William Thien

Archive for May 2017

One of the problems with the mainstream media is that its default setting is “status quo,” a setting that hasn’t benefited the middle classes for decades.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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I think the new budget proposal coming out of The White House is brilliant. Aside from cuts to public education and some cuts to programs for disabled veterans, which I do not favor, the budget gets right down to the core of the country’s problems. Regarding cuts to programs for disabled veterans, it isn’t fair nor is it right to cut programs for those who have actually earned their benefits.

Naturally there are concerns about cuts to the social safety net, but for years we have all recognized that the way in which the social safety net is structured has resulted in massive misuse. Abuse of the social safety net has become a form of avocation for generations of families. Attempts to prevent abuse of the system have generally been unsuccessful.

So, other than the cuts to public education and some programs for disabled veterans, which I stated before that I do not favor, I think the quote by The Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, sums it up. “We have plenty of money in this country to take care of the people who need help. And we will do that,” he said. “We don’t have enough money to take care of people who don’t need help.’

Furthermore, Mulvaney added, “Yes, you have to have compassion for the people receiving federal funds, but you also have to have compassion for the folks who are paying it and that is one of the things that is new about this president’s budget.”

That is also something no previous administration has attempted to address. The middle class tax payer has been perpetually enslaved by the federal tax code to pay for the expansive social safety net and its misuse. This budget addresses that.

Ultimately, this budget is better than any coming out of Washington in fifty years or more. The budget is better than anything Reagan produced, better than any of the Bush or Obama budgets, and better than any of the Kennedy budgets.

Way to go!

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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The following is from an email from The DAV.ORG that explains cuts to disabled veterans that I do not support:

On May 23, 2017, the Administration released the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget for fiscal year 2018. Contained within this budget were two legislative proposals that DAV strongly opposes because if enacted into law, they would seriously reduce benefits for our nation’s ill and injured veterans, their families and survivors.

10-year cost-of-living round down

The Administration’s budget proposal contains a provision that would round down cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for disability compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and some other benefits for the next 10 years. DAV remains adamantly opposed to this or any permanent round down provision.

Veterans and their survivors rely on their compensation for essential purchases such as food, transportation, rent and utilities. It also enables them to maintain a marginally higher quality of life in the face of rising inflation. This COLA round down provision would unfairly target disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors to save the government money and offset the cost of other federal programs. That is simply unacceptable.

The cumulative effect of this provision of law would, in essence, levy a 10-year “tax” on disabled veterans and their survivors, reducing their income each year. When multiplied by the number of disabled veterans and recipients of DIC, hundreds of millions of dollars would be siphoned from these deserving individuals annually. All totaled, VA estimates this proposed COLA round down would cost beneficiaries close to $2.7 billion over the next 10 years.

INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY AND SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSET

The Administration’s budget proposal also contains a provision that would scale back VA’s Individual Employability (IU) program for thousands of veterans. DAV strongly opposes this ill-conceived proposal.

The IU program allows VA to pay certain veterans, who are determined to be unemployable as a result of service-connected disabilities, disability compensation at the 100 percent rate, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at the 100 percent level. This proposal would terminate existing IU ratings for veterans when they reach the minimum retirement age for Social Security purposes, currently 62, as well as cut off IU benefits for any veteran already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits.

We oppose this and any measure that proposes to offset the payment of any other federal benefit or earned benefit entitlement against VA compensation payments made to service-connected disabled veterans. Benefits received from the VA, or those based on military retirement pay, have differing eligibility criteria for different purposes than other federal programs.  Social Security benefits are an earned benefit for retirement while VA disability compensation is an earned benefit derived from injury or illness from military service. Reducing the Social Security benefit provided to a disabled veteran in receipt of IU is simply an unjust penalty and would place an undue hardship on all veterans in receipt of IU and their families.

Furthermore, we are vehemently opposed to limiting disability compensation benefits due to a veteran’s age. Many disabled veterans might not have income replacement available-especially those who had been on IU for an extended period in advance of reaching retirement age. Arbitrarily cutting off IU eligibility for veterans who turn 62, an age at which millions of American’s continue working and saving money for their retirements-a luxury that many disabled veterans do not have-would be grossly unfair to the men and women served.

We are calling on all DAV and members and supporters to contact their members of Congress and urge them to reject these harmful proposals that would negatively impact injured and ill veterans, their families and survivors.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/4JQIIgoXyENXIoVwf5TWPQ

A lot of pundits and Washington types have said Trump is playing the North Korea situation all wrong.

I disagree. Trump has made an overture to meet with North Korea’s leadership personally. What he is saying is that he is willing to do anything and everything he can to avert a nuclear exchange. What more could the country ask for on this matter? You really can’t ask for more than that.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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