The Costs of Wars Only Grow

(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

There are two very important, and full of real facts, op-ed’s in the San Francisco Gate this Sunday morning that should be read and absorbed.

We hear very little, actually almost nothing, about the present costs, nor long term costs, of our long occupations of choice. Especially by those that held the power and readily rubber stamped what their same political party administration wanted. Nor did they feel much need in holding congressional hearings, investigations nor much oversite, not much heard when reports of billions just went poof nor when private contractors on their no bid contracts kept wasting money on shoddy work and much more, while they held the power. They weren’t the only ones, even their supporters and talking heads readily supported everything they did and didn’t do.

What we are getting, especially from the afore mentioned, in congress is total obstruction and not a peep about their participation in both Wars of Choice and same from their supporters, who weren’t as outraged when the now minority were using credit cards. Nor do you hear any even mention “Sacrifice” as to the Veterans of. Some of those congressional critters mentioned, as they always do when the need is there, find that they represent big numbers of us veterans a few months prior to their elections and play the political games towards in their ‘support?’ for.

I’m adding a few other recent articles, rather than in an open thread, one pointing directly at the present economy, as the War and results of do, the others as to Veterans and related to both veterans and the rest of the country, one as to our business communities practices, other that will save costs after initial investment.

Iraq war winds down, but costs soar

August 15, 2010 – President Obama announced recently with much fanfare that the number of U.S.  troops in Iraq will be down to 50,000 by the end of August. All troops will withdraw by December next year. Clearly it is good news that the United States is finally extricating itself from what has been a long, bloody and unnecessary conflict. But drawing down the number of troops doesn’t mean the end of spending money. Many of the biggest costs are still to be paid.

It is a sobering thought that the peak year for paying out disability claims to World War I veterans didn’t occur until 1969 – more than 50 years after the armistice. The peak for paying out World War II benefits was in the 1980s, and we have not yet reached the peak cost for Vietnam veterans. Even the Gulf War of 1991, which lasted just six weeks, costs more than $4 billion a year in disability compensation.

We have already spent close to $1 trillion in Iraq – about $800 billion for direct military combat operations plus extra costs hidden in the budget for things like military medicine, recruiting, veterans’ care and contractors’ insurance. But there are at least four big costs ahead. {read more}

{Linda J. Bilmes is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University. She is co-author (with Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz) of the best-seller “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict”}

Overlooked cost of the war: veterans’ benefits

August 15, 2010 – Two years after an Army specialist saw half his platoon torn apart in Iraq, he hanged himself in a California backyard. In June, the Army and National Guard recorded 32 suicides, the highest number ever in one month. But his death isn’t in any military report, because the specialist was a veteran when he took his life.

The nation needs to recognize that veterans aren’t included in direct war expenditures either, including our nation’s $700 billion defense budget, which already surpasses that of all other countries combined. While it is fiscally impossible to double this year’s defense budget, we are incurring a future war debt of that size with little public debate. I refer to our solemn obligation to provide health care and other benefits to the men and women who have served in the military since 2001.

Eye-opening research by Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz puts the lifetime cost of benefits for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at $663 billion. In fact, a handful of variables could drive these costs up further. When Congress appropriates money for the war, it doesn’t include the cost of providing post-military health care and disability payments to the men and women who risk their lives for us. That burden belongs to the Department of Veterans Affairs and its budget, driven by year-to-year needs. {read more}

Not so much ‘overlooked’, as the Country moves on and chooses to ignore and not listen to once the soldiers come home! It’s just like the now long gone magnetic ribbons and other ‘symbols’, words, lapel flag pins……., of feel good for those that don’t serve and it’s easy to blame the agency set up to fulfill the countries promises, not kept, even by many Veterans in need instead of looking at those around them!

As the two above point out the costs of our Wars and Occupations they effect the economy long term as well as those taxes everyone screams about wanting cut, Sacrifice, especially as they don’t receive much if anything in raises for their labor. This next is happening right now as the politicians play the election game and our economy is tanked with virtually no private capital, from the top trickling down nor from tax cuts always sold as to create jobs, being actually invested in economic growth.

State and Local Stimulus Monies, drip….drip…drip……….

Big chunk of economic stimulus yet to be spent by state, local governments

August 14, 2010 – As Americans puzzle over why the economic stimulus package enacted more than a year ago has failed to restore vigorous job growth, one explanation has emerged from new reports: A lot of the money is not yet out the door.

Detroit is struggling with 14 percent unemployment, but as of June 30 the city had spent less than 1 percent of the $8.8 million in stimulus funds it received for energy-efficiency initiatives. In budget-strapped Arizona, Phoenix has spent even less of its $15.2 million, and in hard-hit South Florida, Fort Lauderdale has spent $66,000 of its $2 million.

