Whatever Problems The VA Had, Money Wasn't One Of Them:
VA Budget Nearly
TRIPLED From 2000-2012
As usual when a scandal erupts involving a corrupt, incompetent government agency, the Lefty pushback is that the real problem is a lack of funding. Everything would be just fine and dandy if only Agency X had gotten more taxpayers money to spend on it's services. The answer is ALWAYS to make government bigger and more expensive and more powerful. Always.
This is certainly nothing new. Every single time it's pointed out how badly public schools are failing, Democrats dial up their tired excuse that things would be so much better if only we'd increase the funding for public education. Like spending on public education hasn't tripled in this country since the 1970's. And yes, that's adjusted for inflation.
When the Benghazi attack happened, the excuse ultimately proffered as to why a diplomatic post in a terrorist hot zone continued to have what little security it possessed stripped from it was that Congress cut the State Department's budget. As if somehow it wouldn't have been up to the people running the State Department at the time to prioritize their now-reduced budget and eliminate things like $2.5 million to decorate embassies or a $16.5 million contract to buy Kindles [that was later scrapped only AFTER it became public and complaints were made].
Your State Dept. spent $1 million bucks to buy this rock.
The fact is, as Sean Davis at the Federalist explains in the following chart, the VA's budget almost tripled from 2000 to 2012, going from $45 billion/yr to $124 billion.
The real problem the VA has is the same problem that infects every government agency where public employee unions are allowed: full time workers devoting all their focus into how to get more of any new incoming money into the hands of their union members.
That's right. The VA had over 250 full time employees who spent all their days working on nothing but union business.
In total, the VA spent at least $13.77 million [in 2012] on 251 salaried employees performing full-time union work. Others, who were not included on the list provided by the VA, work part-time for unions at the taxpayer expense. In fiscal year 2011, the latest on record, the VA used 998,483 hours of this “official time,” costing taxpayers more than $42 million.$13.77 million of your tax dollars went to pay for unionized gov't employees who devoted all their time to improving pay, benefits, bonuses, working conditions, & rules and regulations that favor union workers rather than doing anything to improve treatment of our sick veterans.
Unions exist to serve the needs of their union members. PERIOD. Full stop. End of story. Whether you're talking about a teacher's union, air traffic controllers or whatever, public employee unions exist to serve their members, NOT THE PUBLIC. Teacher's unions don't exist to meet the needs of schoolchildren and the VA employee's union most manifestly DOES NOT do a single thing to meet the needs of our veterans. Time and again I meet people engaging in confused thinking on this issue, as if teacher's unions are looking out for our kids in the public schools or the VA union spends some of it's time looking after veterans. They don't.
The VA scandal is really about career 'civil servants' gaming the system and mistreating our veterans with illegal secret waiting lists in order to protect their jobs and score bigger bonuses for themselves. It's about MONEY, all right, just not in the way Democrats want the public to realize.
Had the waiting lists remained accurate, it would have become evident how broken and backlogged the VA system was when getting medical treatment to the veterans who needed it. So the VA employees decided to maintain two different lists: a public list that demonstrated how 'well' the VA system was working, and then a secret, accurate waiting list that reflected the real state of things.
When the present system is broken, and yet your fortunes are tied to it, there will be a compulsion to cover up problems. This is exactly what happened here. VA employees avoided all kinds of messy problems that would have forced changes by simply doing some deceptive bookkeeping. If people got a true sense of how messed up things were at the VA, the present people in charge and working there might not get pay increases, promotions, advancement and so forth. Better to sweep the sick veterans under the rug and keep the thing chugging along by putting up a facade that things were working splendidly.
In fact, these corrupt bureaucrats did such a smashingly good job of faking how well the VA was working that Liberal pundits proffered the VA system as a sterling example of how awesomely awesome gov't run health care was going to be for the rest of us.
The #1 job of any gov't employee union is: protecting it's members from any accountability. America is about to get an infuriating education into just how well these unions have gamed the system over the past couple of decades.
In NYC, the teacher's unions there created such a Byzantine system full of legal regulations and stalling tactics it's become a financial and time-consuming nightmare to fire a dangerous or incompetent teacher. So the city's politicians have found it cheaper to continue to pay them to do....nothing while their cases drag on indefinitely.
That's right. NYC ends up paying hundreds of dangerous and incompetent teachers millions of dollars a year to sit around all day and play games and watch television. Because the process of firing a teacher takes years and years to do. Think I'm joking, that it couldn't possibly be that bad due to the way the teacher's unions have been allowed to set things up?
Many people expect heads to start rolling at the VA any minute now that Shinseki has resigned. But they're in for a shock. Any VA employee found to have engaged in deception with these secret waiting lists who fights to keep their job is going to have a stunning array of legal and financial tools at their disposal, thanks to the union. Anyone who's followed the long and frustrating stories of attempts to fire unionized government employees knows what's coming.