Wednesday, May 21, 2014

mistreating veterans

Until the United States created a large permanent military force after World War II, veterans care and pensions was often the largest part of the federal budget other than for the army and navy. Some sample figures:  
Veterans compensation as a percent of total federal expenditures
1820:  18%
1840:  11%
1870:  9%
1890:  34%
1910:  23%
1930:  6%
 It's evident from this excellent article in the National Journal that the VA has had management problems for decades, and Congress has added to its burdens by increasing eligibility for various problems.

One of the managerial problems is that giving bonuses for reducing waiting times for medical care created perverse incentives to keep some records off the books.

Don't expect miracles. But also don't pretend that the problem developed only in the past few years.

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