Should veterans sacrifice again?

The Faribault Daily News said out loud today what more people have been whispering: Veterans shouldn’t be sacred cows in Minnesota.

During floor debate yesterday, the DFL tried to spin the GAMC override vote as a vote for veterans. It didn’t work, of course, but the strategy was sound — nobody wants to appear to be against veterans. And, in fact, nobody is against veterans. But the shielding of veterans’ programs from cuts is raising a question: Are there two Minnesotans — those who are veterans and those who are not?

Here’s a portion of the newspaper’s editorial:


That suggests that the time to “shield” any program or department has long passed. According to a story in Saturday’s Daily News, there is some overlap in some of the money/programs provided by the state, and that state money is only awarded when all other avenues have been exhausted. That’s a good argument for why it should be shielded, but the fact that it’s rarely needed is an argument for why it should be considered for elimination. Most vets are covered by the same type of program at the federal level.

Clearly, veterans have sacrificed. But unlike previous wars, this is an all-volunteer military. Should they sacrifice programs too? Or have they already sacrificed enough?

If there are to be budget cuts in Minnesota, should veterans be shielded from them?survey

  • Kassie

    I don’t think, in bad economic times, that anyone should be safe from feeling the affects of budget cuts. But that means the rich too. If we have a sacred cow in this society it is the rich and middle class. We aren’t closing state parks or stopping road construction. So, upper class and middle class vets aren’t being affected in any way. We are unfairly putting the burden on the poor. So poor vets are being affected.

  • John Abbot

    I fail to see the sacrifice that our modern-day, all-volunteer veterans make?

    They do it for a salary and benefits. The same reason why you write this blog or I go to work each morning.

  • Nancy Gertner

    I don’t advocate for making any programs “sacred cows.” I think all state funding needs to be reviewed.

    But I also think the Faribault Daily News editorial comment that

    “Most vets are covered by the same type of program at the federal level,” is not backed up with fact. The number of military veterans that receive health care from the federal department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers or Community-Based Outpatient Clinics is closer to 20-35 percent of our nation’s approximate 25 million veterans, according to the VA’s own statistics. The VA is set up to provide health care for veterans with an assigned service-connected disability rating, not just anyone that has worn a military uniform in the service of their country.

    Rep. Magnuson’s comments during the House debate on 1 March 2010 referred to veterans “coming to the trough every six months,” and I found this offensive. Magnuson (SD22A) apparently thinks that federal funding that gives National Guard “Red Bulls” soldiers health care for 5 years following deployment should be sufficient to meet their needs, along with the state funding provided to non-profit MAC-V to provide programs to Minnesota’s homeless and at-risk veterans.

    John Abbott’s comments (above) also reflect ignorance (or is it disregard?) that he is unaware that some military veterans experience health problems following military service for which they do not receive diagnosis or treatment. Only now has the VA increased benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange in the 1960s-70s, and more research is still needed for veterans that served in the 1991 “Gulf War” and were awarded high rates of disability. Veterans coming home now from combat zones are often unable to return to their pre-deployment jobs, and yet, some are awarded little or no disability for the medical conditions that arose as a consequence of their recent military service. Shockingly, this is most often experienced by ground forces, Army and Marine Corps personnel, and less frequently by Air Force and Navy veterans.

  • J Smith

    “…that he is unaware that some military veterans experience health problems following military service for which they do not receive diagnosis or treatment….”

    That sounds like a major problem with the military and their doctors, not with state programs. (Part of) the solution is to better educate and inform doctors about the types of problems returning soldiers may have, and to have the military adequately fund the treatment and rehabilitation to those ends.

  • John

    No sacred cows. You judge whether a goverment program is needed, and if it is. fund it by any means possible. The money is there, or could be there by killing off the sacred cow of “No New Taxes”. It’s all a question of what your priorities are.

  • Bob Moffitt

    It’s just a hunch, but I’m guessing John Abbot never served in the armed forces.

  • Josie

    “…(Part of) the solution is to better educate and inform doctors about the types of problems returning soldiers may have, and to have the military adequately fund the treatment and rehabilitation to those ends.”

    I don’t think the problem is that doctors are not educated or informed about the types of problems returning soldiers may have. Doctors are very aware of the service related health problems.

    The problem is making the military recognize that the health problems soldiers have ARE service related. Because of the doctors and the veterans working together, like Nancy mentioned, after 35+ years the government is finally recognizing the health effects Agent Orange had on people who were exposed to it. Unfortunately, I feel that our federal government drops the ball when it comes to health care for our veterans.

  • John Abbot

    Bob Moffitt is quite correct. I was never employed by the military. Instead I went to college and subsequently a job. Alas no sacred cow status for me.

  • Joe

    Veterans of current conflicts signed up for the job they did. While i respect that they kept their commitment it is a position they chose to take and as such are no different from other dislocated workers in a recession.