Don't impose on veterans

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I’m not surprised that the government is trying to take away the medical benefits they promised the veterans. Now veterans are in the crosshairs of the administration and the supercommittee.

Veterans’ benefits are about to be taken from under them because the federal government keeps mismanaging the nation’s resources. They will try to explain why they need to do this to balance the budget, but what they will never explain is how they have mismanaged the nation’s wealth.

I have a few suggestions. How about completely cutting off foreign aid, especially to those countries that blame the United States for their every ill? Let us stop all the pork that is in every bill passed by Congress and signed by the president for projects for which the government has nothing to show. How about stopping welfare subsidies for all kinds of industries? If a business fails, let it fail. If there is a demand for that product, someone else will produce it.

That’s what the free market is about, just like the forefathers envisioned.

The administration should stop trying to stimulate the economy, wasting billions in the process. What does the government have to show for it? Nothing – and the administration is still claiming it has been a success.

So with all the mismanagement from our government and the squandering of the nation’s wealth, who will the administration and supercommittee ask to bail them out again? Yes, the veterans. A lot of these veterans have injuries and illnesses that they suffer with for the rest of their lives. They have spent years away from their families, putting their lives in harm’s way, and now the administration and supercommittee are willing to take away what was promised to them just because they cannot manage the country.

I say vote every single one of these individuals out of office and vote in people who can and want to do the right thing.

Benjamin Montanez Jr.

North Augusta, S.C.

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nevertoolate
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nevertoolate 11/22/11 - 06:34 am
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As an Army widow, I depend on

As an Army widow, I depend on Tricare Prime for my medical care ~which isn't much, I'm only 49 years old and in pretty good health. My late husband was in the army for 23 years and our health benefits was a main consideration as to why he chose to make the army his career. I spent years trying to finish my college degree and finally did in 2006. Because we moved frequently and I supported my husband and his career choice, I was never able to stay employed with one company long enough to establish a retirement or pension. These benefits are mine too, because I sacrificed by being a supportive spouse. I went to 4 different colleges and universities before being able to graduate with a BBA, major in Accounting. It took me 14 years to complete because of all the moving around we did. I am fed up with congress and their shenanigans. I say throw 'em all out and let's take away their pensions and healthcare while we're at it...

david jennings
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david jennings 11/22/11 - 08:27 am
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Good points Mr. Montanez, it

Good points Mr. Montanez, it is sad truth and common sense seem to be so scarce in Washinton DC.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/22/11 - 09:17 am
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This woman is one of the

This woman is one of the Republican candidates for president. She didn't have much of a chance before this and now her chances are zero.

TParty
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TParty 11/22/11 - 09:25 am
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When the Nation goes to war,

When the Nation goes to war, taxes should be raised to pay for it. Borrowing from China and others to pay for our wars is wrong. The letter writer talks about the work and sacrifice we Vets have put up, and nevertoolate mentions what families members do in support of their families.

What is everyone else doing? Putting a sticker on their car? Give a thumbs up if they see someone in uniform? What sacrifices are people in our country who not in the armed forces doing in support?

Over a trillion dollars has been spent on the Iraq war, and it's predicted it will cost another three trillion to provide the benefits. There needs to be a way to pay for it.

Cutting foreign aid (Which would include Israel who receives the most) would save America $49 billion a year. It's nothing to scoff at, but we need to think of the cost/benefit of foreign aid. I agreed with some of the GOP candidates that said every country should start at zero, and explain why they need the money. Of course it becomes complicated with a country like Pakistan who has nukes, but I digress. Cutting all foreign aid will not be enough.

I agree with the letter writer that a lot has to change, no more giving free money out, stop the waste. That includes a lot of waste from defense, and the easy money that service members take advantage of when they don't need it. Fraud is on every level, from all sectors.

Find ways to stop the fraud waste and abuse, and raise taxes when the country goes to war. If it's a necessary war, and the country supports it, paying for it shouldn't be an issue.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 11/22/11 - 09:28 am
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If some of the many perks
Unpublished

If some of the many perks that members of CON-gress were cut, we'd see a lot of money saved. But, since that will happen the day snowcones are sold in Hell, I guess our veterans' benefits will be on the chopping block, a long with a lot of other worthy programs. Sad...our veterans don't deserve this injustice.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/22/11 - 09:56 am
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"What is everyone else doing?

