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Letters to the Editor

Veteran equity

August 3, 2007

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To the editor:

Mike Hoeflich's Aug. 1 column, "Plan to support veterans," asks how our country is going to support the troops when they return from Iraq. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, I'm always interested in plans to support veterans. But the various policy initiatives floated in his article - multiyear elimination of federal tax obligations, guaranteed comprehensive health care for families of veterans, expanded disability payments, etc. - do not cover the many others who have served this country's military, or those who in the future might serve.

Thus, Hoeflich's policy suggestions are unfair and unrealistic. Why unfair? If we are going to direct benefits to one set of veterans, then explain on what principled foundation these same benefits are denied to others who have served - or might in the future serve - their country in times of war. I see no basis for denying many of the proposed benefits to many others. Why unrealistic? Extending such proposed benefits to cover so many others could generate enormous, unsustainable entitlement programs.

Let's support the veterans of Iraq, yes. But any sound policy toward them should be comprehensive and realistic, considering our treatment of other living veterans and, especially, our promised treatment for our future veterans. Indeed, it is our compact with these future warriors that we need to forge now in order to build a sound military force for the rest of the 21st century and beyond.

Douglas Houston,

Lawrence

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

I would suggest healthcare. For a soldier and/or the entire immediate family for the rest of their lives. Just mail them a medicare card that provides 100% coverage through the doctors/clinics of their choice.

Considering some of our soldiers consumed low yield radioactive dust and such not by choice. Otherwise they might wait for years for the Department of Defense to decide there is a problem much like the "agent orange" vets from Nam. Not to mention the psychological effects of killing innocent people.

Good letter.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 1 month ago

"If we are going to direct benefits to one set of veterans, then explain on what principled foundation these same benefits are denied to others...."

Well, perhaps because the benefit serves to overcome the RECENT disruption in service personnel's lives - not as a permanent entitlement.

If you have continuing wounds - physical or mental - or you have typical VA-supported needs, fine. The taxpayer is pleased and thankful to provide for this.

But unlike some recently mustered-out, 20- or 30-something veteran, if you haven't put your life back together in the decades that have passed since serving, nothing such as minor as a temporary abatement of income tax obligations is going to solve that problem.

Military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has now been going on longer than ALL of WWII and the disruption to those veterans lives from 1, 2, 3, or even 4 rotations on duty is considerable. I can think of few less bureaucratic or intrusive means to help such veterans make up some lost ground than to say, 'don't worry about the IRS for a year or two.' (Or perhaps more practical: a refundable $10k tax credit for several years, sort of like the EITC.)

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