Every year, the United States celebrates the end of World War I, which was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, with a federal holiday. This holiday, formerly known as Armistice Day, is now known as Veterans Day. The “War to end all Wars,” it claimed the lives of 116,708 brave American soldiers. While the original proclamation in 1919 celebrated these veterans, a shoe shop owner from Kansas, Alvin King, took up the cause of celebrating all veterans on this date. Accordingly, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed King’s bill in 1954, thus establishing Veterans Day as we know it today.
Many Americans seem to take Veterans Day, and the veterans themselves, for granted; we thank them for their sacrifices, we place bumper stickers on our cars, yet do little to provide care for them after they’ve returned from service. This war, while lower on overall casualties, has produced a significant number of wounded veterans who lives were saved but require intensive therapy and care.
Meanwhile, we poured a tremendous amount of money – 1.3 trillion in one decade! – into Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re also spending $900 billion per year on welfare here at home for those who did not serve. A fraction of this money would radically improve the VA system and help veterans find jobs.
We need to find a way to improve the quality of care for our veterans without increasing the deficit, and there are plenty of places to cut the budget. Paul Ryan put forth a great plan to lower the tax rate, replace Medicare, and privatize Social Security, but the plan died in the Senate. Let it be known that no Democrats voted for this plan. Also, despite the amounts of money poured into Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention our soldiers, we have not received any sort of break on oil prices or return on our extensive investment in Iraqi infrastructure. . On top of that, we’ve racked up over $5 billion in waste from reconstruction projects. This is simply unacceptable to our taxpayers and to what our soldiers fought for.
Trim the welfare rolls. Work out a supply of oil on favorable terms from the Iraqi government that in kind repays the debt. We need to put our money were our mouth is, and actually help our veterans instead of paying lip service.
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