Sunday, November 11, 2012

For Veterans Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Sacramento

A reminder of the Road Not Taken on this Veterans Day.
Interviews I conducted with New Hampshire voters last month reveal the political liabilities of telling potential Republican voters exactly what the Romney-Ryan ticket intends to cut. Two voters, both Republicans, told me they could not bring themselves to vote for their party this year because the Ryan budget cuts spending for veterans’ benefits. 
In an interview days after Romney announced on a Saturday that he had picked Ryan, George Lemieux said, “Based on what Romney did this weekend, I would not vote for him.” Lemieux, a 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran who spent 26 years in the Army, declared that “Ryan wants to decimate Medicare; he wants to decimate the V.A. I have a brother who is dependent on V.A. disability, and he wants to cut it out entirely.” 
“The Ryan budget will kill everybody,” said Aura-Lee Nicodemus, another woman I met, who works at the V.A. Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. and is active in the advocacy organization, Disabled American Veterans. “I’m a registered Republican and I can’t vote for Romney. His actions speak louder than words.”

And instead, progress will continue.
An upcoming report is expected to show the number of homeless veterans has dropped by at least 15,000 since 2009, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says, and the drop is the result of an aggressive two-pronged strategy to not only take veterans off the street but also prevent new ones from ending up there... 
Of the country's 22 million veterans, an estimated 75,609 were homeless in 2009 when Shinseki announced the campaign. Veterans make up 14% of the U.S. homeless population... 
The number of homeless veterans dropped 12% between 2010 and 2011 to 67,497. It's expected to fall below 60,000 when this year's count is released in the coming weeks, Shinseki says... 
The VA spent $9.5 billion in the 2011 and 2012 budget years and is proposing to spend another $11.9 billion in the next two years — meaning the overall cost would be $21.5 billion by September 2014.

President Obama promised to make good on his promise to work towards more educational opportunities for veterans, and to deal with the backlog at the VA, among other things.

Something sure to happen - if the House Republicans know what's good for them.

Spanish War Memorial Sacramento