For many decades it has been a rallying cry on either side of the aisle of conservatives to “Support our Veterans”. This slogan has resonated well with many voter bases, especially military veterans as well as the working class who see veterans as brethren rather than a separate employment group. Unfortunately, just as with Democrats in the inner cities, promises are nothing more than empty words in the eyes of most conservative schmoozers.
The GI Bill of rights is one of the most important pieces of legislation in US history, and has contributed to the mass explosion of the middle class following World War II. Arguably, this bill of rights is why the Baby Boomer generation began to appear. Included in the GI Bill of Rights are government assistance programs for returning veterans such as home loan assistance, business start-up capital, medical insurance, food assistance programs, among a mass variety of other programs that can be found here.
These programs were initially supported universally by politicians, being constantly funded and being the primary focus of many campaigns throughout the middle decades of the 1900s. As time has gone on, however, the Democrats have slowly phased out the issue of veteran’s care in favor of a more universal approach to the initial benefits provided for in the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill). The one section of the nation that appeared to appeal directly to the veterans in the Republican party, particularly the more conservative wings of the coalition.
Even the Republicans, however, have eroded away at their commitment to veterans. They like to expound their plans to improve the living conditions of veterans around the nation, fight corruption in the Department of Veterans, with additions to medical coverage for the underprivileged veterans who have not felt the full effects of the G.I. Bill. This rhetoric has come with much of the greatly desired voter block of veterans, who comprise nearly a quarter of our nation’s population in one way or another.
The reality of their rhetoric is a facade of falses, and has left many veterans in the dust. Many go without food during the times that they need it most, and find it hard to find a job to even sustain themselves. There are currently 49,000 homeless veterans in the United States, which should not be happening from the extensive nature of the G.I. Bill program, and yet it still is a common issue. The medical care given to veterans is subpar at best, and gives very little hope to those suffering from both physical and mental disabilities. Hours upon hours, days upon days veterans wait to receive a visit with a doctor that they are limited to seeing, and even then the visit is short lived and produces no real results.
Unfortunately, all of these problems come as a result of empty rhetoric set forth by Republicans in Congress. Republicans claim to be the party of veterans, and yet there is no real evidence to show that they are really sticking to their promises of ending veteran unemployment, increasing medical care for veterans, and continuing to search for a solution to veteran homelessness. The Veterans Affairs (VA) budget is among the largest sections of the federal budget at current, especially when it comes to discretionary spending. In FY 2015, $160.1 billion were dedicated to solving the problems facing veterans, and it seems that veterans are still facing the same problems they were facing in 2014.
While such funding is out of date, the lack of impact it has had on the overall situation of veterans in our nation is not. Veterans still face employment discrimination when returning from the battlefield. Veterans still cannot find a suitable place to live that is within their spending margin. Veterans still stand on the streets homeless, afraid, and with no one to turn to. Yet, Republicans tout success through funding increases among other earmarks added to bigger bills that make minute changes to the veteran’s situation in America. If Americans truly realized how little many Republicans and Conservatives feel for our veterans, I doubt that many of them would be re-elected.
The congress has been Republican-controlled for almost a decade, since 2010 when Nancy Pelosi was dethroned as Speaker of the House and her party was cast into the minority once again. Next to nothing has been done for our veterans across America, and the problem will only continue to grow until we can no longer bear to sweep the problem under the rug anymore. Soon that dust will be filled with tacks that will really put a hurting on those who claim to support veterans and yet do everything in their power to keep veterans in the same compromising position they are in now.
In 2017 I implore congress to find solutions to the problems facing our veterans across this nation, or face large retribution from that particular voting block in 2018 and beyond.