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It's the Voter's Fault

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Debt ceiling talks ignore the reality of veterans' needs.

By the time you read this the single most burning question in America will have been answered: “Did my check come in?” I am afraid that the answer to that question will be ‘No!’ but then again I have a very low level of confidence in the ability of the people in Washington to overcome blind adherence to political dogma and actually practice the difficult art of governance. When it comes to the current crop of Representatives I have very little faith in their ability to understand the magnitude of the problems they will create by their intransigence. They are—I believe—drunk with power to the point that they can’t even see the cliff they are heading for.

In case you’ve been living in a yurt on the steppes of Asia for several months you should be aware that the House of Representatives and the President have been playing a game of ‘Chicken’ with the government’s debt ceiling. Default on our national debt will devastate our, and the world’s, economy. That’s not my opinion—it is the opinion of those people who look at this sort thing. People like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s ratings of government debts. This confrontation is politics and governance at their worst. 

What does this mean to the veteran? To those of us who are retired—having done the required 20 or more years—there is a very good chance that our retirement check will not come in on the first of the month. For those of us who have been rated with a disability high enough to receive a check from the VA that also may not appear in our mailboxes. For those of us ancient enough to have retired from a second career and are receiving Social Security checks, that too may be missing from your bank account. 

What will that mean to the individual veteran? Well, I can’t answer for you but I can answer for myself. If my retirement check stopped coming in, and the VA and Social Security checks stopped too, I would find my monthly income reduced by approximately 85 percent. That would really put a kink in my social life—not to mention the pantry. But I’m fortunate in many ways. I have no large debts—mortgage payments, hospital bills, rent, auto loans etcetera—to cover. And I have, thanks to a series of serendipitous events over my lifetime, adequate resources to weather a severe storm such as this would be. 

What about those veterans who have any or all of those debts and limited back-up resources? With monthly debt payments dependent on that monthly income, there will be a severe impact on their lives. And where would these veterans turn for help? State government is more strapped for ready cash than the Feds. County offices—are you kidding? They have less than anyone else. Certain religious or community organizations may be able to help keep you fed and the lights on but I doubt that there will be much help available to pay the bank loans and health care costs. 

Is there a solution to this ‘Default-ageddon’ (modifying the word ‘Car-mageddon’ from the recent highway closure in California)? Yes, but I’m afraid that it may come too late to stop a great deal of pain being felt by the great majority of the nation’s people. That solution, I feel, is for our elected representatives to stop playing politics and start actually trying to run the country for the greatest good for the greatest number. Instead of worrying about winning the next election within minutes of winning the last election they must learn to actually work on the People’s Business.

We have almost a fifth of our nation’s work force either unemployed or under-employed. Veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan can’t find work so they join those ranks of the unemployed. What we need now aren’t more cuts and no new taxes as proposed by the Tea-Party wing of the GOP but massive public works projects like those that brought us out of the Great Depression. If private capital is unable—or unwilling—to create jobs the federal government must! We have a crumbling national infrastructure that could put millions to work. Yes, our deficit is bad but to further reduce spending now is unconscionable. The deficit was created by trying to fight two wars while reducing taxes. This reduction in revenues created the need to borrow more money and set the stage for where we are at today.

The really sad part of the current situation is that older, middle-class veterans are largely responsible for it. They—the older veterans—bought into the lies that 1) Trickle-down economics worked; 2) Cutting taxes for the top 2 percent created jobs; 3) Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction; and 4) The GOP is the veteran’s friend. None of these things are true. Never were and never will be. What we have here is the culmination of 30 years of consistent lies, half-truths and distortions repeated loudly at every opportunity. That the American voter has bought into this is a scathing indictment of both our national media and our educational systems.

If we do go into default it will be fault of the voter for believing the crap they’ve been fed for the past 30 years. And we veterans will have played a large part in this disaster. The American voter said in the 2010 elections that they wanted less government involvement in their lives. No federal checks is definitely less involvement in our lives. Well, there is an old saw that says, “Be careful what you wish for as you just might get!” 

Note: As of 9/30/2010—most recent date I can get info on—there were 109,800 veterans with wartime service in Idaho. That total spans WWII through the Gulf War. (For some reason statistics for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t listed)] This represents almost 10 percent of Idaho’s total population.

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Author info

Gil  Beyer Gil Beyer A 21 year Navy veteran, lived in Bonner County for over 30 years, Past Commander of the Priest River DAV Chapter and admitted news junkie.

Tagged as:

Debt ceiling, veterans funding, default-ageddon, unemployment

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