James Puz: Feds are failing our disabled veterans

James Puz: Feds are failing our disabled veterans

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You’ve probably received solicitations in the mail or seen numerous ads on TV asking for money to help disabled veterans obtain artificial limbs and the needed therapy that accompanies those items.

These funds would also be used for those veterans who have varying degrees of paralysis and emotional issues inflicted on them due to their service to this country.

With all this prodding and poking to get your $19 per month to help those individuals, have you ever asked yourself, “Why?” Why are outside organizations needed to do something our federal government is supposed to do...obligated to do?

The current Defense Department budget for fiscal 2020 has been approved at $738 billion, while the Veterans Administration is seeking $220 billion for fiscal 2020, a 9.6% increase from fiscal 2019.

Here we have the defense budget at more than three times the budget of the VA. That in itself might be logical. However, there does seem to be a problem with this picture.

The money the Defense Department receives is to maintain the strongest, most sophisticated military in the world. And keep in mind our military is an all-volunteer military; men and women of this nation choose to serve in the different branches of service...they choose to go in harm’s way.

The budgeted money is used extensively to buy planes, tanks, ships and all sorts of other weaponry, along with training those men and women to fly those planes, drive those tanks, helm those ships, crouch behind a machine gun and guide a drone-mounted missile to its target.

Many of our service members are definitely in war zones because they run the risk of not only being wounded but of being killed. Many come home incomplete in more ways than one.

When these men and women come home, they should be able to rely on the government they’ve served to be able to supply everything necessary to help them adjust to life, especially if wounds and injuries suffered prohibit the person from staying in the service.

They should get more than just a slap on the back, a “You done good soldier,” and a weak assurance the government will try to replace or repair broken or missing parts of their bodies.

It’s ironic, too, that our military personnel work with some of the most sophisticated and expensive military hardware on earth, yet when the time comes for many of them to need sophisticated, expensive limb replacements, Washington, D.C., comes up short.

Thus, the Defense Department can purchase the most expensive combat aircraft available, yet the VA apparently has difficulty coming up with enough money to replace missing arms and legs for the veterans who volunteered to accept our nation’s call to go into harm’s way.

This is shameful and a gross insult to the sacrifice these men and women have made.

I’m fully aware the Veterans Administration does a tremendous job when it come to our veterans.

But is the money allocated each year insufficient or is it being wasted? Why must the American public, through donations, be asked to help disabled veterans to the tune of $19 per month?

Why can’t the VA do this work — work it was designed to do — all on its own? Why must our disabled veterans become “charity cases?” And that’s what all of this solicitation amounts to — turning our valiant warriors into a national spectacle, with organizations, hat-in-hand, seeking handouts from the American people.

The wealthiest nation, with the strongest military might, can’t afford to help supply, without outside assistance, veterans with artificial limbs, often more than one, and other forms of much-needed therapies?

We pay taxes so that the VA can obtain the needed funds to do the job it was commissioned to do. With donations at $19 per month being requested, it’s like we’re being taxed twice.

It would seem, therefore, that the federal government is failing some of our most vulnerable veterans.

Why can’t more than $200 billion do the job helping our veterans when they return home with less than they entered military service with — with less than they started out with when they ventured forth to fulfill their assigned duties, their assigned missions, going in harm’s way?



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