"What is everyone else doing? Putting a sticker on their car? Give a thumbs up if they see someone in uniform? What sacrifices are people in our country who not in the armed forces doing in support?" Well, 50% of the folks are paying outrageous taxes to pay their salaries and benefits. You have a good point regarding the 50% who pay no Federal income tax. Everyone should pay something.

Dudeness
1546
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Dudeness 11/22/11 - 10:04 am
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I can't find any fault with

I can't find any fault with the suggestions in this letter as a starting point other than the last line about voting every single one out of office. There were some definite stars elected into office in 2010 and prior to that that I would love to see stay as part of a new wave of representation. I understand the point he was making, but even ignorant people get representation, so some are there to stay.

avidreader
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avidreader 11/22/11 - 10:09 am
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Mr. Montanez -- a very

Mr. Montanez -- a very endearing letter, and I agree with you; however, here's the problem: Voters all over the country are demanding that we "throw the bum's out", but not "our bum". Locals, for the most part, love their bums and just hate everyone else's bum. We're at a crisis point and, due to apathy, nothing is changing. Where the money flows, so go the votes. Term limits are our way out, but we're more likely to freeze in hell.

TParty
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TParty 11/22/11 - 10:20 am
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Justthefacts- Do you know how

Justthefacts-

Do you know how much E-4s and below get back in federal taxes? E-5's with families and below? Some of those 50 percenters (it's not 50% either) who pay no taxes (I assume you mean federal taxes) include military people (And not the obvious ones who are in combat zones). E-5's and below with families also qualify for WIC and other handouts.

I agree, everyone should pay something. However it gets complicated when you have a single mother raising a child on $20,000 a year, for instance. Should she have to pay when she needs every penny, whereas someone like myself can afford to pay a little more of my share if it means she can feed herself, her child, while staying warm in the winter? That's a different discussion. I just wanted to point out that there are people in the military who do not pay federal taxes because their base pay puts them in a bracket.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 11/22/11 - 10:27 am
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TParty says; "I agree with

TParty says; "I agree with the letter writer that a lot has to change, no more giving free money out, stop the waste. That includes a lot of waste from defense, and the easy money that service members take advantage of when they don't need it."

Easy money that service members take advantage of when they don't need it? As a two tour combat Veteran, and a career Army retiree, I fail to see what you call "easy money." Twenty-six years in the Army, and I never saw one dime of "easy money." We earned our income by serving our Country, and that included many hardships. Laying our lives on the line, we did it to protect your right to make this claim, and protect our country. If you think our money was easy, I invite you to spend twenty-six years of your life in the Military, so you can find out just how "easy" that money is!

TParty
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TParty 11/22/11 - 10:35 am
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Sargebaby- I had this

Sargebaby-

I had this discussion about a week ago with another fellow Vet. I'll just give the snippets of my response.

There is a real problem with the benefits us veterans get. There is this one guy I work with who spent 20 years in service, retiring only a few years ago. Not once did he ever deploy. Never been to war. Somehow he has 100% disability (He still works of course, works just fine), some of it for PTSD. I think some of his other disability is for sleep apnea. Not sure how the Army should be on the hook for that. Another guy I work with (We are all vets, my co-workers and I) get money from the VA and some disability because he has heart burn. We are paying for this guy to get money in his pocket, and free medical care because of heart burn, which he admits is caused from drinking. Not from serving our country, but from drinking.

Did you know, just being a paratrooper I could have received up to 15% of disability, even though I've never had a bad landing? Not only was I paid extra ($250 a month) to jump out of planes during my career, to include retaining jump pay while deployed (three times to Afghanistan) even though that would never happen, they wanted to pay me 15% disability for the rest of my life. That's a starting point, I could add more problems and increase that number. Of course I turned it down, because I don't need it, and it takes away from people like yourself. People who struggle to get the care they need. A lot of people take the money however, people who do not need it. It's free money, my father tells me I'm an idiot for not taking it, along with other money and free care.

