What’s The Real Reason For The VA Scandal?

by William Teach | May 27, 2014 7:01 am

As the VA scandal rolls along, with much of the major media wanting to ignore it or bury the coverage deep in the website/newspaper, many are trying to use distraction-blame. Obviously, Democrats are trying to Blame Bush. He certainly does bare some blame. But, as the liberal talking point regarding 9/11 went, “who’s president now?”, despite much of the planning, training and entry of the al Qaeda terrorists occurred during the Clinton years.

Then you have the one about too many wounded vets from two unnecessary wars. The unnecessary wars one has been growing over the last 6 years, and is absurd. We can quibble on Operation Iraqi Freedom, but these wacko leftists forget, or don’t care, why we went to war in Afghanistan. But, then, a huge chunk of Dems think it was a false flag attack, along with Blaming America.

Another is about money and Blaming Congress (forgetting that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate from 2007-2010. And still controls the Senate). That one gets beat down, too

(KESQ[1]) As politicians, pundits and the American people are focused on the escalating national crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs, one excuse for the VA’s woes keeps surfacing. Money.

The VA, some say, needs more money to do its job and care for veterans properly. But looking at the facts, that math just does not add up.

Since 2009, Congress has given Secretary Eric Shinseki every penny he has said he needed to fund the VA fully, resulting in an astonishing 50% increase in the agency’s overall budget at a time when budgets everywhere else across the federal government have been squeezed, strained and slashed. Congress even exempted the VA from sequestration, a win that not even the Pentagon managed to score while still engaged in a war overseas.

Congress also agreed to take the extraordinary step of giving the VA the annual funding it needs to cover veterans’ health care a year in advance so that the agency’s hospitals and clinics never run out of money. It is the reason the VA’s health care system continued to operate without interruption during last fall’s government shutdown, even as parks, federal buildings and congressional offices were forced to close or curtail operations for weeks.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, with the strong support of virtually all veteran and military service organizations, has pushed for years to give the VA the rest of its budget a year in advance, too, but the secretary and the Obama administration thus far have refused to endorse publicly the wisdom of protecting the entire VA budget with an advance appropriation.

So, Congress is doing everything possible to make sure the VA is funded in a bipartisan manner. Even prefunding it. Team Obama can’t be bothered to get involved.

Far from being underfunded, the VA is facing woes that are clearly due to a failure of planning and leadership. The VA knew or should have known that demand for its services would swell as more troops survived the wars with more severe and chronic injuries, especially mental injuries. And with troop surges and drawdowns debated and planned well in advance, corresponding future demands on the VA system could — and should — have been anticipated.

One important point is that a big influx of patients are Vietnam vets, not just our current wounded warriors.

Since reports first emerged of veteran deaths during long waits and alleged mismanagement in Phoenix, there continues to be a profound and worrisome lack of thoughtful and proactive leadership coming out of the VA. Instead, the VA has been addressing problems in a predictable manner, first denying their existence, then downplaying the scale, then hunkering down in crisis mode and finally — and belatedly — coming forward with a tepid and weak public response.

The passive, insular and arms-length management style has proven ill-suited for staying ahead of the pervasive problems of the nation’s second-largest bureaucracy. But more importantly, the fear is that such detached leadership from the top may have caused the VA’s bureaucratic and administrative pathologies to metastasize.

It’s not just the VA leaders, but Team Obama and Mr. Obama. Obama has yammered on about problems at the VA since 2007. I think we can assume, thanks to the ability to look back in time, that this was simply campaign rhetoric, not any serious policy prescription. Leadership starts from the top down. Obama has none. Words are rarely followed up with action. They’re throwaway lines at campaign events and fundraisers. The incompetence, malfeasance, lack of care, inability to “inspect what you expect”, detached leadership, etc, are hallmarks of this administration, and, sadly, when all is said and done, nothing will get fixed or even put in place to more towards fixing the problems.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[2]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[3].

  1. KESQ: http://www.kesq.com/news/Nicholson-VA-has-money-just-bad-leadership/26173790
  2. Pirate’s Cove: http://www.thepiratescove.us/
  3. @WilliamTeach: http://twitter.com/WilliamTeach

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