus to attract, but it’s unclear why we would want it around in the first place.
What could these millions have done for our nation’s veterans if they hadn’t lined the pockets of incompetent (and, in some cases, criminally negligent) bureaucrats? Well, if we judge it by the standards of the federal government, $142 million probably wouldn’t buy much. If we judge it by the standards of the rest of America, though, that money could have saved lives.
Veterans’ Day is this week, and the vast majority of Americans won’t pay it any more thought than their Facebook news feed forces them to. That’s too bad, because there wouldn’t be a Facebook without men and women brave enough to fight for this country. There wouldn’t be television, the Internet, video games, malls, or anything else that dots the American landscape. Our history is often lamented as one of bloodshed and violence, but it was only because of that bloodshed that we are able to live such peaceful, carefree lives as we do.
Is this an argument for war? You don’t have to make an argument for war. War is. War will always be. War is what made the world what it is today. To pretend like these statements aren’t true is to deny reality. To pretend that we will one day have “world peace”…you might as well be wishing for an alien encounter. Sure, anything’s possible. But what makes you think it’s actually likely?
No, war is here to stay. And without Americans who have the courage to suit up and do what needs to be done, this country’s time will soon be over. For a group of individuals who have given us so much, why are we determined to give them so little back?