Vito45
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Vito45 11/22/11 - 10:41 am
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Tparty, EVERYONE should pay

Tparty, EVERYONE should pay FIT, even if you wash it out with increased benefits. They need to SEE "their" money going to the fed to get some skin in the game, and have a sense of what everyone else feels about how "their" money is getting spent.

pai
5
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pai 11/22/11 - 10:45 am
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Your co-worker cannot be 100%

Your co-worker cannot be 100% disabled AND work. He's either telling you a "fish tale" or he's doing something illegal.

Vito45
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Vito45 11/22/11 - 10:45 am
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TParty, thank you for that

TParty, thank you for that explanation about benefits and thank you for your service. I have a better view of both sides of that debate now. I wasn't aware that one could collect disability money for non service related ills.

TParty
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TParty 11/22/11 - 10:49 am
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I agree Vito45. 100%. And if

I agree Vito45. 100%. And if we want things, we have to pay for it. That means finding revenue to pay for the benefits Veterans need, and finding a way to pay for the wars. Everyone should pay, we should see it on our pay stubs like the social security money being taken out. It should say "War funds". And this money will be separate from the defense funds which should be for a standing Army and Navy, namely defense. (We can add Air Force into that list, even though the founding fathers could not predict F22's.).

allhans
24030
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allhans 11/22/11 - 10:50 am
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I have an 82 year old brother

I have an 82 year old brother who served 8 years but have never used any G.I. benefits. When asked he says, "Don't need them".

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 11/22/11 - 10:55 am
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You're not an idiot, TParty,

You're not an idiot, TParty, but you are largly misinformed. You don't get disability for "heart burn." Go to VA.gov, and learn how disability is determined, then, get back to me. Right now, I have to leave for radiation. Agent Orange is the cause of my cancer. I earned it in Vietnam,
in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970. Somehow, it just didn't seem so "easy" back then!

Almost forgot, I believe I earned the benefits I receive. The irony of this matter is I did it for you, and the rest of our country. Freedom isn't free, friend!

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 11/22/11 - 11:00 am
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I agree with some of what you

I agree with some of what you say TParty, there are vets who claim medical problems that are not Army related and you can blame the soldier for claiming it but you can also blame the VA for not checking it out better, for instance, if a soldier is claiming PTSD that has not been deployed them shame on him and shame on the VA for paying for PTSD in that case. If a soldier is deployed there is supporting documents to prove he was deployed. Vietnam soldiers had to fight to get compensated for the stress of war which many still suffer from and for vets who never went to try to claim it just to get money is sad but we live in a society where everyone wants something for nothing. so I agree that the VA benefits needs to be overhauled but I don't think that Tri Care Prime should be eliminated for retirees and I don't think they should have to pay more for their medical benefits, they served their time and deserve that even if they never deployed. All the proposed changes should only affect new soldiers coming in, that way they know up front what they will and will not get, but don't take from the ones who already did their time it isn't right...

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 11/22/11 - 11:05 am
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Vito45 said "I wasn't aware

Vito45 said "I wasn't aware that one could collect disability money for non service related ills."

They can't.

justthefacts
22759
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justthefacts 11/22/11 - 11:12 am
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TParty, we both know it's too

TParty, we both know it's too complicated to discuss in detail in this format. Too many extenuating circumstances. But, if your circumstances are such that you cannot afford children without public assistance, don't have them. Sargebaby, thanks again.

TParty
6003
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TParty 11/22/11 - 11:14 am
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Chronic heartburn is being

Chronic heartburn is being treated by the VA. He gets his free pills, and some extra cash. He doesn't need it. There are people who do require the assistance and care, he doesn't. A lot of people I served with don't deserve it, there's a lot of waste and fraud.

Someone who has endured the suffering of Agent Orange, you deserve your benefits. Someone like myself, who only lost his hearing because of time served overseas in Afghanistan 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and three month in 2009 with training in between doesn't need all the disability being offered to me.