The $862 billion package was divided roughly in thirds among tax cuts, aid to states and the unemployed, and investments in infrastructure, health care and other areas. The first two have delivered most of their boost, but much of the investment spending is moving far more slowly. At the end of July, nearly 18 months after the stimulus passed, more than half of the $275 billion in investments had yet to be spent.

Underlying the slow pace is a defining tension: Officials want to get money out the door to jolt the economy but want to spend it carefully enough to meet long-term policy aims — and avoid headlines about waste or fraud. {read more}

It’s very easy to see if one does just abit of searching in your state. Rarely seen are jobs tagged to the stimulus on any job board. Your state may be doing what NC is, on their employment security commission board they have a notation that jobs are highlighted in color in the list, rarely is there a job listed, throughout the state, highlighted as connected to recovery funds, most of the ones that are have nothing to do with infrastructure or related.

Add in the states that may have a political reason for slowly, very slowly, doling out the funds and in a way to create jobs not just fund what was in their budgets but having no cash for, that’s the state of this Nation now!

These next, well pretty much self explanatory:

The Life Insurance of Soldiers and Veterans Saga

With two wars of choice and long occupations of, this was out and out greed by these insurance companies. They knew soldiers would get killed so they set it up for pure profit to themselves. Nothing to loose, it wasn’t their monies in the first police they were the care takers. Unless a family demanded the full payment after the death of their soldier, where then they couldn’t touch their higher cut of interest, but they knew there would be more, Pure War Profiteering!!

Prudential under pressure to explain payments to military families

August 13, 2010 – After initial outrage over how Prudential handles life insurance policies of deceased soldiers and veterans, the insurance company is working hard to change the perception it has misled military families.

The company came under fire after a Bloomberg Markets magazine report said cash payments from insurance policies for dead soldiers were being held in interest-bearing accounts, with the bulk of the interest benefiting the insurers. Bloomberg also reported the cash was not placed in banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Prudential has been meeting with “anyone we can meet with so we can set the record straight on what’s going on with this account,” said Prudential spokesman Bob Defillippo in an e-mail to CNN. “We’re making an attempt to get info out there that we think helps clarify the program.”

The pressure on the insurance company has not eased, however. The House Oversight Committee said it was investigating how the payouts and accounts are handled and a congressional staff member working on the investigation told CNN the inquiry might broaden beyond Prudential’s handling of military policies. Continued

Anything they’re saying now is just pure corporate speak to fight to keep the companies solvent as well as their investors happy, for in that world of pure finance that’s all that matters!

Halvorson bill sets new rules for military death benefits

Aug. 13, 2010 – U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete, wants Congress to set new rules for life insurance companies that profit from benefits owed to the families of deceased service members.

The first-term Illinois Democrat introduced legislation July 30 that would require companies such as Prudential Financial Inc. to tell beneficiaries how money will be invested and how much the insurer stands to make from holding the funds.

Her legislation follows the start of a probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs into what has become a common industry practice. Officials at the Pentagon and the White House have said they’ll support that investigation.


“Hearing about this, I was just outraged,” Halvorson said in a telephone interview. “It’s corporate greed.” Continued

We constantly hear about the high taxes we pay, and it’s one of the few meme’s that one political party has, cutting taxes, in trying to sell themselves to get hired, yet they show how little concern as to the peoples treasury once they control the power with a majority. Instead of investing into upfront costs and updating as the technology etc. advances, thus saving money thus reality in cutting taxes, everything is done after problems etc. arise and cost more to take care of or to finally upgrade. The following is a perfect example of what should have already been, I know why the Veterans Administration and even DoD are behind the technology, it’s costs the Country doesn’t want to pay up front and maintain. As to the private sector it would eat into their bottom lines for their investors or owners and is set for the present not long term savings and profit.

Advancing Health Care IT

Agencies advance use of health IT

August 13, 2010 – When a Native American military veteran who lives in Virginia goes to the doctor, it might be tricky to track down his medical records.

This hypothetical patient probably has received care from both the Veterans Affairs Department and the Indian Health Service. He has beneficiary data on file with the Social Security Administration, and also has a medical history with MedVirginia, a network of private health care providers.

To get this diverse group of entities to share data and en sure that the patient gets the best care is a difficult task, full of paperwork and phone calls.

The Obama administration is trying to change all that with the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), an ambitious project that aims to get federal agencies to use common standards to record and store health records electronically. What’s more, the administration is investing billions to encourage private providers to do the same. {read more}

The above should have always been and not only in health!

Once, not long ago, we were known as a Nation that grew by our sheer work ethic, innovations put towards quality and more and our advanced inventive thinking, we were even envied around the world, no more!