In the aftermath of the 2008 Credit Crisis, bailed out banks and corporations were allowed to pay out billions in bonuses to the very people who’s speculation and fraud led to the bringing of the global financial system to the brink of collapse. Now seven years later, Washington is following in the same footsteps as Wall Street by giving out $142 million in bonuses to V.A. workers who played a role in the scandal that led to hundreds of deaths of veterans and servicemen.
The Veterans Administration has seen two major scandals in the past decade, with little more than embarrassment and righteous indignation coming from their revelations. First under President George W. Bush, V.A. hospitals were found to be dilapidated and unsafe for the servicemen coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. And then under Barack Obama, watchdog groups blew the whistle on secret ‘lists’ that ensured veterans were not given proper care and treatments, with hundreds of them dying due to their inability to get even the most basic of care.
The Department of Veterans Affairsdoled out more than $142 million in bonuses to executives and employees for performance in 2014 even as scandals over veterans’ health care and other issues racked the agency.
Among the recipients were claims processors in a Philadelphia benefits office that investigators dubbed the worst in the country last year. They received $300 to $900 each. Managers in Tomah, Wis., got $1,000 to $4,000, even though they oversaw the over-prescription of opiates to veterans – one of whom died.
The VA also rewarded executives who managed construction of a facility in Denver, a disastrous project years overdue and more than $1 billion over budget. They took home $4,000 to $8,000 each. And in St. Cloud, Minn., where an internal investigation report last year outlined mismanagement that led to mass resignations of health care providers, the chief of staff cited by investigators received a performance bonus of almost $4,000. – USA Today
When you take the fact that only on Wall Street and in the U.S. government could executives get paid bonuses for failing at their jobs, you realize that indeed the Princeton report on how America has evolved into an Oligarchy and Fascist state is now accurate since in no other sector of society could people and entities get away with being paid for failure.
Back in the 1970’s, and during the tail end of the Vietnam War, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying, “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” And 40 years later, this belief is still in play as not only are U.S. armed forces being pushed beyond the limits that helped create the homeless crisis of Vietnam veterans following the last big war, with servicemen now having to serve many more duties on the front lines than in any time in history, their physical and psychological problems are going one step further, and ending in death rather than in the ability to re-adjust to civilian life.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.