I did all this for you, and the rest of the country. And just because I was given an option for extra cash money in my pocket, I turned it all down.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 11/22/11 - 11:18 am
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Harley 52, yes they can! I

Harley 52, yes they can! I personally know a young man he served 3 years, he got out and is getting 30% disability for recurring acne on his back that he already had when he came in....so please don't say they can't because some of them do and I see it all the time in my job.

fftaz71
108
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fftaz71 11/22/11 - 12:00 pm
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Someone does not need to

Someone does not need to deploy to suffer from PTSD either. Regarding the heartburn guy, maybe his drinking was related to stress he experienced during his time in service. Bottom line is you cant take "snippets" of a conversation and use them to prove a point b/c a "snippet" is out of context. My husband will be eligible for disability for his jump training. He got paid extra while he was jump certified because the military recognizes that it is more hazardous than his regular duties were. He will have problems related to his jumps...hes already experiencing them. His back and neck are messed up with evidence of whiplash type injuries apparent on x-ray. Hes never been in an accident so they know it is from the jumps. You wouldnt know he is in pain on a daily basis though. He still goes in every day and does his job and will for hopefully 8 more years till he gets his 20 in. We are in a phase now where we dont even know if the navy will keep him b/c his rate is overmanned and he falls into the whole "you need to go before the enlisted review board" group. If the retirement goes away, he will lose alot- as it stands he will get 25% of his base pay as a "retirement" if they mess with retirements. Our futures are beyond uncertain at this point.. for us it will be hard to recover from that. Trying to balance the budget on the back of the military is wrong and immoral. Meanwhile Congress continues to get healthcare for life, 175k for life etc etc.... Politics was never intended to be a career...it was a civil service.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 11/22/11 - 12:00 pm
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TParty, it is unfortunate

TParty, it is unfortunate you've chosen Mr. Montanez's letter as a vehicle to mislead people about military benefits, including V.A. Disability Compensation. What you've presented is a mixture of personal opinion and factual inaccuracies which, together, serve only to discredit and vilify current and former military personnel.

You say you were paid $250/month jump pay. That's not true. Jump pay is $150/month except for HALO pay which is $225/mo.

You say you have a friend is drawing VA Disability pay for a non-service connected medical problem. That's not true. By definition all V.A. Disability Compensation is for "Service connected" problems.

You say there are a lot of people being paid V.A. Disability that don't deserve it. That's a matter of opinion, but I agree with it, especially as regards PTSD.

You say there is a lot of fraud, waste, and abuse. That's true, just as is the case with most/all Federal programs.

You say "they wanted to pay me 15% disability for the rest of my life" because of your airborne status. There is no automatic 15% disability payment to former airborne soldiers. It's true that they would likely award you a 15% disability rating if you APPLIED for it, but the choice to apply is yours, nobody makes you do it.

you close your last post "I did all this for you, and the rest of the country. And just because I was given an option for extra cash money in my pocket, I turned it all down." That's a pretty telling statement after you've spent so much time badmouthing others, isn't it. What's unfortunate is that your sanctimony and self-aggrandizement is accomplished on the backs of thousands of men and women who served their Country when needed, suffered some sort of medical issue from that service, and now suffer your condemnations and misstatements of fact.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 11/22/11 - 12:05 pm
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stillamazed said "Harley 52,

stillamazed said "Harley 52, yes they can! I personally know a young man he served 3 years, he got out and is getting 30% disability for recurring acne on his back that he already had when he came in....so please don't say they can't because some of them do and I see it all the time in my job."

Anybody who is being paid V.A. Disability Compensation has a medical or mental problem that has been certified by a medical panel as being "service connected." Period. That's the law.

Is it possible someone had a condition that was not diagnosed when they got their pre-enlistment physical? Of course it is.

But the policy and legal requirement is that the issue be "service connected." There are no exceptions.

Carleton Duvall
6305
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Carleton Duvall 11/22/11 - 12:05 pm
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I have a friend who served in

I have a friend who served in the army for two years, 1947-1948. He was a company clerk for a unit stationed in Philly. He has been working the VA for years getting every freebie that is offered. The VA is wrong and he is wrong. He did nothing to deserve these benefits and he admits it. His attitude is typical of many. This is hurting the ones that deserve it.

Carleton Duvall
6305
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Carleton Duvall 11/22/11 - 12:13 pm
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Here is an email that I just

Here is an email that I just received from him. He has prostate cancer.

Waiting for the VA to all about the new medication

Called the pharmacy for prices for 90 days supply, 1 pill per day

Brand name...$1,896

Generic, big savings...$480

VA $24

Which way should I go?

M

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